Q&A with Lead Deckhand LJ Strike of M/Y Nomad

8 March 2022 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.

Name: LJ Strike
Position: Lead Deckhand / Dive Instructor / Photographer
Yacht: M/Y Nomad
LOA: 55M/180'5"
Builder: Amels
Years in current position: 1
Years in industry: 3.5
Previous vessels: M/Y Domani, M/Y Unicorn, M/Y Dancing Hare

My biggest goal is to scuba dive in the best spots around the world. So far, I’ve knocked off some unique places with even more in store.

I first got into yachting after I’d finished working at a luxury wilderness resort in remote Northern Australia when my boss suggested, “You should go work on a superyacht.” Having no idea about the industry, I Googled “how to work on a superyacht,” flew to Florida two weeks later, and the rest is history.

If I weren’t on a yacht, I’d be back working as a skiing instructor in Japan or diving in the South Pacific, running my own dive school.

I find the odd hours, night shifts, and split shifts the hardest part of the job. During guest trips, it’s the general lack of sleep, especially when you’re expending so much physical energy.

For those looking to get started, do your research about yachting, be persistent, and don’t get disheartened by setbacks. Know your goals and stick with them. Connect with as many people as you can and always read everything twice.

To impress on the job, ask questions if you don’t understand. Use initiative, be self-reliant, have attention to detail, improve your situational awareness, and be early.

Additional skills are always going to set you apart from the rest. You want to show that you are worth more than just your job title. Having extra qualifications above your training is always a huge bonus. Photography/videography, scuba diving, spearing/fishing, and kite-surfing skills are always in high demand.

The most important thing I’ve learned on board is respect. People will work a lot harder with you if you both share a respect for one another. Effectively, you “never go home” at the end of your shift, so being respectful of people both on deck and off will go a long way.

Obviously, the best part of the job for me is the diving. It’s a form of meditation where for 60 minutes, it’s just you, the sound of your bubbles, and (if fortunate) the sound of whales. Also, being the photographer on board, I’m able to take the time to capture some of the most memorable moments.

Best deck tip: Work smarter, not harder. Think about jobs you can do together or in succession, so you’re not backtracking and losing valuable time. Try to help out other departments when you can, even if it’s “not your job.” It’ll prove you’re a valuable team member.

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


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