Aim to look as neat and tidy and well-presented as possible; fashion statements are not appropriate, nor is the beach/surf vibe! This is a highly professional industry so show you understand that in your appearance. Nails should be clean and trimmed (that goes for guys too), hair should be tidy and make up should be very subtle, as should perfume. Some yachts in particular will not consider sheer fabric or too much skin on display to be appropriate and please do not even think of going to an interview - even with a Crew Agent - straight from the beach!
Please don’t! Any information regarding your yacht, guests and owners should be considered as highly confidential and this rule must be respected. Confidentiality for guests is sacrosanct and even a conversation in a bar overheard by the wrong person (read journalist) can break that rule and can even have legal implications. To paraphrase an old saying, loose lips lose jobs - don’t let it be you.
More and more yachts will request a drugs test before employment and will carry out random testing throughout the year. These can run the full gamut of tests up to hair follicle testing. Just say no!
Bringing Teddy, Paddington Bear or Winnie the Pooh with you is not a problem; however a live version would not be encouraged.
Despite current trends I’m afraid that a lot of the yachts do require their crew to be clean shaven. You will have to make that call!
Much though they may be popular in the outside world, visible tattoos could prevent you from getting a job on some yachts – although not all. If you do have bodyart – no matter how beautiful(!), come prepared to conceal it with tattoo coverup make up or ‘invisible’ tattoo plaster or sleeves which can be found at www.tattoocoverup.co.uk or www.tattoocamo.com
As for piercings – well, just remember that you’re not trying out for a part in the Pirates of the Caribbean – Johnny Depp has got that covered!
Bear in mind that crew cabins are relatively small and storage space is at a premium so it’s best to travel light – ideally with a squashy holdall rather than a rigid suitcase. You will be provided with crew uniform including shoes and all toiletries (apart from any personal preferences) so all you will need are a few outfits for your down time plus any sports/training gear. A Kindle is a great idea for yacht crew rather than having books taking up space.
With a private yacht, the owners of the yacht will use it with their family and invited guests. This allows you to get to know your owners (always respecting the invisible wall between you and them of course!) and to be able to anticipate their requirements. A charter yacht is also privately owned and the owners may also use the yacht; however, it is also available for other groups of people to charter for any length of time at the owner’s discretion; this could be for a day or a month although it tends to be a couple of weeks. This means you have to adapt quickly to each new set of guests and their individual characters and requests. A charter yacht is more varied but can also be a lot busier.
This is the sixty million dollar question. Some people are very lucky and get straight on to a yacht whereas for others it can take some time. Impossible to answer I am afraid. All you can do is make sure that you are as prepared as possible and put your back into getting out there, pounding the docks, doing the rounds (regularly) of the crew agents – both visiting or phoning and checking in on line. Sitting on the beach will not hack it! Do as much daywork as you can get and always be aware that the whole crew will be watching you – particularly when they invite you to join them for drink after work. Remember that you’re always on display – that person who you spilt your beer over last night could be the person interviewing you tomorrow!
Languages can always come in useful when you are travelling around and sometimes yachts will ask for a particular language speaker. However, English is the main language required – it is the international maritime safety language – any others are a bonus.
Contracts can be seasonal or long term. The Mediterranean season tends to run from April – October (although it can be a bit fluid) and the Caribbean/winter season will be from November to March. Some contracts will be for shorter periods depending on the requirement of the yacht, but generally speaking you should try to make yourself available for the full season (or longer) if you can.
There are yachts who will employ couples however this is seen as a privilege that has to be earnt. It stands to reason that, when choosing junior crew, a Captain is already taking a risk on one person so asking him to take a risk on two unknowns is a big ask. You may get lucky from the outset but if you do, please be aware that you are ambassadors for future couples. If you have a row or split the crew and disrupt the yacht, that Captain won’t take the risk on a couple again. You ideally need to prove yourselves individually before trying for that coveted couple’s position.