Word on the Docks, the 2011 Med Season for Crew

26 May 2011 By Erica Lay

The 2011 Med season is here. So what can new and experienced crew expect when they hit the docks? Sofar this season Palma has been pretty busy. Antibes, which usually tops out the with sheer number of crew lining the docks lookingfor work, doesn’t appear to be any different than years prior. Palma, however,remains a bit quieter, but still chaotic.

Crewhouses and hostels have been in great demand; rooms in shared houses have beenquickly snapped up as new crew arrive. Out on the docks, huge numbers of newcrew are seeking daywork and long-term positions. The difference this yearseems to be that more are arriving with extensive certifications and qualifications and updated, professional CVs.

Bluewaterin Palma reported increased STWC 95 course bookings and increased coursebookings for experienced crew. Times have been tough. “Yachties are realisingthat qualifications are the way to go to increase the opportunity to find agood position,” said Elisa Arcal of Bluewater.

LindaRevill of Aigua Seaschool in Palma saw a quieter start to the year, but thingspicked up in March as crew arrived. However, Revill reported that the calibre ofyachtmaster candidates is weaker than in previous years. “We see this as anindication that crew are under pressure to achieve the title when they are notready for it in terms of their own experience.” As usual, there is extreme competitionbetween deckhands for jobs, it seems more guys are trying to get theiryachtmaster tickets to stay ahead of the game. Revill alsoreported the usual last minute panic of crew who need Powerboat Level II; thesecourses are being run daily.

YCOCrew Palma has seen big increases in senior positions this year, reporting thatit started earlier than in previous years. February was a very busy month fordeck officer positions. Stewardess positions have been constant – from juniorup to chief, however Chef positions are only just starting to come in. Yachtsseem to have arrived in the Med later than usual, but as of late, marinas arebusy and the feeling generally is positive (just don’t ask the poor lads who’vebeen dockwalking solidly for three weeks!).

SaraDuncan of Crew and Concierge reported a steady flow of jobs so far this year andalso a constant stream of “newbies” entering the industry.

Overall,new crew are arriving in Palma from all walks of life, but this year they seemmore prepared; research has been done, expectations are more realistic and thisis creating a better attitude and outlook amongst the new crew. Experiencedcrew are returning with new qualifications, achievable goals, and career plans.