YPI CREW Annual Report: 2016 Yacht Crew Trends

YPI CREW Annual Report: 2016 Yacht Crew Trends

Positive news for crews looking for jobs on super yachts, appear to be more opportunities as more yachts are built, but keeping an open mind to what yacht you want to work on is likely to increase your likelihood of work. With much thanks to YPI for providing their Crew Annual Report for 2016.

Not just a reflection of prospects for yachting employees, crew recruitment data underpins insightful market analysis of the yachting industry itself. An average 100m superyacht requires around 50 yacht crewmembers. Accordingly, as the length of yachts and numbers launched increase, so does the requirement for crew. Data provided by the leading yacht crew recruitment agency, YPI CREW, suggests that the yachting industry is going from strength to strength.

Indeed, crew recruitment trends are subtly indicative of the growth of the yachting industry. Since 2013 there has been a 37% increase in yacht crew jobs. Moreover, for the second year in a row, the category of yachts over 71m in length generated more jobs than any other category, with 34% of total crew positions offered in this range. Jobs offered on 51m-70m vessels came in second, with 32.4% of available positions. The fact that this was not the case even three years ago shows that there has been an increase of 71m+ yachts on the market, each requiring more crew than the average in previous years. This is iterated by the 5% reduction of jobs in the 31m-50m category. Coherent with the global yacht market, it comes as no surprise that 89.6% of crew recruitment is required for jobs on motor yachts, and just 9.4% on sailing yachts. The consistent increase in the number and length of yachts means that there are more jobs for which to apply and more opportunities from which to benefit than in the past years.

 

Delving deeper into the 2016 data, 70.8% of positions offered were on board private yachts. This number justifies the advice of those recruitment agents who advise crew to target their efforts toward private vessels. Only 29.2% of available positions were offered on charter vessels. Unsurprisingly, just 4.4% of crew positions were for yacht Captain jobs in 2016.

A yacht job trend that remains consistent is the increasing number of those looking to start a career at sea. As per YPI CREW’s data, 2016 saw new candidate registrations increase by 22%. The appeal of the yachting industry is undeniable – for fittingly skilled and resilient candidates with a willingness to work hard, it offers a chance to travel the world, earn good money, make friends for life and build a solid career.

Laurence Lewis, Director of YPI CREW, commented on the excellent prospects for skilled crewmembers in 2017:

“There are excellent jobs and candidates out there, the market is buoyant. The key is to be flexible and realistic - this goes for employees and employers alike.”

Please note: Facts are compiled from the information provided by YPI CREW, the leading yacht crew recruitment agency.

Article and photo provided by YPI Crew with permission. More information from YPI Crew visit there website, CLICK HERE

Demand for Carpenters on Super Yachts.

A big thank you to Wilsonhalligan for creating this great blog post. It appears as super yacht size grows captains are looking for a broader diversity of skills from their crew, carpentry being one such area that can really enhance your CV and chances of employment. 

Yachts are ever expanding in size and operating styles, which has led to a variety of new crew roles being created. Wilsonhalligan, a specialist large yacht recruitment agency based on the South Coast of the UK sees emerging crew trends and the team has seen an increase in the demand for skilled and qualified carpenters over the last few years. We sat down with Louise Forster, recruitment consultant at Wilsonhalligan, to understand the role of an on-board carpenter and what she looks for in a potential candidate.

Louise explained, "Over recent years, skilled carpenters on board superyachts are becoming an integral part of the crew. The duties of the carpenter can range from being able to ‘fix' anything wooden on board, from removing a bulkhead to access panels for technical works to fixing interior details like curtain tracks, door handles or hinges that often come loose due to vibration. Fabrication, building of shelving and storage and teak maintenance and repairs are also vital skills.”

She added: “Carpenters should be ready to get stuck in and help with the rest of the crew when needed. Typically, they form part of the deck team, so the job role will likely entail general deck duties such as wash downs, tender driving, deck maintenance and water sports activities. Of course, each Yacht, Owner and Captain is different and will require a different assorted skillset so it’s important to get a detailed specification when applying to ensure the role is a good fit for you and your skills.”  

“Attention to detail is paramount when preparing, working and clearing up; excellent skills in fabrication are naturally a must - building storage lockers, making steps for the tender and mounting paintings could all be required of you. You’ll need to be able to turn your hand to a wide variety of requests and be resourceful in terms of the materials and tools you use since storage onboard can be limited. One yacht carpenter we know was asked to make a display stand for a particular seashell that the owner loved and brought back to the boat!”  

“Finishing skills are important for any crew member, but as a carpenter it is vital that you know, for example, how to repair a scratch in a high gloss varnished surface, understand the process of French Polishing and how to varnish capping rails and repair or replace teak panels. Standards are extremely high onboard a large yacht or superyacht and it is expected that they will be maintained.”

So, what characteristics does Wilsonhalligan look for in a candidate? “Aside from technical skills, being able to work as part of a dynamic team is vital and an ability to thrive in a demanding role where expectations can change at short notice are the most important requirements for working on a superyacht,” said Louise.

If you’re interested in working on a yacht, or want to find out more, Wilsonhalligan are always happy to discuss potential opportunities with interested candidates. Please visit their website on Wilsonhalligan.com or contact Louise Forster, Recruitment Consultant for Wilsonhalligan at louise@wilsonhalligan.com for more information.

 

For further information visit the Wilsonhalligan website

Thinking of working on a super yacht, want to learn about all you need to know before working on a yacht, download or order "Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide" to teach you all you need to know CLICK HERE for more information. 

A NEW YACHT DECKHAND’S GUIDE TO COURSES AND CERTIFICATES

What do you need to start in the yachting industry? YPI Crew placement agency will guide you on what you need to do to secure your first job as a deckhand

Yachting has become a far more regulated industry over the last decade, meaning the ‘good old days’ of getting jobs on yachts without qualifications are at an end.

Not only that, but as the yachting industry has become extremely competitive, the basic courses are often no longer enough to secure a job. Newcomers to the yachting industry are finding it increasingly necessary to take extra training in order to win their first job as a deckhand on a luxury yacht.

Knowing which courses or certificates are compulsory, and which ones will best increase your chances of getting your first job as a superyacht deckhand, can often seem confusing. Also, all the acronyms and slang can be quite confusing.

So, our yacht crew placement team at YPI Crew have put together this guide* to help you through the new maze of yachting certification for deckhands.

STAGE 1: COMPULSORY COURSES

STCW Basic Safety Training: Mandatory for anyone working on board large yachts over 24 meters.

The STCW Basic Training is the crucial place to start for all crew hoping to get their first job on a yacht.

ALL crew agents and captains will insist on you having this certification.

The STCW is a 5 day course with the following 5 modules (you can also take them separately)

· Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting

· Personal Survival Techniques

· Personal Safety and Social Responsibility

· First Aid/CPR

· Proficiency in Security Awareness (see Security section below)

Why is it so important? Around 80% of accidents at sea are due to human error, so the IMO introduced this STCW course to improve maritime safety (and yes, you will get used to all these acronyms after a while).

You almost certainly won’t get hired without your STCW certification. A crew agent won’t even interview you without it or add you to their database, meaning your career will die in the water before it begins.

Recent changes: It used to be the STCW95, but it’s recently been updated to the STCW2010 and now includes the Security Awareness module.

Price and duration: 5 days, approx. €1200

Seafarer Medical Certificate: Mandatory.

This is not something your local general practitioner can give you; it is a medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner, who is accredited by their country’s maritime authority, which attests that you are medically fit to work on a yacht. Your hearing and sight will be tested and the medical practitioner will want to ensure that you are not suffering from a medical condition likely to be aggravated by service at sea.

An example of such a medical certificate is an ENG1. This is a seafarer medical certificate, issued by an MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) approved medical practitioner in the United Kingdom to work on a UK flagged yacht. An ENG1 is a popular medical certificate in the yachting industry and many non-British crew decide to obtain an ENG1 by visiting one of the many MCA medical practitioners based around the world. The link to these recognized doctors can be found on our website: CLICK HERE

An ENG 1 will allow you to work on most non-British flagged yachts in the yachting industry.

Is a Medical Certificate easy to get?

This isn’t a ‘rubber-stamp’ check-up, but as long as you’re in good health, there shouldn’t be a problem.

There are a few conditions that do raise a red flag, such as epilepsy, heart disease, bipolar, diabetes, and - the most common in young males, in particular - colour-blindness.

Price: Expect to pay around € 120

Security Awareness: Mandatory

When working on yachts, you need to be very aware of security. With high profile people on board, and the threat of pirates and thieves to contend with, the yachting industry has recently evolved to incorporate security awareness into crew training.

If you got your STCW before this module was brought in, you will need to go back to a training school to do this module.

