Name: Benjamin Meyer
Yacht: M/Y Magnum Ride
Years in current position: 6 months
Years in industry: 16 months
Previous vessels: M/Y Gazelle
Nationality: Half-Filipino, half-American
If I weren’t working on a yacht, I’d definitely be working on cars, because it’s similar — other than there aren’t massive engines in an engine room. You pop a hood and it's a little more peaceful. But I kind of enjoy the chaos of yachts. There's just a lot more that can go wrong and you aren't just able to pull over to the side and get it fixed and call a tow truck.
When I was younger, I just started turning wrenches on my first car and it just spiraled from there. I got my first car at 16, a Mini Cooper, and that thing was always breaking. I just wanted to make it better. I was previously working on M/Y Gazelle, which was a good job with a solid program that helped me learn a lot, like time management, an eye for detail, taking ownership of my workspace, and optimizing tasks while keeping my workspace clean.
The most challenging part of the job is that I work with family. Coming from the commercial world into the yachting world was a little rough at first — I had to re-refine myself and clean up my sailor talk and learn how to work with family. Adjusting to working with guests was surprisingly easy though — beyond when a guest wants to get to know you. I don’t think they want to hear my open mic night performance extravaganza, so I had to learn how to tone it down and understand that when I sit down to get to know them, it’s not Ben sitting and having dinner at Chilis with his friends; it’s Mate/Engineer of Magnum Ride getting to know the guests on board.
The biggest issue facing yacht engineers today, depending on the owner, is budgets. On top of that, with supply chain issues, you’re not getting the same part that you may have had on board. It’s also an older vessel, so the parts just aren’t as readily available. When you finally find it after days and days of searching, it takes a month to arrive.
My advice for those looking to get started is to blossom where you’re planted. And so, if I'm the third deckhand, I'm going to be the best third deckhand I can be. I'm not going to be upset that I have to clean windows 24/7 or fold laundry. I'm going to make it spotless and perfect and show that I want to be here. So do all you can to blossom where you're planted.
My advice for those looking to impress on the job is to be smooth and play it cool. Don’t run. Never let the guests see you break a sweat. If the boat’s going to crash into the dock, act casual. As far as they know, that’s how we dock every time.
Something yachting has taught me is how to work with others. Whether it’s a tugboat or a luxury yacht, you’ll find people who are just difficult to work with. You need to understand that what someone is saying isn’t always meant with bad intentions. You should always assume that people have good intentions and everything will work so much better.
The best part of my job is definitely where I am today. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, but I understand that any level of perfection is impossible to get. Until I prove it to myself, no matter what anyone says, I'm not going to believe it because I haven't proven it for myself. Every day when I wake up, I feel like I’ve got somewhere. Every time I’m walking on the dock or driving the tender, I look at the boat and think, “I keep that clean and I have to keep it running.”