While there are countless courses teaching crew the essential skills for their onboard jobs, former Chief Stew Madison Jay recognized there wasn’t one that helped with landing that job. So in 2022, she launched Shore to Sea to give crew resources for getting a job, or a better one.
After a seven-year yachting career, the former chief stew of an 85-meter motor yacht left the industry with a small social media following and a travel blog. “I didn't know how I was going to do it, and for months, I just brain dumped everything into a word document. I had essentially written a book,” she says. “Eventually the idea of an online course popped into my head, I found a mentor and committed to it for the next 18 months. I worked so much harder than I'd ever done in yachting getting this business off the ground.”
Shore to Sea is a self-paced online course that teaches green crew everything they need to know from qualifications and interview prep to the work on board. Jay shares her personal, “un-Google-able” strategy to stand out from the competition and created every contact list, checklist, template, planner, and resource that anybody would ever need to land their first job.
Since the beta version, 50 aspiring stews have joined the program in 2023. The cost starts at £600 for the year with optional upgrades. Registration opens twice a year, and once enrolled, students have access to the modules, which consists of six hours of videos.
The lessons lead them through tasks, such as writing their CV and registering with crew agents. There’s also a private student Facebook community, monthly calls for questions, and daywork and job opportunities through Jay’s network. She’s started to host events before boat shows to bring together interior-related businesses, recruiters, chief stews, experienced crew, and students to network in an unintimidating environment.
“Whilst there are many courses that teach people the practical laundry, housekeeping, and service skills of being a stew, Shore to Sea is the only course that teaches people the essential step that you need before that — how to actually land the job. There is no benefit to learning how to do hospital corners on a bed, if you don't land a job.”
Jay recommends starting the course three to eight months before you want to join yachting, so aspiring crew can tick off the tasks they need to do to improve their chances of landing a job quickly. With many returning home every season without a job, she wanted to create a program that provided an easily replicable, step-by-step strategy on landing a job without yachting experience.
“I can proudly say that 100 percent of Shore to Sea students who looked for work this Mediterranean summer season landed jobs, 60 percent of them without leaving home,” Jay says.
She wants to make yachting more accessible and something people feel they could pursue. Having noticed that boats were hesitant to hire green stews, she has created a team of green stews who understand how the industry works, the hard work, and are ready to take the job seriously.
“Shore to Sea is for anybody who is serious about landing their first job on board as a superyacht stew,” Jay shares. “They can have any background, gender, or age.”
One day, she hopes to see Shore to Sea become the course that chief stews and captains require junior stewardesses to take before joining vessels, so they step on board with as much knowledge as possible.