These days the STCW has a Security Awareness Module built-in, although many recommend taking the ‘Security Awareness in Designated Security Duties’ course instead, as it is considered more relevant to the duties of yacht crew.

Price: Security Awareness: €200; Security Awareness with Designated Duties: €280.

STAGE 2: OPTIONAL (BUT HIGHLY BENEFICIAL) COURSES

The following are RYA courses (Royal Yachting Association), accredited by the MCA (Marine Coastguard Authority). See equivalent US Coastguard Courses.

VHF Online Course and Exam

Being able to properly and safely operate the VHF radio is a legal requirement, when using the equipment. You can do the course online, but must sit the assessment at a training centre.

Price and duration: Online course: 1 day, €50; Exam: 1 day, €130.

Powerboat II: If you could only afford one more course, this would have to be it. Being trained in boat handling skills and basic navigation in tenders up to 10m will markedly increase your chances of being hired.

Price and duration: 2 days, around €500.

PWC and PWC Instructor:

Many countries now require that all people riding jetskis and waverunners hold a personal watercraft license, and yachts that carry these watertoys must now have a licensed PWC instructor onboard.

PWC: 1 day course, €390; PWC Instructor: 3 days, €990

Scuba Diving: Start with your PADI Open Water Course, moving up to your Emergency First Response Instructor and onto your PADI Instructor Development Course - at which point you become a far more attractive prospect for hiring captains!

AEC- The ‘Approved Engine Course’ is a clever one to take if you’re interested in applying for deck/engineer roles or are entertaining the idea of moving into engineering later. Even those wanting to climb the deck path to captain would be well-advised to take this course, if they can afford it, as it teaches basic diesel marine mechanics and electronics, which you will need to understand, at least at some level, during your career.

5 days, approx. €1000

The above are just to get you started and increase your chances of getting your first yacht job. There is also an array of further sea safety and security courses you can do, as you progress through your yachting career, including Advanced Fire fighting, Advanced Sea Survival, Medical First Aid and ISPS Security Officer.

STAGE 3: LATER COURSES

As you progress in your yachting career and begin to get some sea miles under your belt, you will work towards your RYA Yachtmaster, then onto your Officer of the Watch, and, finally, your Masters (captains certificates).

While these later courses are a major (and costly) undertaking, your exciting and lucrative yachting career will more than compensate you for it!

*All prices vary by country and training provider so are a rough guide only. This guide is written from a European/MCA regulation perspective. In the US, seafarer’s certification is run through the US Coast Guard and varies considerably in the higher certificates such as Masters.

Thank you to YPI for providing such useful and valuable information. During my time in yachting I always found them to be really helpful and efficient whenever I needed help finding work. For more information on YPI Crew, please visit their website here


WORKING AS A DECK HAND ON A YACHT

 

Day in the life of a deck hand

The workload on a super yacht varies incredibly. The busiest times are in the preparation for guests’ arrival, when guests are on-board and preparing for a boat show or photo shoot. During a busy period, between twelve to eighteen hour days are quite common. While guests are on-board a seven day week with no days off is worked, even if on-board for months. Our crew worked a twelve to fourteen hour shift system.

Below is a brief summary of an average day with guests on board to give a very rough overview of a day for a deck hand.

0345: Wake up to alarm from a very deep sleep. This for me is one of the worse parts of the day, leaving my warm bed, (narrower than a single bed) knowing my day starts here. This is when I question why I ever left work at home starting at 9am and giving me every weekend off. I peel myself out of bed and straight into uniform. I opt not to have a shower in the morning as it gives me an extra 15 minutes in bed. I shower and shave the previous evening. Men (and maybe some hairy women!) have to be clean shaven each day when are guests on-board.

0355: I wolf down a cereal bar and head onto deck, collecting my radio (the means to communicate on-board). I radio my crew mate who is on the 0000-0400 shift to relieve him from his duties. The yacht has shifts covering 24 hours a day, seven days a week whilst guests are on board. At this stage I am envious of my crew mate; he is now off to bed and has an eight hour break. He discusses what is left to do on deck, and I take over.

0400 – 0600: The majority of the guests have returned from their evenings out, so the passerale (the walkway connecting the yacht to the dock) is raised when the last tender run is completed. (Tender runs involve ferrying guests from the yacht to wherever they wish to go).  Provided all guests are on-board the yacht will be cleaned as needed. The teak decks sometimes need a rinse but often a scrub is needed with cleaning products to remove any stains from food or salt water. It may also involve emptying and cleaning the Jacuzzi. I could also be involved in preparing the water sports room for activities that day as well as re-stocking the cooler bags with drinks and replenishing the towels outside. The whole yacht may need to be rinsed to wash away salt spray from the previous days cruising and dried with a shammy, although hopefully my crew mate on the night shift will have done this. The tenders have to be cleaned also. The time goes quickly. I am working on my own and as there are normally no guests around, this is the time to do the jobs that cannot be done when they are present.

0600-0730: My work colleague joins me at 0600; starting his shift which will run until 2200 hours. He helps me finish any outstanding work and we then prepare for the guests once they wake. All outside seating areas would have been covered when guests retired to prevent dew or rain damaging the cushions. Once the sun has risen we uncover the seating areas, lay out sun loungers, lay tables with magazines, sun cream, fresh water and tissues on them. We place towels rolled neatly on the chairs and loungers. The drains running around the deck are cleaned with a mop, the stainless steel is buffed with a cloth and cleaning products and all tables wiped down and polished. If the yacht had not been rinsed overnight we wipe down all the flat surfaces with a damp shammy to remove any dust or hair that has collected on these surfaces. We aim to have everything set up and cleaned to an immaculate standard before the first guest wakes. It looks unprofessional to have water everywhere and crew carrying cleaning equipment while the guests are eating breakfast and reading their morning paper.

0730-0930: The guests often slowly start rising and the bulk of the work is now complete. We may be putting equipment away from their view or preparing to leave the dock.

0930-1200: Around this time we will often be leaving the dock so all lines will be brought on board and tidied away, fenders deflated and fender hooks put away. This keeps the main deck area tidy should guests come down, and erases any evidence of having been moored. Whilst the yacht makes its way to the days destination, we prepare for water sports activities and change into water-sports gear. As we approach our destination for the day we drop anchor. We then set up the swim platform with all the equipment, ringos, banana, slide, wakeboards, water-skis, jet skis and launch both tenders which are placed on whips off the side of the yacht. The swim ladder is also put in place and the bumpers slotted in. We keep at least one crew member on the swim platform at all times in  case a guest comes down to swim or to use the equipment. Roughly every 30 minutes through the day the deck crew will carry out checks to ensure that all the exterior decks are tidy. This involves clearing glasses, towels, straightening cushions, topping up the jacuzzi, polishing finger marks off the stainless steel or cleaning the teak decks. 

1200-1600: I am off duty though not a guaranteed if guests want to do water sports. If I do manage I will eat a quick lunch then go to my room/bunk and watch a DVD, read or sleep.

1600-2000: On-going water sports until the sun sets or guests have tired. All the water sports equipment has to be brought back, rinsed and deflated. The jet skis and tenders are also lifted on board and cleaned and the engines flushed with water. The swim platform is packed away, whips put away and the lazarette (water-sports garage at the back of the yacht) tidied. The anchors are lifted and we are underway to our next destination. On the journey I try to take a very quick shower, change into evening uniform (long trousers and shirt) and have a bite to eat. It is then time to prepare the lines, blow up the fenders and put in place ready for docking when all the deck crew are needed. I may not get to bed until 2000 hours though this has been closer to 2200 hours. I will be unlikely to get this time back and will lose sleep.

Once docked we organise a rota for passerale watch. This involves standing on the dock or yacht ensuring no undesirables enter, and keeping a tally of any guest leaving or returning. When my shift has ended I ask permission from my senior crew to retire to bed, normally around 2000 hours, ready to begin again at 0400 hours the following morning.

So it can be seen that a normal 12 hour day could easily creep up to 18 hours. This is not too frequent, and anything from 12 to 16 hours is commonplace.

MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE IN MY BOOK "WORK ON A SUPER YACHT: THE BEGINNERS GUIDE" BUY NOW

FROM OFFICE JOB TO WORKING ON A BILLIONAIRE’S SUPER YACHT.

Ben went from working in a dull grey office, bored of his work, to travelling the world on one of the world's top super yachts. He went from struggling to save for a house deposit to securing two properties which he now rents out to eight students. He went on a brilliant journey of a lifetime, saw lots of beautiful places around the world, saved money and created some incredible memories... now he is teaching others how to do the same, details below. 

Why did I escape?

Prior to my escape I was in a successful job as a case manager, earning a good salary, but deep down I was not content. I found work in an office mundane, it lacked any excitement, change of routine or dynamism. I often found my mind and eyes wondering outside, looking at the grey rain falling onto the grid locked road outside. I realised I was stuck in a rut and no longer living life to the full. Alongside this I had an uneasy feeling that I was not ready to settle down, maybe I was going through my first very early mid-life crisis!

