On the Job

How Important is Longevity in Yachting? Capt. Luke Hammond Weighs In

7 December 2022By Capt. Lord Luke Hammond
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Capt. Lord Luke Hammond

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Capt. Lord Luke Hammond

Capt. Lord Luke Hammond is the captain on board the 45-meter Feadship Bella. He is also the founder of Refrr, a new yacht crew recruitment platform. Refrr aims to solve the problem of connecting people with the right jobs. Sign up to be one of the founding members at www.Refrr.io.

You wake up one morning with an aching body, struggling to open your eyes as the impending sound of an alarm makes you curl up in a ball, pulling the sheets over your head, all in the hopes that “it” all goes away. The waking thought hits you: “How much longer do I have to stay in this JOB?” 

As we all know, the problem is that living, eating, and working on a yacht is akin to a roller coaster that very few people have ever had the opportunity to experience. You got into yachting to escape your previous life, leaving it behind to go see the world and share those experiences with like-minded people.

However, life has an amazing knack of reminding you that not everything goes as planned. Since starting in yachting back in 2004, I have had my fair share of experiences, and they weren’t always pleasant, and in fact, some were downright unacceptable. I don’t need to go into specifics, but let’s just say I want you to learn from my experiences, and more importantly, to remind you that you have options if something ever happens to you.

Longevity on a CV shows that you are committed to the job. With junior roles like deckhand or stewardess, we would love to see you stay 12 to 18 months...

First and foremost, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: “Is longevity on my CV important?”

Yes, yes, it is. Longevity on a CV shows that you are committed to the job. With junior roles like deckhand or stewardess, we would love to see you stay 12 to 18 months, then expect you to leave to go gain more experience on another yacht — think of this as our Yachting Circle of Life.

Then, when that time comes and you are back on the job hunt, there are few things you want to try to avoid, and one of those things is having too much movement on your CV/résumé.

When we see job applicants list jobs where they repeatedly spent short stints on board, we want to know why. Lack of longevity is a red flag. Why, you might ask: multiple short stints on yachts typically mean that either the crewmember isn’t a good fit, or the crewmember doesn’t want to commit to a program. Either way, without the chance to explain yourself, the likelihood of you getting a call becomes less as we have already put your CV to the side.

So, now that you know that hopping from yacht to yacht isn’t a good look, what happens if your current yacht is making you unhappy and miserable? If you leave now, are you ruining your chances of getting hired again?

The simple answer is no.

Some yachts are notorious for crew turnover; if that is the case, we will probably have already heard stories before. However, if it’s a one-off instance, then just be honest in the interview. I’m not telling you to explain yourself in detail, but a simple explanation that it wasn’t the right fit may suffice.

As much as I’m interviewing crew, this is also a chance for them to interview me about the role and the yacht, too.

This is also a good chance for you to ask questions about the crew culture on board the new vessel, too. As much as I’m interviewing crew, this is also a chance for them to interview me about the role and the yacht, too.

The most important thing in this whole exercise is to be yourself. Be honest and be truthful about what you are looking for. This is your chance to find out if it’s going to be a good fit. Remember, you’re going to be on board for a while, and wherever you end up, taking that time beforehand makes a world of difference for your mental health.

So before you step into your next interview, there is one question I want you to ponder: If you were to wake up tomorrow, what scenario would make you happy? Now I also want to include money in this equation, too. So ask yourself, if I was getting paid X and doing this job, would I be happy? At the end of the day, it’s not always about the money, but we are only human and it’s an important part of why we undertake any job.

Everyone’s expectations are different, but the only person you really need to be concerned about is yourself. Be true to yourself, be knowledgeable, be humble but most of all, have fun and enjoy the journey.

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