Q&A with First Officer Chantelle Maasz of M/Y Bina

8 November 2021 By Erica Lay

Owner of international crew agency EL CREW CO in Mallorca, Spain, Erica has been a freelance writer since 2008. She loves engaging with the projects she works on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of the stories she feels are newsworthy. A curious and proactive journalist, she draws on her own life experiences, her studies, and her work with crew all over the globe.

First Officer Chantelle Maasz

Name: Chantelle Maasz
Position: First Officer
Yacht: M/Y Bina
Length: 43M/141'1"
Builder: Mondomarine
Years in current position: 1 year and 8 months (3.5 years on board)
Years in industry: 8
Previous vessels: M/Y Eclipse, M/Y Triple 8, M/Y Cacique
Nationality: South African

My next goal is to become a chief officer on a larger vessel. I have always worked on similar sized vessels and feel it might be time for a new challenge.

My best friend Arisna (now a chief stewardess) actually started first and she introduced me to yachting. She helped me get my first job as deck/stew.

If I weren’t on a yacht, I’d be an architect. I have a bachelor’s in architectural studies and have always loved that environment. I get to play around with my skills when working on our properties.

The toughest part of the job is knowing when to act and when to only listen. Sometimes, the complaints are so petty and fueled by fatigue and stress. They would normally not even surface, but as the season tightens its grip, we often lose focus of the bigger picture.

My advice for those looking to get started: there’s nothing standing in your way except your own fears. Do the dock walking,
do the networking, meet new people. It is tough, but so is every other new endeavor.

To impress on the job, be humble and do your best at any task. Hard work gets noticed. Help out in any department and don’t feel like your job ends with your title.

Skills that you can transfer to this line of work are always a bonus. I was once asked by the boss to draw the layout of the deckheads on CAD. It felt really good that I was able to use those skills for my current job. Hobbies and sports could greatly influence possible employers’ view on candidates. It helps to have something else to engage in than just going to the closest pub at the end of a charter.

Communication is so vital. Learning what you need to say and how to explain yourself is very integral to a position in leadership. Culture, language, and accent can all have its effects on communication. After working with some crew for many years, we can communicate whole dialogue by simple hand signals over a distance. (Use at own risk.)

My most significant achievement is becoming a female first officer. I have one course left for my OOW and will most likely try and do chief mates shortly after.

Always, always read the instructions first. And ask if you don’t know.

This article originally ran in the August 2021 issue of Dockwalk.


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