Freelancing in Oz

23 December 2008 By Di Thompson

It’s the summertime in Australia and where are all the superyachts?

Sydney, the Gold Coast and the Whitsundays are the main summer season destinations for charter boats and private yachts.

If you already happen to be in any of these Aussie destinations and are looking for day work, or if you’re planning a trip to one of them and are looking for a delivery, there are always boats in need of crew at this time of year.

Sydney is the best place to start. There are several marinas all within reasonable proximity of each other and close to all amenities and transport. Rozelle Bay Superyacht Marina was purpose-built to host visiting foreign-flagged yachts for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Some of them enjoyed their time here so much, they decided to stay.

“We encourage visiting crew to walk the docks here as we have one of the friendliest facilities in the southern hemisphere,” says Richard Morris, a master mariner and executive director of Superyacht Sydney (NSW Superyacht Industry Association). “My advice is to dress smart in your polo, cargos and deck shoes. Introduce yourself to someone who looks like they are working on board; have a single-page résumé including a photo ready to hand to them, and be confident in knowing that if they do not have work for you, they will know someone who will.”

Tucked in behind the Australian Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour is another marina that has long-term berths for vessels up to 40 meters and is a stone’s throw from the Star City Casino.

On arrival in Sydney, one of your best contacts for work is Geoff Majer of Major Yacht Services. He also posts jobs on the Superyacht Sydney website at

The Gold Coast in Queensland has 70 kilometers of coastline. Just inside the northern stretch are Surfers Paradise and The Southport Broadwater.

Your best contact for freelance or even permanent work on the Gold Coast is Lisa Hashfield from Yacht Crew Australia ( Hashfield has her office at Sanctuary Cove, home of the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. She will be more than happy to advise you on work available and can put you in touch with the right people to get the best temporary or full-time appointments. Lisa also is the only supplier of specialized yacht crew uniforms in Australia.

You can make yourself known at any of the marinas along Sea World Drive. You'll find the local marina management teams very approachable and helpful in your quest for work. They make it their business to know all the movements of yachts at their berths so they can assist captains and crew during their stays.

Farther north are the beautiful Whitsunday Islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. If you're interested in some fun-filled temporary work for the season, Airlie Beach is the place to network as it has yachts leaving its docks daily.

Abel Point marina lies between Airlie Township and Canonvale. Walk the docks here early in the morning and it’s very likely you will get a day’s work on the spot due to current crew being AWOL or MIA.

There is no designated crew accommodation there; however, there are many backpacker hostels where you can base yourself for a week or longer.

The New Year’s Eve fireworks display on Sydney Harbour is the best in the world. See you there, and best of luck with freelancing in Oz.