Prior to making the leap I fought on a daily basis with what to do; with Mr Sensible saying “stay in your secure 9-5 job” or Mr Adventurous saying, “get out of your rut, explore, just do it”. I knew in my heart which was right, but it is strange how much weight we put on a mundane, safe existence in today’s society, even if that course does not make you happy or feel alive. So in what some would describe as a moment of madness or as it felt to me a moment of clarity I handed in my notice and embarked into a new world, new career and a completely new lifestyle…. and world I was a complete novice in.

My Escape into the Super Yacht World…..

I completed a couple of professional qualifications and caught a plane to the South of France, heading to a port called Antibes; a beautiful fortified town, home to some of the largest super yachts in the industry. With no job prospect, no experience of working on a super yacht and just a ruck sack of belongings I booked in to a crew house and my dormitory room …… quite a change from my secure job and harbour-side apartment I left some 24 hours earlier. Doubts of my uprooting were strongly ringing as the reality of my move abroad set in.

Finding work proved a full time job for nearly two months; meeting with crew agents, networking at social gatherings, and walking miles of docks handing out CV after CV. It was a hard step down coming from a profession where I was nearing the top of my career, to now essentially cold calling to secure a job I had no experience in. At times it seemed relentless, with nothing developing from what I hoped would be so many positive leads. Persistence and hard work eventually paid off and I slowly made inroads and started to get some interest.

I secured day work on a couple of super yachts, leading to two weeks work and eventually I achieved my goal; working on one of the top super yachts as a deck hand (available to hire at close to half a million per week, a price which I still struggle to comprehend.)

What did my new life consist of?

My work on-board varied but when guests were on-board I would tend to their requests, such as teaching them water sports and ferrying them around on high speed tenders (small speed boats) to beautiful ports and beaches. The work also involved a great deal of cleaning and maintaining the yacht to an extremely high standard, a new skill I had to develop as cleaning was not a natural forte of mine! The view from my office was quite a contrast to the grid locked road of my previous job…..one day I would be working with the backdrop of Monaco, then looking onto the Amalfi coastline the following day, one day could be spent whizzing around on jet skis, the next day up a mast polishing stainless steel.

During my time I was fortunate to experience four Atlantic crossings, and saw most of the Caribbean and Mediterranean.  I saw some incredible sights; from the most amazing sunsets, dolphins bow riding the yachts wave and whales breaching in the yachts wake, to the most brilliantly bright stars I have ever seen, in the middle of the Atlantic. At times the hours were long, especially when guests were on-board but the negatives were massively outweighed by the people I met, the sights I saw and the memories I treasure, it was an incredible time.

 

What my escape taught me?

In hindsight, the day I handed in my notice was one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. Sometimes it seems easier to continue life unchanged, with the security around us in employment, home and friends. However stepping out of your comfort zone can open up a whole new world, endless exciting opportunities and create memories to last a life time.

Looking back and reflecting, there are so many potential opportunities thrown at us each day and changing one decision can have consequences that take us into a whole new direction and life. I wonder how many opportunities like this I have closed the door on through fear, doubt and a will to keep to my safe existence. I have learnt to say yes more and not be afraid of embracing new experiences; we only have one life and it is up to us to make it a journey to remember.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become”
— Steve Jobs

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Accurate, informative, honest, and gold dust for anyone wanting to get into the industry”
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Ben has also created http://www.workonasuperyacht.co.uk/ a fantastic website and blog for anyone wanting to learn more about working on a Super Yacht.

 

My first day working on a super yacht

This is the second  part of a two part blog, detailing my experience of my first 24 hours working on a super yacht. I hope you find informative and provides a useful insight into life on a yacht.

For more information about working on a super yacht get the recent publication "Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide" written by me, based on my personal experience, full of essential information on how to secure a job on a super yacht BUY NOW

The morning arrives, I wake before my alarm, draw my porthole curtain and lie in bed watching a couple of mullet fish cruising between our yacht and the next one. My relaxing is a mistake as I hear my roommate get up and lock the bathroom door. My planned shower, toilet and shave have been thrown as I realise that waiting for him will make me late, so I opt to dress and eat breakfast (note to self … establish showering times and get in the shower first tomorrow!)


A delicious breakfast with a selection of cereals, yoghurts and fresh fruit awaits. I then collect my radio and meet the Captain and deck crew on the bridge for a morning briefing of the day ahead. 
I am given a tour of the whole yacht, something I have dreamt of since a small boy seeing these yachts in the South of France during a family holiday. The interior in the guest areas is a massive step up from the humble and compact crew areas. It is filled with high-class bespoke furniture, elaborate mirrors, glistening marble flooring, baths and beautiful wooden staircase. I feel I am on a photo shoot for an interior design magazine or elaborate film set; the style, taste and quality are like nothing I have witnessed before. I am shown into the main guest cabin complete with massive bed, walk-in dressing room, and an enormous ensuite with two large showers and a beautiful bath, surrounded in white marble. Off the master bedroom is the sitting area where there is a discreet wall mounted button which when pressed creates a deep electrical buzzing noise before light begins to appear between the yacht’s walls. As the side wall of the yacht lowers the buzzing stops and the wall is completely lowered to create a private balcony where the owner and guests can sit outside in complete privacy.


After seeing how the other half live I return to normality and my life as a deck hand. Today’s job, I have been informed, is to wash the yacht…


Being a normal male, cleaning to an A1 standard did not come naturally, but as I was to learn quickly, this had to change. Prior to this I envisaged a “wash down” to be easy, akin to washing a car with a quick sponge and rinse. Not so. I was shown the process by the lead deck hand and taught that the yacht has to first be rinsed with fresh water to remove the salt or dirt to avoid scratching the paintwork. Next it is washed with a brush and mitten everywhere including doorways, deckhands (the ceilings on the outside decks) and even the gutters. The soapy water then has to be rinsed off before the water has time to dry otherwise it will leave unacceptable marks (no mean feat in temperatures of 28 degrees+). Finally, despite being in glorious sunshine, the whole yacht has to be dried with a shammy in stages to prevent water marks being left on the stainless steel or paintwork when it evaporates. I am told this process will take two to three days to complete and am dutifully given a mitten and told to start on the sun deck. I clarify where this “sun deck” is and negotiate my way up to the top deck.


I soon note the seemingly simple process of washing down a yacht may not be quite as simple as I hoped. I find I am continually making mistakes. I started drying the stainless steel before the deckhand, used a mitten to wash the side instead of a brush, left items on the deck that could mark the teak and wrang the shammy too hard before storing it. All these basic mistakes proved to me that even with A Levels and a degree, there is only really one way to learn, and that is by practice and experience. The reality of what this work entailed was rapidly sinking in and my illusions of driving tenders and jet skis for the rich and famous were rapidly fading. The crew were lovely but seemed to have missed the part of their training called ‘positive feedback’ and I was bombarded with criticism. I found this time hard, having come from a profession where I was advising people and being asked for my advice. I was continually making simple mistakes just washing an ornate object. It was a steep learning curve and I was just not used to being told what to do anymore. This had to change as I had much to learn. 


The washing down routine was interrupted by very welcome breaks mid-morning, lunch time and mid-afternoon. Lunch was an incredible selection of dishes and salads laid out by the chefs which proved a real highlight from the days work. Also raiding the sweet and chocolate cupboard was another delight, without doubt replacing more calories than were burnt in the days activities.
The whole day was spent washing the yacht. It proved a good work out and having come from an office-based job I was loving the physical exertion. However the mundane nature of the job and the regular mistakes I was making was taking its toll and I finished the day with some serious question marks as to whether I had made the right career move. 


After clearing away all the cleaning equipment, I returned to the crew area to tuck into another delicious meal. Afterwards I opted for a run around Genoa as I felt it important to spend at least a small part of the day off the yacht and relished the personal space whilst exploring the city. I returned from my run, showered and relaxed in the crew mess whilst watching a television program. The effects of the fresh air and physical work made my eyes feel heavy and my body pleasantly achy and I decided to head to bed early for what I knew was going to be a sound nights sleep. 


Looking back, those first 24 hours were a total reality shock. All my question on what working on a yacht would be like were answered and I must say there were many positives. Although my bed was small it was comfortable and the physical work certainly meant I slept well. The ensuite, although shared and small, worked really well after we developed a routine between us. The food was incredible. Furthermore, the endless supply of fragrant toiletries and products was a great luxury and I never tired of choosing them. As a crew member I was certainly very well looked after, living in this relatively confined space with 16 other people. 


