New Kids on the Block

23 October 2008 By Kate Hubert

Just a few weeks ago it hadn’t occurred to most of them that a career aboard a superyacht was a real possibility.

Now, as of October 17, the future looks far different for 24 young people who are looking forward to just that.

These "finalists" have overcome some talented opposition to take part in what could be the industry’s first season of "Yacht Idol!" The spirited group has just completed an intensive period of training as part of the Superyacht Skills Foundation "Ultimate Crew" internship and some have already been placed on yachts.

The Superyacht Skills Foundation is a not-for-profit organization supported by Boat International Media, Burgess, Camper & Nicholsons and other leading industry companies to produce high-quality junior crew to staff superyachts.

This course is the first of its kind to recruit trainee deckhands, stewards and engineers; select the best from more than 450 applicants and provide them with world-class training, including residential courses at the British Royal Navy’s HMS Raleigh.

The newbies also received specialist training, such as silver service and marine engineering, and they've completed STCW 95 and sea-sense training.

Not bad for a diverse group of young folks who were uncertain less than a month ago about their career futures.

So far the selection process, based on a survey carried out by the SSF to find out what captains really want in their crew, has been showing dividends. This eager bunch has gelled as a team and it’s clear they will be assets to any yacht they're placed on.

So the next task at hand for John O’Sullivan, the co-executive director of SSF, is to match the new recruits to posts on board. With the help of Burgess, Nicola Morgan is leading the way and will be joining M/Y April Fool as a junior stewardess.

Morgan is understandably excited at the prospect: "I was thrilled to be offered a role on such a prestigious and beautiful yacht and I’m really looking forward to getting to know the crew and doing a good job throughout the season."

Dockwalk magazine and will be following the progress of the new recruits as they navigate their way through the next six months, and many of them are already active on the website, posting blogs, photos and videos.

It will be fascinating to see how these first-season "Yacht Idol!" survivors fare in the yachting industry. There's sure to be a Capt. Simon Cowell somewhere along the way to make things challenging for all, but that's what makes life interesting in this profession.

They’ve made it so far, defeating the odds and proving themselves against hundreds of other wannabe crew, but in this case, we hope they’ll all be winners.

And next year the search will go global, as additional courses are planned to offer spots to European recruits, as well as a U.S.-based course. It’s hoped that these skilled youngsters will be the vanguard of a new group of superyacht crew who will provide the superyacht industry with its much needed lifeblood – committed, motivated and competent crew.

As they say, watch this space… (but please don’t all register your vote as the lines aren’t open and you may be charged!)

Captains and owners with junior crew vacancies who are interested in employing an intern should contact John O’Sullivan via email at