Yachts and Crew Flock to Med

26 March 2010 By Janine Ketterer

April is upon us and the 2010 summer season – in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway – is looming. Yachts will begin their journey across the Atlantic to the Med and crew looking for work are sure to follow suit, right?

The latest poll asks these very questions in an attempt to find out where the jobs are.

We first wanted to know where yachts will be this summer. Not a surprise, 39 percent of employed crew said the yacht they work on is headed to the Western Med and 22 percent said they will be in the Eastern Med. On board M/Y High Chaparral, the crew is preparing to head east as they have several charters booked in the Eastern Med, said Second Engineer Michael. First Mate Francois of M/Y Libra III said they are headed first to the Virgin Islands on an owner’s trip, then to Genoa, Italy.

Fourteen percent of employed crew polled said the yacht they work on will go to New England. “If we’re not headed to the Med for charters this summer, we will go up to Maine. We will only do owner’s trips if we go to the Northeast [of the U.S].” said Deckhand Jeff of M/S MITseaAH.

For three percent of employed crew, the Pacific Northwest is their destination and the South Pacific or Asia is where five percent of respondents will venture.

The crew of Coco Loco will stay in South Florida for the 2010 summer season and 11 percent of employed crew answered they, too, will be in South Florida or The Bahamas. “We’re going down to skeleton crew in a month and the boat will be here all summer,” said Second Stew Melissa of M/Y Coco Loco. “It’s for sale.”

With yachts headed to various locations around the world, where will the jobs be? Michael of High Chaparral said they will most likely look for dayworkers or temp crew to help out with their charters while in the Med. Francois, on the other hand, said Libra III will be in the Med with a full crew and will not be using temp crew or dayworkers as they will not be chartering.

Cheery news for those looking for work: Forty-two percent of employed crew said that the vessel they work on is in need of permanent crew for the upcoming season. Fifty-three percent said they will indeed pick up temp crew and/or dayworkers for the summer season.

Most unemployed crew will do like the yachts and make their way Med-side. Forty percent of those looking proclaimed they will begin their search in Antibes and 25 percent said Palma is their destination. But perhaps it also pays to look off the beaten track: One member recently mentioned in the “Stewardess” forum that there is plenty of work for dayworkers in Malta, not to mention cheap accommodations.

Fifteen percent of unemployed crew said they will be in Fort Lauderdale looking for work, and those crew may be in high demand. An anonymous stew on a large motor yacht says that dayworkers have been few and far between on the docks in Lauderdale “I have seen none today and it’s been slow. We’re desperate for one, so I don’t have to be out here cleaning.”

Second Stew Melissa said that once Coco Loco goes down to skeleton crew, three of the six crewmembers will be let go. Those crewmembers plan to travel and look for work in South Florida. She also mentioned that Coco Loco will use dayworkers while the boat is for sale.

One bosun recently left a 130-foot Westport, which is headed to the Med for the summer, in search of a job on a yacht based in South Florida. “I have just recently started looking for another job, but the prospects look pretty good. I have had a steady stream of calls and crew agents have been helpful. It seems as though most boats are heading to the Med, yet I’ve found that there are also many that are heading up the East Coast of the U.S. or doing The Bahamas this summer,” he said.

He is looking for a permanent mate position, like 14 percent of the unemployed crew who responded to the poll. Many crew who are looking for work are in need of entry-level positions; 29 percent of unemployed respondents are in search of a deckhand position and 21 percent are in need of a stewardess position. However, another 21 percent are in need of a captain’s job.

While the summer season is thought of as the Mediterranean season, many yachts there have a fully stocked crew. If you are looking for work, be it permanent or freelance/daywork, perhaps also consider heading to the off-season or less-trafficked yachting hubs where you won’t have to fight the crowds.