Those 24 hours were also a complete eye opener to the nature of the work and a far cry from the photos that I had seen on a friend’s Facebook entries some four months earlier. The work was at times mundane, repetitive and had to be done in a specific way and to a very high standard. I had to learn to accept being told what to do and to take on board regular feedback from the mistakes made. 


However, as with any new job, those initial weeks where you feel rather a spare part and a hindrance and question why you left your comfortable existence, slowly fade as you take on more responsibility and work becomes second nature. 


There were times in those initial two weeks where I seriously considered returning home, back to the comfortable surroundings and a world where I was in control and knew my trade. However pride, stubbornness and a fear of failure kept me there and made me work hard. I knew there would be better times and I was right to believe this.


Never could I have known where these two weeks experience would lead me. Without a doubt this was my springboard to launch me into the world of super yachts. It provided me with all the essential skills I needed for my CV and I was so fortunate to be part of a yacht that trained me so well with such a competent crew. 


Little did I know, as I stepped off this yacht at the end of my time, that in just four weeks I would be stepping onto another yacht to become my home for over two years and take me to some of the most incredible places on earth.  

 

More information is available in my book "Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide" BUY NOW



Starting work on a super yacht...

This is the first part of a two part blog, detailing my experience of my first 24 hours working on a super yacht. I hope you find informative and provides a useful insight into life on a yacht.

More information is available in my book "Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide" CLICK HERE


The morning was fresh as I stepped out of the crew house with all my belongings crammed into my rucksack weighing heavy on my back. I made my way to Antibes station where I caught a train filled with commuters. I was heading for Genoa, a large mainly industrial port in Italy where a 54 meter yacht, which hires for over £300,000 per week, had offered me two weeks work. 


Sitting on the train, I watched the beautiful coastline of the Cote D’Azur pass by as it hugged the coast and entered Italy, passing beautiful homes and small coves overlooking the electric blue Mediterranean Sea basking in bright sunlight. Looking at the view I felt more relaxed, knowing I have paid work for two weeks which will help me gain some much needed experience to build my CV to help secure that so far elusive permanent job.


Leaving the train at Genoa, I catch a taxi to the port. The taxi pulls up at the dock and before me lies a stretch of super yachts glistening in the now afternoon sun. 


I find the yacht and press the intercom system rigged at the end of the passerale. The buzzer rings and a polite girl answers. I savour what I know will be the last few moments of time on my own before I  join the 16 full time crew I am to live and work with. 


I am given a friendly welcome, advised to remove my shoes and step on-board...my first stride into the world of the super wealthy. I am led on board where the golden teak has a pleasant warmth underfoot and the glistening paintwork and railings sparkle like something from a fairy tale. There is an air of cleanliness on board, like a house after its annual spring clean. I am led to the back of the yacht, along the side, through a door, down some narrow steps and into the more humble living area of the crew mess. The crew are watching TV and I am introduced to them all. I take in their names, believing I have stored these in my mind, only to realise that on shaking hands and thinking what to ask them next, I have not remembered one name. 


I am taken to my room via a narrow corridor lit with bright lights with numerous doors leading off and into a small room with three bunk beds. On top of my bed is a selection of uniform, two towels and bed sheets. I am shown my cupboard, consisting of a small hanging space and two shelves. The top bunk is to be mine which 20 years ago I would have argued over with my brother. Now I look on the practical side realising how hard it will be to go to toilet at night without stepping on the person below. The room has a small ensuite, with shower, toilet and basin. I try the shower, expecting a trickle of water, but am greeted with a powerful spray that splashes me and the surrounding floor. There are two small portholes, one in the ensuite and one in the bedroom, which provide a small amount of natural light and look out onto the neighbouring yacht and bluey green murky industrial water below. 


I unpack and go to the crew mess to meet the crew who all seem friendly and encourage me to help myself to dinner. The meal is delicious and sheer luxury after three weeks living on pasta and sauce. I am shown around the crew quarters and taken in the toiletries cupboard (a haven of the latest Lynx fragrance shower gels, top of the range Mach 3 Gillette razors and a host of other essentials to cater for any high maintenance grooming requirements)! I am told to help myself to whatever I choose; sheer luxury, and I spend a moment pondering which shower gel fragrance to opt for this time…
I am also told I can help myself to anything from the crew fridge and snack cupboard which resembles a mini candy and chocolate store crammed full. My eyes widen and stomach leaps with excitement as I glance at the extensive selection of treats. 


I am also shown the crew entertainment system on the television and full Sky television which includes English channels as well as a stored library of almost every film I ever knew existed, all available at the press of a button. I am strangely pleased to see English television, I feel closer to home again.


Having sat in the crew mess for a few hours exchanging pleasantries whilst trying to watch the film, I decide to head to bed as the mornings early start and new experiences weigh heavy on my eyes. 
I clamber onto the top bunk knocking my head in the process, a habit that will happen several times this week before I adjust to the restricted head room. I get into the clean sheets I made up some four hours previously and note that I am unable to sit up due to the lack of head room. I lie there, flick on the reading light, set my alarm and get ready to spend my first night on board.


The first night is an experience in itself. Lying there trying to sleep I mull over the change in my life in a relatively short space of time. There is a part of me excited at the future, but another part of me feeling wholly unsettled and unsure if this is the right thing to be doing in my late twenties. The thought of sharing my living space, room and essentially my life with these people makes me feel unsure and unsettled and I am wholly aware of how close the living quarters are and the little time and space there will be for myself. As someone who loves the company of others but relishes his own space, I am concerned this will be hard to settle in to.  I shut my eyes and notice the relatively subtle hum of the yachts air conditioning system and the crew mess TV in the background, accentuating every explosion Bruce Willis sets off during the Die Hard film. I gradually drift off to these noises. 
I would like to say I awake to the sound of my alarm, but my sleep is disturbed by shutting doors in the crew area as others retire to their cabin. I am also woken each time I turn over, the bed being just wider than me, so turning becomes more of an art than ever before and I learn to sleep in an almost pencil-like formation, my days of “star fishing” in bed are now behind me.

 

... Coming next... My First Working Day on a Super Yacht...

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What is dock walking?

Dock Walking: My Personal Account of Dock Walking.

What is dock walking?


Dock walking is the process of walking along a dock, approaching a yacht, speaking with the crew with the aim of securing; day work, permanent work or to leave them with your CV.

 

For me this proved to be one of the most nerve wracking processes in finding work.


Monday morning 0630, I wake early in anticipation of the day ahead. I am living in a crew house with numerous other ‘wannabe’ super yacht crew all eagerly trying to secure a job, all competing for the same work on a limited number of yachts. I rise early to be the first in the shower for my first day walking the docks of Antibes. Presentation is important in this industry and my clothes are ironed and laid out the night before. I shower, shave and eat breakfast, my appetite is low as my nerves fill my stomach with a certain unease. I pack my bag with the essentials, sun cream and water, before leaving the crew house armed with a selection of recently printed CV’s and references in a neat plastic folder. I want to be the first out of the crew house and onto the dock in the hope of catching any early crew out on deck. 


It is a beautifully fresh morning and the salty smell of the sea lingers in the calm air that surrounds the small cobbled streets of Antibes. The sun is about to rise and the sky is clear with white aeroplane trails scarring the blue backdrop. There is a coolness in the air indicating an approach to Autumn. Leaving the cobbled streets I am greeted with a vast selection of yachts with the backdrop of a beautiful golden fort that overlooks the harbour of Antibes. The rising sun accentuates the golden colour of the fort. As I walk along the dockside a scavenging sea gull scurries into a hedge dragging some left over pizza from a torn bin bag. The water is calm and the town empty, it is 0730, the port is quiet. 


I walk towards the International Dock which is the main dock, home to some of the largest super yachts in the world and pass the more modest yachts which by standards at home are still very impressive. My anxiety is growing as I approach the entrance, my heart races faster and my fears of rejection grow with every step. I pass the security barrier through an open gate looking like a boy about to embark on his first day at school, with rucksack, clean ironed clothes and carrying a folder of CV’s. I certainly look like a novice. As I enter the International Dock I am greeted by a large yacht with the large letters ‘D I L B A R’ in gleaming silver. The reflection of the water glistens on the yacht’s hull with the bow stretching way off into the distance. My heart beats rapidly and I almost try to convince myself that it is not a good day to dock walk: I will try tomorrow, it will be easier then… I know I must continue. 


Sitting on the dock there is no-one around bar the security guard and he looks wholly uninterested in my intentions. I sit by a flower bed that overlooks the vast stretch of yachts all moored stern to dock. I struggle to comprehend the change in worlds I am experiencing in just two days. Two days ago I was working in an office watching the rain falling outside on a busy road… now I sit, unemployed, admiring these incredible yachts, with the blue sea and sky and the back drop of the old golden fort. 


Slowly more dock walkers appear, some look highly experienced, walking with a certain confidence. Some I talk with politely and briefly though others are focused purely on the yachts and walk past without so much as an acknowledgement.


