Name: Nathan Esterhuizen
Yacht: M/Y Sherilyn
Years in current position: 2
Years in industry: 2
Nationality: South African
My goal in the industry is to expand internationally with my skills and work towards my Yachtmasters. I’d like to be an efficient deckhand to allow me to do my OOW, and work my way towards the captain’s position.
I just fell in love with these beautiful boats that miraculously just float and bring awe to anyone that lays their eyes on them.
If I wasn’t on a yacht, then firstly I’d be getting a marine biology degree — so I’d still be on the ocean and looking at working on explorer vessels.
The toughest part is the hours during busy charter days but those are the most rewarding at the same time. That rush of getting the boat done and perfect is the most intense yet satisfying part of the job.
All I can say to those looking at starting is to do it for the right reasons. There are loads of rewards but always remember the work you have to put in first before receiving them. Be prepared to always improve and grow in any way.
My advice to those looking to impress on the job is attention to detail. Focus on places the eye won’t always see because those tend to be missed. Work smart, not hard, and think before you do something.
Having extra skills goes a very long way; they allow you to prove yourself in different ways and to stand out — especially diving and wakeboarding. And if you can teach, that’s a bonus. Get yourself a drone and learn how to fly it.
The most important thing I’ve learned is that your crew determines the way the boat runs. Crew satisfaction leads to a better work ethic. You get a lot more done!
My most significant achievement would be getting my first skipper’s ticket, which was the 100-ton motor. Achieving that proved to me that I have what it takes to grow and improve in this industry and that’s super exciting.
The best part about my job is waking up and wondering what today’s challenges are going to be and overcoming those challenges. And, of course, the sunsets!
My advice is to think about something before you do it. Timekeeping is the most important thing on deck. Always look for more efficient ways [of] doing things, be open minded, try different techniques, and be willing to learn from your fellow yachties.
Follow him on Instagram @Nathan_Esterhuizen.
This article originally ran in the June 2021 issue of Dockwalk.