Career Advice

How NOT to Get Scammed When Looking for a Job as Yacht Crew

21 June 2024 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.

Finding a job on a superyacht is now more of an online process than ever, which makes crew more susceptible to scammers. By recognizing the red flags, you can avoid dodgy dealings that can cost you time and money...

1. Any request for money. Ever. This is a HUGE no. As a job seeker you should never, ever be asked for money. It might be loosely disguised as fees for visas, background checks, or travel costs. And if they’re feeling clever they may even tell you they’ll reimburse you when you arrive on board. Spoiler alert: they won’t. Because there’s no yacht. And they’ve disappeared.

2. Brand new Facebook profiles. It’s like those “win a holiday to Bora Bora by sharing our post!” type posts that crop up, copying established business pages, just to phish for your info. If someone pops up on socials asking for yacht crew check out their profile. Do they have zero friends? Is the profile a week old? No photos? No posts? Hmmm.

3. Dodgy email addresses. Ok so sometimes to avoid giving out the boat email people will set up a new generic type address for the initial first sweep of CVs and applications (e.g. But then, down the line, if they can’t give you a proper email address or any official documentation of the yacht, that’s a warning. Ask for it!

4. Unrealistic promises. If that 40m MY is promising salaries like €10,000 a month for a green deckhand, then it’s fake. As a general rule, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

5. Lack of detailed information. If you’re emailing or chatting to someone who is evasive, won’t give you simple information like the age and build of the yacht, how many crew on board, itinerary, where the other crew are from and so on, that’s highly questionable. Fair enough at first they may not give out too much info but if they want to interview you then by that stage, they need to give you detailed info. 

6. No interview. Hang on, they’ve reviewed your CV and qualifications and have offered you the (highly paid) position immediately without so much as a call? Oh, and it’s a senior position but this is your first job in the industry? Run.

7. Inappropriate language/behaviour. You’ve applied for a job and the person hiring is now whatsapping you and asking you inappropriate questions? It is never okay for someone to ask for someone to ask for a bikini shot. And if they r texting u like this? Block the number.

8. Pressure to respond quickly. If they get aggressive or pushy and demand you make a decision without giving you full information, a contract to review, or any details then take a little pause. If it’s mid-season and they’re replacing a crew member, ask why. Could be innocent (injury, family illness etc) or not. If they can’t be honest with you, flee!

9. No legitimate associations. Many scammers will hide behind the guise of a personal assistant or yacht management company. Check the person's name on LinkedIn or verify if the mentioned company is real by Googling it.

10. Asking for personal details Not legitimate recruiter will ask for important personal details such as your bank account or passport information without sending you a contract first.

If you ever get that gut feeling that perhaps something isn’t quite right, listen to it. If in doubt, ask someone you trust – a respected crew agent, a captain, a family member. Sometimes you just need that reassurance that it’s not you… because it usually isn’t. 


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