From the Deck: Extra Skills and Qualifications

31 March 2020 By Laura Dunn

When it comes to yachting, you already know the job is tough. Breaking into the industry can be just as hard. To give new crew that extra insight, Dockwalk curated advice from active deck crew who know what it takes to be hired.

Each month, we ask a crewmember from the deck department to share how important extra qualifications and skills like surfing, scuba diving, and the like are. Here’s what 12 deck crew had to say in the past year. What would you add?

“It depends heavily on the boat but having extra skills and qualifications may open doors to more job possibilities.” — Deckhand Jonas Mura Gomes

“Extra qualifications and skills definitely help in the job search when setting you apart from your competition. It also helps you widen your job search. When being on a boat, the extra skills you have allow you to take on more roles.” — Deckhand Mitchell Bienvenue

“Extra qualifications are very important because owners like to do a lot of different things and if … these guys like kitesurfing, it’s nice to have someone who does know how to do it. So, it helps with that if you’re able to do [more] and have other qualifications.” — Bosun Eduardo Linares

“Extra qualifications aren’t necessarily important, but they can be helpful. I think it can make for a great crew dynamic and improved guest experience when members of the crew can all add a little something extra to the team.” — Mate Zyanya Wade

“I think the more qualifications and skills you have, the better job you can obtain and the more useful you will be to a team effort.” — Deckhand Stefano Gallese Garnier

“I think that any extra qualifications could improve your job. Being a certified scuba diver could come in handy if the anchor gets stuck somehow, you need to check the hull, or you have a line caught in the propeller. Your extra skills don’t always have to be water-related, though. I’m in the process of getting certified to teach yoga so that I can offer yoga sailing retreats.” — Deckhand Abbigale Murphy

“Previous trade experience is infinitely valuable on deck, especially for older vessels that require involved maintenance solutions. But most of all, the crew’s hobbies outside of work can add so much life to the boat.” — Deckhand Patrick Levitzke

“I wouldn’t say that it is mandatory to have related skills, but they do show a bit about your personality in terms of how comfortable you feel in the water, how much energy you have, and how involved in yachting you are. Most of the time you will have to forget everything you know so you can learn how your new boat does things.”
— Deckhand/Stewardess Gema Martínez

“I’m a PADI Divemaster, an SSI Freediving Instructor, and have been leveling up on my underwater photography and videography skills. At this point, the additional skills haven’t given me that much of a competitive edge, but I’m open to job opportunities that could utilize those skills!” — First Mate/Stewardess Rachel Novak

“Having extra qualifications is really good to have if you are looking to work on vessels that offer very good packages. Extra qualifications always make you more attractive to hire and the captain will be able to see if you will have something in common with other crewmembers through your qualifications.” — Deckhand Shimon Roets

“It is very important to have extra skills. Not only do they make you more employable, but people can connect with you and your passions. People like to employ like-minded people because they stand a higher chance of getting on.” — Deckhand Sheldon Rainbow

“Any extra skill is useful as well as transferable. Make sure to highlight your soft skills. For example, communication, adaptability, leadership skills will go a long way in this industry. It doesn’t always have to be the obvious qualifications like diving, surfing, etc.” — Bosun Holly Robertson