It is 0745 and I decide to walk to the opposite end and begin my walk from the far end, hoping to catch crews before they are disturbed by the other dock walkers. The larger yachts are at the beginning so I assume these will draw the most dock-walkers so I opt for the smaller yachts first (still over 60 meters in length). As I walk along the atmosphere starts coming alive with deck crew appearing from side doors and walking down the sides of the yacht. On the yacht next to me I notice a crew member (a moment I have long been anticipating) and my anxiety steps up another notch. I can feel my heart beating and blood pulsing around my body, a feeling I have not experienced since standing to do a best man’s speech the month before. My mouth dries and I sweat as I approach the first yacht. The crew member appears to look at me, I think I have caught his attention. I smile, before he looks down and heads to the second deck to raise a flag. I am sure he noticed me but my polite English disposition stops me disturbing him and I convince myself they must be fully crewed and should therefore look elsewhere. As I walk away, I realise I have failed at the first hurdle in my search. With my disappointment building my heart rate eases a little and I continue along the dock, determined not to succumb to fear at the next one. I vow this will be the only yacht I do not approach ….a new beginning.


I approach the third yacht with grit and determination to find someone also putting out the flag and call up “are you looking for crew?” He looks down, smiles and informs me they are fully staffed. Although a rejection I feel an enormous sense of achievement. I have overcome my fear of asking for work and feel better equipped to start my search. 


That morning I managed to talk to crew on five different yachts. Walking back to the crew house I felt more confident than I did starting out that morning and felt pleased to have given some CV’s. I had completed my first mornings dock walking though many more lay ahead. 


My dock walking skills improved with practice and it took about a week to feel more confident. I became slicker at asking if day work or crew were needed, and managed to leave more CV’s and references even if they were not looking for crew at that time. I always tried to have a polite conversation before leaving, hoping to develop some rapport which I hoped would help me stand out from the crowd. I was delighted to find crews surprisingly helpful and welcoming. The reality is that most crews will have endured the process of dock walking themselves and know it is a necessary part of finding work, so empathise and help where they can. 


My dock walking took me to many ports including Antibes, Cannes, Monaco, Nice and St Tropez, finding the best were Antibes and Monaco. I spent many hours and walked miles of docks handing out CV’s and speaking to many crew. At times it did become disheartening when no leads came from my efforts. I always tried to remain positive and keep moving forward though it was difficult at times. I knew the clock was rapidly ticking, drawing a close to the end of another season when the yachts would start leaving the Mediterranean for the Caribbean. 


However, the hard work, persistence and patience eventually paid off. I obtained day work on two yachts which helped build my CV making me far more employable. 


Without realising it my quest for employment was coming to an end as I approached a yacht soon after it docked late one afternoon. My normal routine of enquiries followed with polite pleasantries while handing the crew member my CV. He asked about my qualifications and seemed disappointed I did not have a Yacht Masters certificate, informing me the Captain only employed deck crew with this qualification. I left disappointed as the yacht had an interesting itinerary and the crew seemed really friendly. The following morning on passing the same yacht the crew member called me over and offered me day work. This progressed from one days work to a week which lead to a trial period, and finally onto permanent work. All from that one fateful day speaking and handing my CV to that one member of staff.


It is such an incredible feeling achieving a job on a super yacht, completely off your own back after hours and hours of searching. Walking onto that yacht with all my possessions, from dock walker to full time crew member, was a day that filled me with great pride. Coming from an office job just two months earlier and stepping on board to start a new life working on one of the top charter super yachts in the world, was a moment in my life I will always remember and I felt a huge sense of achievement. 


Looking back, the dock walking was the most nerve wracking part of the job-finding process. It did get notably better with time and practice once I had overcome the fear and really did get easier… I promise. 


I wish you the very best of luck with this experience. Don’t be timid, go for every yacht and seize every opportunity presented to you. Try to embrace any fear, for it is often the things that make us feel uncomfortable, fearful or nervous that can lead to some of the most exciting changes and opportunities in your life… 


…you never know, that the one CV you hand to that one crew member could change the direction of your job search, put your dock walking days behind you and take your life to a whole new exciting adventure. 

 Written by Ben Proctor.

Ben Proctor has also written a comprehensive guide to help people thinking of a career on a super yacht, which is an essential read for anyone thinking of a career on a super yacht.

For more information read "Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide" by Ben Proctor

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To attract good luck to oneself, it is necessary to take advantage or opportunities
— George S. Glason

Deciding whether to work on a yacht

Deciding to Work on a Super Yacht?

Prior to leaving England on that cold wet day in September and embarking on my new adventure I spent a year considering the idea of working on a super yacht. I even spent a week in the South of France, chatting to yacht crews and others looking for work, all to help me decide if this was something I wanted to do. I vividly remember sitting on a beach in Antibes just off the harbour, writing out what seemed like an endless list of pros and cons…


The main problem with making the decision was that I seemed to have two voices in my head. One I called “Mr Sensible” and the other “Mr Adventurous” - both seemed equally logical and plausible depending on my mood, and were often influenced by the people I was surrounded by.

 
Mr Sensible would regularly tell me “you are in a well-paid secure job, have a nice apartment and all your friends around you. Why risk it all to work in an industry you have not experienced, to live in a small cabin, sharing with others, away from loved ones and may never even get a job on a yacht.” All plausible reasons which moved the reality of my super yacht adventure further away. 


The other side was Mr Adventurous, whose approach was much more exciting, maybe more risky but equally appealing. He would regularly say, “why stay in a job you don’t like, while you have no commitments… explore the world, travel, have new experiences, save more money than you possibly could in your current job, meet new people, L  I  V  E!!!”


Both would present highly convincing cases and my mind, for that year, felt like a high court case with the defendant and prosecution fighting to win. My mind was the jury.


Those I talked with also influenced my decision. My parents naturally opted for the safe and secure option, to stay in my current job, which was a sensible idea and a highly credible option. My friends encouraged me to “go, go, go” “what have you to lose”. They would see more of the fun side of the adventure (travel, hot climates) and they all added support to Mr Adventurous.


I spent a week in France to help my decision and on arriving back in the UK headed straight to my work place. I met with my boss and told him my thoughts. On discussing my options he rightly said “what have you to lose.” With no dependents, mortgage or ties he encouraged me to make the most of the opportunity He also reassured me my job would be there for me should things not work out. With that in mind I spoke to my family, who agreed with his sentiments and were equally encouraging. I realised where my heart lay and that I had a deep routed desire to give the super yacht world my best shot, stepping out of my comfort zone (something that I had not done for a long time) and challenge myself on this exciting yet unknown new path. 


The decision was made, the jury in my mind quietened and a calmness came over me before the magnitude of my undertaking dawned on me. My mind buzzed with excitement, so much to sort and plan before leaving, courses to attend and tasks to complete, the first being my letter of resignation… this was really happening!


I handed in my notice the following morning giving four weeks notice. The month flew by and before I knew it I was sat on the tarmac at Bristol Airport in an Easyjet plane bound for Nice in the South of France.


I wish I could say I never regretted the decision but there were times when I did, on that plane, on first entering my crew dormitory, my first dock walk and many other occasions when Mr Sensible would question, “what are you doing?”  I did have moments when I wondered if I had made the right decision; with people telling me how hard it was to get work and how I had left it too late to come to France. However, looking back on the whole experience it was certainly not the wrong decision and it has provided me with so many opportunities and memories that would never have happened had I not decided to take the big step that turned my career and life in a completely new direction.


Decisions at times can be very testing, and it is hard not to be influenced by the views of others, or the need to impress and please. Sometimes the easy decision is not necessarily the right one, leaving us stale and uninspired. It may seem more comfortable, certainly easier, though may not always bring happiness. Often the harder one may be worth making, taking you a little further out your comfort zone than you are comfortable with.
The power of one decision over another can have enormous consequences and change the path of your life in so many ways. I often wonder how my life would have been had I not chosen to take the chance of this great opportunity. It is hard to say, but I am sure it would not have included as many incredible sights, beautiful beaches, ports and towns, glorious sunsets and sun rises looking out over the sea, captivating wildlife, making friends and memories to last a life time. 


I hope that in my twilight years I will remember some of the incredible moments from my time working on a super yacht and the happy memories and experiences gained. As for my office job… well I think I will have enough to relive without dwelling on this. 


There is only one life and I sometimes feel we trade too easily our memories and moments at the expense of a pay cheque. Remembering time is finite and the need to appreciate every moment of each day may just help to create a future and past that you can look on with fondness and happiness.


Make the right decision; live, love, see, feel…enjoy a life you want to live and create your future as you want it. 

Next blog: Dockwalking

Written by Ben Proctor
For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor 
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Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become
— Steve Jobs
People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost
— Dalai Lama


Difference between a millionaire and billionaire?

