The Bow Is the Pointy End – 8 Tips for New Crew

8 January 2009 By Lisa Hoogerwerf Knapp

So you’re brand-spanking-new to the megayacht industry and just landed your first job on a yacht. The rest of the crew are seasoned professionals; how do you start off on the right foot? Whether it’s a freelance gig or a full-time position, here are eight tips that can help to smooth your transition aboard.

  1. Make a commitment to the job in advance. If you have your STCW and/or Silver Service, you’ll be taken much more seriously. That often means doing the training on your own dime before you even apply for a job.
  2. Show up early or don’t bother to come at all. “That’s well before 8 o’clock,” advises Capt. Tommy Gurr, who hates when his duties are interrupted by late-arriving crew.
  3. Look and act like a professional. “Leave your bicycle somewhere else,” Gurr says. “I know a lot of people ride their bike to the yard or marina, and that’s okay. But don’t ride up to the boat on your bike.”
  4. Learn where everything is aboard. As quickly as possible, learn the lines and how to tie off the boat; the routine for fueling; the location of the EPIRB, life jackets and inflatable rafts. This goes for both deck and interior crew. Safety is your first job.
  5. Know the chain of command. “You need to respect the politics on the boat,” says Capt. Kevin Knapp, who started as a mate. “Know what your job is and do it. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.”
  6. Learn how to behave around owners and guests. If you’re deck crew, “Stay out of sight and be out of mind,” says Knapp. “Be on deck and on duty, then disappear.” New stewardesses should follow the lead of stews with tenure. Be polite and ready to serve without feeling the need to be drinking buddies with the guests.
  7. Use the right equipment the first time. Learn what you should be doing before doing it, in order to avoid a costly mistake. “Use brushes that won’t scratch the paint and grab the hose out of the locker without scratching the house,” says Capt. Scott Frischhertz. “Think of what you would use on a fine automobile. People can relate to the finish on a car, even if they haven’t been on a boat before. I had a stew that used a scrub pad to clean the windows and scratched every one of them.”
  8. Ask for a buddy to help train you. “You learn the merits of people by working alongside them,” says Capt. Doug Hoogs. "I have worked with the deckhands, side by side, and showed them every aspect of washing the boat. They've done the same thing with the interior crew, being the first “guest” of each stewardess and chef, providing positive feedback and constructive criticism."

Even when you start at the bottom, if you take your job seriously, you eventually can climb the ladder to the top.