‘Below Deck’: How to Get Score a Crew Position on a Superyacht
Shows like Below Deck and Below Deck Mediterranean thrust superyacht charter crew life into the spotlight. The nautical docudrama gives viewers a voyeuristic peek into what it is like to be a crew member on a superyacht, including the grueling 15 hour days.
Some viewers dream of living a life abroad a yacht like the crew members. Whether it is the love of the ocean or the love of the massive tips yachties receive, Below Deck is turning landlubbers into yachtie wannabes.
So what does it take to become part of a yacht crew in real life? Expert Vagabond has some tips and insights into a few simple steps prospective yachties can take to get on board.
Training all yachties should have
For the most part, you should be able to travel to one of the yachting hubs and have enough cash to live on until you can land the job on a yacht. Examples of yacht training locations are Fort Lauderdale, Florida, St. Maarten, and Palma de Mallorca.
New yachties will also need to be able to cover the costs of the training courses too. Yacht captains will look for crew to pass the STCW 2010 course, which costs about $1,000. It isn’t required, according to Expert Vagabond, but shows you are committed to yachting.
Other considerations include the ENG1, which is a seafarer medical certificate, plus earning specific licenses if you work on the deck team will give you a leg up when it comes to hiring.
Where are the jobs?
Yachting seasons change based on location. The winter season usually launches in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and typically tours the Caribbean. The infamous Fort Lauderdale Boat Show is held in October, which is the unofficial kick-off to the winter season.
Expert Vagabond recommends yachties complete the STCW course by September to be ready to work in October. However, if a crew job seems out of reach in South Florida by the time December rolls around, yachties can travel to English Harbour, Antigua or Simpson Bay, St. Maarten. Shorter-term charters may be options in those areas.
When summer hits, yachts travel to the Mediterranean or New England. Season in New England kicks off in April and in May in the Med. The big hub for yachting in the Med is Palma de Mallorca, Spain. For crew stateside, hit Newport, Rhode Island to score a job for the summer season in New England.
Also, before going to a new country, check your Visa and immigration status to ensure there are no problems. Typically Americans can get a three-month visa-free travel pass for Europe. Europeans usually receive six months in the United States.
Consider day work or going through an agency
One quick way to get work is to consider day work. Some crew will hire people to help with jobs like getting the boat extra clean or wherever the full-time crew needs some support. Day workers earn cash and can often land a full-time crew position going that route.
Also, yachties can go through a yacht crew agency. Expert Vagabond notes there are about 30 crew agencies between Palma and Ft. Lauderdale. But also a number of Facebook groups and social media job resources are available too.
If you plan to go through a crew agency, make sure you are neatly groomed, tattoos are covered and hair is neat and tidy before your interview.