Understanding the Super Wealthy

What is the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire? 

I always found it difficult to comprehend the wealth of the owners and those chartering these yachts. Looking online I found some useful everyday comparisons which show the incredible leap from millionaire to billionaire, way higher than I ever imaged.


Hopefully you will find the below examples useful in helping understand the super wealthy and appreciating the level of wealth of some you may meet.


A million:


•    One million is a thousand thousands.
•    One million is a 1 with six zeros after it, denoted by 1,000,000.
•    One million seconds is about 11 and a half days.
•    One million pennies stacked on top of each other would make a tower nearly a mile high.
•    If you earn $45,000 a year, it would take 22 years to amass a fortune of one million dollars.
•    One million ants would weigh a little over six pounds.
•    One million dollars divided evenly among the U.S. population would mean everyone in the United States would receive about one third of one cent.

A billion:


•    One billion is a thousand millions.
•    One billion is a 1 with nine zeros after it, denoted by 1,000,000,000.
•    One billion seconds is about 31 and a half years.
•    One billion pennies stacked on top of each other would make a tower almost 870 miles high.
•    If you earn $45,000 a year, it would take 22,000 years to amass a fortune of one billion dollars.
•    One billion ants would weight over 3 tons - a little less than the weight of an elephant.
•    One billion dollars divided equally among the U.S. population would mean that everyone in the United States would receive about $3.33.

Quite a sharp difference, so when talking about millions to run a yacht, for a billionaire this is relative pocket money in comparison.

Next Blog: Deciding whether to work on a super yacht...

Written by Ben Proctor


For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor 
BUY NOW or CLICK HERE

Super Yachts Helping the Economy?

Super Yachts and the Economy

Are Super Yachts Bad?

I was at a social event recently when the conversation came around to my work in the super yacht world. Much to my surprise I was abruptly given the person’s view on these yachts and dutifully told how obscene was the waste of money and how wrong it was that these yachts were allowed to exist.


To be honest this was a view I shared when I started work, but I began to see the other side on experiencing this life and meeting people in the industry. 


Yes, the wealth needed to run a super yacht is hard to comprehend and of course there are so many worthy causes that could be helped from what it costs to keep one running. However they provide work to so many. 


These yachts have saved many ship yards from bankruptcy as commercial work dried up, with many facing certain closure. The industry has provided new seeds of hope and as it has grown has created a booming industry for ship yards and skilled labour alike. 


It has allowed small businesses to grow and support massive networks of people and families, giving people the chance to create a business from scratch and build it into something the owner can be proud of. I met many people who had developed a small family business to cater for the large super yacht industry, with a growing number of employees. 


These yachts provide generous incomes for the crew which can provide, even the most junior crew, with the opportunity to save for a more financially secure future. I managed to save enough money to secure a sizable deposit for a house, helping me achieve a foot on the property ladder, which before my time away was proving too difficult. 


Also the yachts run numerous charity events. There would often be donations at the end of yacht shows, where crews and yachts would give generous donations to excellent local causes. Often crews would set up challenges on-board such as using a rowing machine for the entire duration of an Atlantic crossing, “rowing the Atlantic”, raising lots for charity. On top of this charity work is the incredible charity project that some of the super wealthy run, a well know one being the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation http://www.gatesfoundation.org/ and The Giving Pledge  http://givingpledge.org/ 


Many yachts are now working to offset some of their carbon footprint by providing generous donations to support green projects to help counter CO2 level rises and renewable energy sources around the world.


The number of lives that these yachts have changed in a positive way is vast and this list is by no means exhaustive, but I hope from looking at the other side you can appreciate the immensely positive aspect to these yachts and the benefits they can have on many peoples lives all around the world. It has been reported that up to $250,000 can be injected into the local economy by guests and crew on a single visit from a super yacht…and that has surely got to be a good thing.

Next Blog: The difference between and Millionaire and a Billionaire.

Written by Ben Proctor
For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor 
BUY NOW or CLICK HERE

What does it cost to run a super yacht?

The Cost of Running a Super Yacht


Figures within the super yacht industry are hard to comprehend. Below is a guide that will give you an introduction into the world you could soon be entering.


Fuel:
I always found it hard to come to terms with the cost of the fuel used by these huge vessels. As an approximate guide a yacht of 70 meters will consume about 500 litres of diesel an hour when the engines are running but not moving! The cost of a yacht moving will be approximately £2,000 an hour to achieve cruising of around 18 knots. With this in mind the average overnight cruise of 12 hours could cost around £24,000 (this will be significantly higher for the larger yachts). 


Berthing:
Berthing is certainly no cheap feat. Some top ports charge €2,000-€3,000 per night. The six most expensive are 1) Capri, Italy 2) Porto Cervo, Italy 3) Portofino, Italy 4) Ibiza Magna, Ibiza 5) St Tropez, France 6) Port Hercule, Monaco. The mooring cost is normally based on the yacht’s size and popular ports are booked months in advance in peak season. A yacht also needs to be moored when on standby. Ports such as Antibes charge up to €2,000 per night, or renting a permanent dock here (as some owners do) costs hundreds of thousands. If like Roman Abramovich you build one of the biggest super yachts in the world, it is then difficult to actually find a port that can accommodate this size. At one stage it was reported he was to pay to have a dock extended, however he eventually found a couple of ports that could take it. 


Crew:
Captains salaries alone can exceed €20, 000 per month, and some chief engineers may earn €10, 000 per month …very quickly vast funds mount up just to keep the yacht fully crewed. Wage bills of €100,000 per month are not uncommon on the larger yachts. As well as the crew on board there may also be shore based crew, managing agents, financial staff etc. to add to this figure. There is also the cost of providing food, toiletries and all living requirements for the crew. Feeding 50 people on a daily basis is no cheap undertaking.


Servicing:
The servicing costs of these yachts are huge. Lifting them out the water is not cheap and to service these technological advanced super structures and engines there is a hefty price tag. Servicing costs for the larger yachts easily run into millions of pounds annually. 


Super Yacht Toys:
Add to all these costs the need for the latest toys and gadgets on board. 
The best looking, most advanced tenders are frequently custom built and often exceed the £1 million bracket. Coupled with the essential need for the latest jet skis, helicopters, submarines, diving equipment and numerous other toys to make your yacht complete.


Safety and Security:
Attacks from pirates is a growing threat and owners are all to weary of ensuring their pride possession is not held ransom in foreign waters. Equipment such as lasers that can cause temporary loss of vision cost some €70,000 from SeaLase and demand for their product is reportedly growing. Another product is the $450,000 "SeaOwl" tracking system, which combines radar and infrared or thermal cameras to detect incoming threats as far as five kilometers away. On top of these are the panic rooms, anti-paparazzi shields and armed security staff.


To cover the running and maintenance costs of a super yacht it is recommended that some 10-12% of the purchase cost is allowed. Therefore a £50 million yacht is likely to cost around £5 million a year to run and maintain. The largest yachts have been reported to be costing their owners over €50 million a year. 


It has been estimated that the average yacht is used for some three to five weeks a year, so justifying such a purchase to your accountant as a sound financial investment may prove difficult!


With costs like this it is easy to see why some of these yachts are hired for over £1 million a week by guests. Such a cost in the grand scheme of owning a yacht could almost be deemed value for money. Chartering the yacht also provides some income to those owners not using theirs on a regular basis.


Owning a super yacht must be one of the ultimate distinguishing marks of achievement that money can buy, but once purchased it can be seen that the costs will continue into the millions to run and maintain one.

Below is a brilliant illustration by Towergate Insurance that highlights brilliantly some of the costs

Image Courtesy of Towergate Insurance

Image Courtesy of Towergate Insurance

Next blog: The cost of super yachts....does this make them bad...?

Written by Ben Proctor

For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor
BUY NOW or CLICK HERE

Top 3 low points of my time working on a yacht

My Top Three Lows of Working on a Super Yacht.


1)    Christmas.


I always found this a difficult time to be away from home and believe most crew would agree. One especially stands out… Christmas morning 2011 on a crossing from St Maarten to St Barts, a call came over the radio for a deck crew member to go to the bridge deck. Hoping it may be a Christmas treat I rush up only to be greeted by a large area of vomit on the yachts pristine teak decking. I clean the deck, scrubbing and rinsing down, while the yacht gently lurches from side to side, spreading what was already a sizeable area into an even larger one. Rinsing it down I feel a small sense of satisfaction as I near the end of this less than appealing task, only to notice in the scuppers (the drains around the side of the decks) that some of the larger chunks are too big to enter the drains. With plastic gloves, kneeling and clearing chunks of vomit, I decide this is not one of the high points in my life. 

2)    Missing my brother’s first child being born. 


