On the Hunt - Jobs Opportunities During the In-between Season

6 October 2011 By Janine Ketterer

The in-between season in the yachting industry is sometimes like The Changing of the Guard. Between stopping points on the Milk Run, some yachts head into the yard for maintenance or refit while others make way for yachting hubs between charter destinations to give both vessel and the crew much-needed breaks. Often, this is when crew who are looking to change jobs make their move and when newbies flood the docks looking for their first opportunity for a shot on deck.

But what does it really take to get a job during the in-between season? “[Crew must] be available,” says Rupert Connor of Luxury Yachts.  For those crew looking to switch vessels, Connor advises, “Captains just don’t want to have to wait two or more weeks when they need someone now. Most of our placements are for immediate start. Location is an important component to availability.” Don’t begin applying for jobs while en route to your destination of interest; wait until you have arrived for ease of interview and start dates.

Connor also tells seasoned crew to play up their experience, “Promote what you have achieved.”

But what about the new kids on the docks who haven’t got a lick of daywork to brag about? “Even if you are new to the industry and have no yachting experience, highlight your successes and how you’ve championed former challenges,” Connor says.

If you’re planning to hit the docks running: start early, Connor advises. “If the yacht needs someone today, it’s best to be there during the first working hour. Dress in smart shorts and a polo shirt, but bring a change of clothes in a small backpack so you can change into work attire if called upon. Starting early also keeps you out of the worst heat of the day in South Florida.”

Dockwalking can be a daunting and intimidating task for both new and seasoned crew. Connor recommends having your greeting prepared in advance. Something to the effect of,  “‘Who should I speak with regarding daywork?’ should solicit a more detailed response than ‘do you need any dayworkers?’ which gets an immediate ‘no’ from the deckhand you just spoke with. The psychology of avoiding ‘no’ is a book in itself.”

Know your legal rights, Connor says. “In many marinas, dockwalking and looking for work is prohibited. (You may see signs stating ‘no soliciting.’) If visiting a country where you do not have work privileges, be careful when seeking temporary work as that may be in contravention of your visa and can result in deportation.” While looking for a job is not illegal on a B1/B2 visa in the States, dayworking is. Be careful, as CBP agents have been cracking down in recent years.

And for crew on the other side of the Pond, “Keep on dockwalking even though there might not be many yachts around," Erica Lay of YCO Crew in Palma says. “There are always mishaps. People leave, are fired, they get injured and need to be replaced. When that happens, there is a good chance the captain will get on the phone to an agency for an urgent replacement, as time is of the essence.” Lay maintains that this benefits both new and seasoned crew.

Lay also reports, “We’ve heard our yards in Palma are fully booked for the winter, which is fantastic news for the crew and the local economy. In that respect, there should be a fair amount of daywork to go around; dockwalking and networking will be the right way to go.” @font-face {  font-family: "Cambria";}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }.MsoChpDefault { font-family: Cambria; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; }