I was delighted to hear that the baby had been born safely but it was difficult not being there for my first niece coming back to our family home with everyone there. Having met her three months later it was clear she would have no idea who was around at the time of her birth. However it is one of those special events to share with your brother and be a part of. My sister-in-law reassured me I was seeing her at a much more interesting stage three months later which was of some comfort. It was always one of the things I found hard to accept, putting the yacht, an innate object, ahead of family and friends, controlling your life. I also missed close friends’ weddings when we had guests on board and were not permitted leave. It is one of the sacrifices that comes with the job and though I learnt to accept found it very difficult. For many crew it is the one thing that pushes them away from this industry.


3)    Working hard on a charter and not receiving a guest tip. 


This sounds very spoilt and ungrateful, and I nearly omitted it here as so many people do incredible jobs with no tips and deserve them more than we as crew ever did. However I wanted this to be honest so included it being a genuinely low point for us all, despite working the hardest and longest hours of any prior trip. For one reason or another we did not receive a tip. It sounds awful but money does become a big part of life working on a yacht, probably too big, with some putting money above everything else. But the rewards compensate for the hard work, long hours and sacrifices made and becomes that carrot at the end of a stick making up for the less appealing side of the job. These three weeks were hard work and to make matters worse it was over Christmas and New Year, a time when we all wanted to be at home with loved ones. In reality we had been anticipating something in the region of £4000-£5000 but it never materialised. This had a really bad effect on crew morale and relationships, and people started blaming others for not getting the expected reward. I feel guilty to say but this was one of the low points, especially when there are far more significant problems in the world and others doing such worthy works without financial incentives…maybe it just shows what a focus money had become to us all.

Next Blog... The cost of owning a super yacht

Written by Ben Proctor

For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor 
BUY NOW or CLICK HERE


Christmas on a Super Yacht

Christmas on a Super Yacht.


I always found it difficult being away from home for Christmas. You are likely to be in a hot climate (Caribbean or Florida) and having grown up in England, experiencing Christmas in the heat for me is not right, let alone seeing an inflatable snowman bobbing away on a Caribbean beach with temperatures of 35 degrees. It just doesn’t seem to have the same kind of magic… 
Then comes the fact that you are away from home and for me and the crews I worked with, no other time made you feel so far away and miss your loved ones so much. There is something about Christmas, the magic of leaving work on Christmas Eve, driving back to your family, catching up with loved ones, sharing presents and laughter and relaxing around those dear to you (and yes, watching the same episodes of Only Fools and Horses and the Queens speech.)
Christmas and New Year are very popular times for guests and owners to use their yachts, so it is often a very busy time on board – no relaxing in a beach club drinking rum punches with the crystal clear Caribbean water lapping at your feet.


The reality of Christmas on a super yacht is not all bad though. For most crew and certainly those I worked with Christmas was celebrated a week or two earlier. From my personal experience this would consist of an incredible roast dinner, not only roast turkey, but beef and ham, with every trimming you could imagine. This would be eaten outside on the second deck around the main guest table, looking out onto the glorious bright blue sea over the distant hills of St Maarten in the Caribbean. The deck would be filled with chatter, laughter and the sounds of Slade and Band Aid playing through the air. Alcohol would flow, wines and beers all provided by the yacht would lap on top of your ever expanding waist line as you indulged in this glorious feast. An incredible selection of puddings would follow with Christmas pudding and chocolate log among the favourites. 


Following this one of the crew would dress as Santa and give out the presents from the yacht. Often thoughtful gifts such as shorts, swimwear, t-shirts, flip flops and even once a voucher from a local gentleman’s club nearby. A kind gesture which was always gratefully received. Many also provide an additional months salary (those I worked on did) and this was an extra generous gift. 


I also heard stories of crew being given jewellery, watches (Omega and Rolex for those lucky ones) and iPads. These more lavish gifts were often given to crew on private yachts where they became better acquainted with their owners, spending longer times together on board.
After this over indulgence and festive cheer we would go to a local bar for a few rum punches and Caribbean cocktails - drinking and dancing until the early hours. We all knew that this was likely to be our last drinking session for a while as our preparation for the guests arrival would soon start.


The organising for the guests arrival would generally start a couple of weeks beforehand. We always felt we had so much time to get everything done, but it was amazing how quickly the days flew by and we often ended up working longer hours to ensure everything was completed. Duties included washing and drying the entire yacht, cleaning all stainless steel and masts, polishing all the windows and name plates, as well as loading crew and guest supplies for the coming weeks. It was a busy time but everyone pulled together. On falling into bed I would browse Facebook and see the exciting flurries of posts and photos of people back home with loved ones, on country walks, in the pub, wrapped up warm, and together. 


I would always try to call home before guests arrived on Christmas Eve because once there your time was their time, so it did not give you the luxury of personal space. This contact home was one of the things I loved to do, but at the same time it also pulled on the heart strings that bit more. It was always lovely to hear their voices and see them on skype and certainly while speaking you felt that bit closer… but this soon ended upon hanging up. My mother would often try to hide her emotions on the other end but it was always clear and moving to hear the break in her voice as we wished each other a happy Christmas and sent our love before we ended the call. 


The guests would often arrive in a selection of mini bus vans with the principle guests in blacked out Mercedes. As soon as the cars drove along the dock we switched into work mode. Christmas Eve was here but not in the true sense of home. We would welcome guests with a cheerful smile and eagerness to help. 


Christmas day would arrive to an early start, a quick shower and up on deck to start a list of duties before guests surfaced. Behind the scenes in crew areas there was always a slightly subdued atmosphere being Christmas day, an unspoken loneliness away from loved ones, while in front of guests we covered up our emotions with our eager to help cheerful faces. The day would come and go, and to be honest, for us deck crew, it felt much like any normal day of the year on charter, working 12-16 hours. I always enjoyed getting to bed knowing that another Christmas had passed.


Each Christmas I vowed would be my last, but with time you forgot how it felt being away from home and before you knew it another one was fast approaching.  These times did not get any easier, regretfully they seemed to get only harder.


It is a strange time being away but I felt very fortunate to be living in such good conditions and being looked after so well. Many peoples’ jobs force them away for Christmas, working in far worse conditions with less access to speak to loved ones - so in that respect I felt very lucky. We were always well looked after and the yacht’s management did their best to provide us with some form of Christmas celebration. But for me Christmas was and always would be the hardest time and the furthest I ever felt away from home, family and friends. 


However, looking back I appreciate my time away at this period as it has made me appreciate those I love and how very precious time is when with them. So if you do ever spend Christmas away, just know that your next one at home will feel all the richer.  

Next blog... Top 3 lows of my time on a super yacht.

Written by Ben Proctor

For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor 
BUY NOW or CLICK HERE

The top three highlights of my time on a super yacht

My Top 3 Highs of Working on a Super Yacht


1)    Watching dolphins bow riding the yacht’s wake.
 
Being out in the vastness of the sea and hearing the call on our radios that dolphins were around always brought a sense of urgency and excitement to the crew, even the more salty sea dogs. Watching these incredible creatures bow riding the waves with such effortless ease and grace, darting left and right, diving deeper and then breaching the white wash, was always an incredible sight. Their almost human-like facial expressions and deep dark eyes would captivate us whilst they graced us with their presence. It is a picture that I often think of and will stay with me as one of those very special life moments.

2)    Time on deck alone when underway. 

I worked with some incredible crew and am not a social recluse, however living with people in relatively close living quarters, to have time on your own can be magic. Some of my highlights were leaving the South of France en route to Corsica when on anchor duty and we left our anchor spot. The foredeck was empty and on the horizon sat the most perfect golden sun as it slowly descended. I had wind in my face and the sound of the yacht’s bow slicing through the waves. As I sat there I savoured every moment as the sun drew a close to another day. 

There were also times when I would sit on the top deck (it had three) and watch the sun set over the vast expanse of white wash created by the yacht. From this elevation it felt as though I had a bird’s eye view over its wake and the distant horizon and sunset. 

Other memorable times were standing just outside the bridge on the many night passages of an Atlantic Ocean crossing, hearing the waves running along the side and looking up to the most brilliant stars I have ever seen. This was an incredible spectacle, making me appreciate not only the vastness of the world but the incredible simplistic beauty that lies around us, something we so often take for granted. 

These were all magical moments experienced from incredible surroundings of the yacht, taking me to some of the most wonderful, and at times most peaceful places in the world.

3)    Swimming with turtles. 

This was a childhood dream for me and something I had always wanted to do having seen one in an aquarium. One of my crew located the turtles who seemed to be attracted to a some underwater grass. I first heard a chewing noise before seeing the dark figure on the sea bed. Slowly approaching the turtle I hovered above. He seemed weary of me but not scared and the distance between us seemed to provide him some comfort. Chewing the sea grass he would regularly twist his long aged neck to look at me as though checking out my intentions. I pushed my luck and dived down for a closer look and as the water flowed into my snorkel it made a bubbling noise causing the turtle to look up, and with a big swish of its large front legs it shot off. I followed, kicking my legs and flippers as hard as I could, but it glided away with such grace, effortlessly moving through the water. I kicked as hard as I could until I could hold my breath no more…as I came to the surface I saw the dark figure glide into the even darker abyss. It was an incredible sight to witness a turtle in its natural environment, this prehistoric looking creature that appears so well suited to living at sea but cumbersome when waddling up the beach.

I feel very fortunate to have witnessed so much wildlife during my time away, such an incredibly positive element to the whole experience and one I truly relished.
Whilst planning to only choose my top three experiences I felt I could not fail to mention some of the memories I made from time spent with my crew. Working closely with people in such an intimate way is a challenge for anyone and I was always so lucky with those I was fortunate to work with. There is certainly a mundane element to some of this work, cleaning a yacht can wear thin, but so often we would have some of the best laughs during these more mundane times. There was certainly a great camaraderie and banter. We had some fantastic meals out as a crew, went to several lovely beach clubs, spent some amazing days exploring new and exciting places and experienced many highs and lows together. It can at times be challenging and there will be disagreements, but it is people that make daily life more interesting and fulfilling, and working together in such close proximity has far more positives than negatives. I have some very happy memories and know they would not shine so brightly were it not for the fantastic crew I shared so many of these experiences with.


Next Blog: Christmas on a super yacht

Written by Ben Proctor

For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor 
BUY NOW or CLICK HERE


Working on a yacht in the Pacific

Working on a Super Yacht in the Pacific

This area is growing in popularity with super yachts as guests seek ever more exciting destinations to visit and a change from the more standard Caribbean and Mediterranean seasons. It provides an incredible travel opportunity should you be fortunate to be on a yacht heading to the Pacific.

Below is a brief summary:


-    This is where most yacht crew hope their yacht will take them! This is becoming more popular as owners and guest seek new experiences and adventures. Generally the yachts head here after the Caribbean season in March/April via the Panama Canal.

-    The places that are visited could include Galapagos Islands, Pacific Islands (Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga) around May – September. Then onto New Zealand and Australia in November – May.

-    An incredible adventure awaits those crews fortunate to join a yacht considering this route, which unfortunately the yachts I worked on never venture here. I have been informed by other crew members I met that the Panama Canal is an incredible sight to witness an incredible demonstration of human engineering. The Galapagos Islands I have been told are incredible, one friend was lucky enough to see the islands by air on the yachts own helicopter. Exploring these areas all from a yacht adds to what must already be an incredible experience.

- Australia and New Zealand, both up and coming destinations for super yachts and an increasing number of yachts attend ship yards here, allowing crew to explore these incredible countries.

Next blog... my top 3 highs of my time in working on a yacht 

Written by Ben Proctor

For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor 
BUY NOW or CLICK HERE

Working on a yacht in the States

Working on a Super Yacht in the United States

A trip to United States of America is somewhere crew enjoy going and can provide a nice contrast from the Caribbean season. As very general rule yachts tend to head to Florida, which offers a great life style for crews on board. Good restaurants, big shopping malls and entertainment parks a car ride away. Time can also offer opportunities to explore the states more during time off as well as great port stops if you are lucky to places like New York, passing the Empire State on a super yacht was something I never did experience, but I hear it is a great way to view it.


Below are a few key highlights of such a season:
-     Some yachts may head directly to the States instead of the Caribbean from October onwards, while some will head to the States during the Caribbean season. 
-    The Fort Lauderdale International Yacht Show runs at the end of October to early November which draws some yachts.   
-    Generally yachts head to the East Coast to places like Florida or even New York. 
-    Some yachts will venture to the West Coast or even venture up to Alaska
-    Fort Lauderale in Florida offers a great place for crew down time with easy access to large amusement parks in Florida as well as great shopping malls for those so inclined. Cruising into New York and passing the Statue of Liberty on a super yacht is also a fantastic thing to experience. Venturing further afield offers some incredible scenary and wildlife to match.
-    America run very strict Visa requirements for people working in America, all yachts heading to these destinations will ensure each crew member has suitable visa in their passports (B1/B2 Visa). For those seeking work out here without a visa be warned that people have been deported for working without a visa, check the US Embassy website for the latest news.

More information on visa available from www.Dockwalk.com CLICK HERE  

Next blog: Working on a Super Yacht in The Pacific

Written by Ben Proctor

For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor 
BUY NOW or CLICK HERE

Working on a yacht in the Caribbean

Working on a Super Yacht in the Caribbean 
The Caribbean is all you could image; beautiful sandy beaches, glorious clear blue warm seas and lovely weather and along with this the great cocktails and the sound of Bob Marley filling the air. There is some lovely cruising to be had in the Caribbean and due to the size of the islands there is always a nice secluded bay you can anchor.

This season certainly has a more laid back atmosphere when compared to the Mediterranean season. Generally yachts are less manic during this time, although tend to be busy for Christmas and New Year times. St Bart’s remains a very popular location for super yachts to visit for New Year, drawing the rich and famous to this relatively small island. 
 
Days off for crew offer a great opportunities to explore the islands, find a secluded beach, sample the numerous delicious cocktails and the fun night life, participate with some great diving, game fishing or wonder the streets to enjoy some local delights. This season can be a really welcomed contrast to the Mediterranean season, however often crew find that by the end of the Caribbean season they are ready to leave, crews often missing the culture of Mediterranean, the variety it offers and the easier access for travel from Europe to the rest of Europe and around the world. It is without doubt a very exciting season to be a part of and I hold a lot of happy times from my times in the Caribbean. Some of my personal highlights included swimming with turtles, watching a mother dolphin and baby dolphin playing at the stern of the yacht, visiting Richard Branson’s small island just of Necker Island where there is a small sand island with a palm tree on it (unfortunately it is a fake palm tree, but looks very real when cruising by, see above picture), trips to lovely beach clubs with the crew, watching some incredible sun sets and enjoying many a good expresso martinis, strawberry daiquiri’s and rum punch’s which frequently lead to an array of what I felt were great dance moves, but my crew would most likely disagree with this… I hope in your time in yachting you get to experience this season and beautiful part of the world.
Below is a typical summary of the Caribbean season on a yacht.

-    Yachts head for the Caribbean from October onwards
-    The main docks for super yachts are Antigua and St Maarten where yachts will generally pick up guests and owners from. Sailing yacht crews may have a more diverse itinerary, exploring more of the Caribbean Islands and also participating in the many regattas around the islands. Common itinaries for all yachts include Antigua, St Maarten, St Barts, the British and US Virgin Isles, St Kitts and some venture off to the Bahamas.
-    The Antigua Yacht Show runs at the beginning of December and draws a large concentration of super yachts. There is a very good atmosphere in Antigua as it is the start of the season and yacht crews have generally had a good couple of weeks detox during the crossing, so spirits are high as people return to land based fun again and socialising. 
-    This season ends in April then most yachts head back to the Mediterranean. Yachts will often stopping in ship yards before the start of the start of the Mediterranean season. 
 
Next blog post Working on a Super Yacht in the United States of America

Written by Ben Proctor

For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor 
BUY NOW or CLICK HERE

Working on a yacht in the Mediterranean?

Working on a Super Yacht in the Mediterranean

Personally this was my favourite season! Europe offers such a diverse cultural experience and incredible places to see. The cruising in the Mediterranean is beautiful with some incredible ports from the small picturesque ports in Italy to some of the larger ports such as Monaco.

Portofino was one of my favourite stops in the Mediterranean but there are numerous others that hold a special magic to them.

I have outline a brief summary of a typical yacht season in the Mediterranean

Mediterranean Season
-    Runs from April to October
-    Main places for work Antibes, Palma, Majorca and also other ports along the south coast including Monaco and Cannes. 
-    Crew start looking for work March/April time. By April Antibes will be busy with new crew looking for work
-    The Monaco Yacht Show runs at the end of September and is a good time to secure day work. At this time of year you may also secure a position for a Trans-Atlantic crossing. 
-    The great this about this season is the variety of places you can get to visit and the incredible culture the Mediterranean offers. The Mediterranean is generally more expensive than the Caribbean so nights out meals out can cost more, but being that all your food is provided on-board this is not a significant negative. 
-    Often the Mediterranean season is the busiest of all the seasons with owners and charter guests alike. 
-    If based here for a winter ship yard period crews often head to the Alpes for ski-ing at the weekends. 
-    For those not from the EU you will need to source a Schengen Visa

In my next blog I will cover the Caribbean season, another great season that offers a more laid back atmosphere with a great cocktails and nightlife and some stunning beaches.

Written by Ben Proctor

For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor 
BUY NOW or CLICK HERE