The story of a thirty something Steward
Simon first stepped on yachts in 2009.
How did you find your first job Simon?
I found my first job through a crew agency, I only dock walked one time and quickly realised it was not the way to find a male Steward position, and consequently I did not manage to do any day work.
The crew houses were full when I came to Antibes, so I booked a budget hotel before sharing an apartment with people I met through doing STCW95 training, before finally moving to a caravan park for my last few weeks of the job hunt.
What was your first impression of the industry and how did you get treated?
I really got a mixture of reactions from both agents and experienced crew! Some were impressed with my hospitality and boutique hotel background others were hung up that I had not worked in yachting before. I even had one captain trying to shoot me down on a night out about my lack of on board experience, but fortunately, I managed to out gun him by telling him about my experiences, the level of service I had been used to and the high level of clientele I was used to looking after, it was more than he had originally expected from someone with a hotel background. I think to many people think of Hilton’s and holiday inns when thinking of hotels.
The only thing that shocked me was how easy the job itself was, especially after everyone saying that you have not worked in yachting and you couldn’t possibly know how demanding the job was.
I went from managing a thirty-five bedroom hotel with two rosette restaurants, one of which was heading towards gaining a Michelin star, a cocktail bar and a banqueting suite for 100 guests, to dealing with a maximum of twelve guests and only working 8-10 hour shifts. Albeit now on I’m on a smaller vessel I tend to do 16-22 hour shifts so I guess I was lucky with my first job and each experience is different.
What did your typical day look like on board your last boat?
A typical day in my current position is to wake up around 7/8am depending on guests.
- Check breakfast set-up, ensure public areas are clean and polished.
- Ensure breakfast service is ready and juice is freshly squeezed.
- Serve breakfast to guests and check on cabins and that they are being prepared to an acceptable standard.
- Clear breakfast when guests have finished, wash dishes, and glasses and put everything away.
- Help to drop the toys in the water and assist the deckhand on the swim platform.
- Liaise with guests and chef for lunch requirements, set for lunch and continuously check cabins and day head.
- Serve lunch, clear up as before and put everything away.
- Check on guests throughout the day.
- Possibly make reservations for beaches, dinner, and clubs. Liaise about dinner plans, if on board prep for dinner, polish.
- Ensure guests are happy and comfortable, possibly help on swim platform, try and take a break!
- Prepare for evening service, adjust lighting, change uniform and set for dinner and aperitifs.
- Serve dinner if on board. After dinner maybe coffee service or straight cocktails before guest decide to go out.
- Clear dinner service.
- Make sure the washing and laundry is done
- If guest go out start preparations for breakfast and their arrival back on board anywhere between at 3-6am…sleep for a few hours and repeat for several months.
Do you have any story you wish to share with us?
Funny story; I was trying to fix the Jet Ski and fell in the sea in front of the guests. Although I realised this has not just happened to me! May I add, that the boss also liked to push the crew in from time to time, thankful for a boss with a sense of humour!
What are you doing now?
I work in Dubai as a PA/Lifestyle Manager, one of my old clients who was a regular guest on board put me forward for this position when I was looking to move back to a land based position.
What advice would you give to a newbie coming in?
Its best to do your research before you arrive, search for all the crew agents in the locations you are going to, register online and sign up to every agent, as you never know which agent will have the job for you!
Don't be scared to socialise, get out, speak to people, everyone will have different advice of the best way to find a job or day work, but you need to decide what works for you best.
For the majority of positions dock walking will help to not only get your face known but also might get you the day work you desperately need.
Remember that a lot of yachts are receiving in some cases close to 100 CV's a day so don't be put off if the crew do not want to stand around and talk or if they tell you to leave your CV in a basket.
Everyone wants to work on a large yacht but don't forget that there are also 100's of 30m+ vessels that are also looking for crew. As I said, do not be scared to socialise, yes it can seem expensive to go out every night, but choose your nights and locations. I know of people that have literally got of the plane, dumped their bags, gone to the bar, started talking to someone they didn't know and got a job on a large well known yacht. Whilst this is rare, it can and does happen. Please remember not to get absolutely hammered and fall about drunk as there is always someone watching and you do not want to be remembered for the wrong reasons.
Remember to check-in with your agents, maybe take a morning off dock walking and use it to go to the agencies and keep your account and face in the minds of the agents. Ensure all of your tickets are up to date and that you have copies of these with you. If you want to stay ahead of your rivals, to do your powerboat license or any other courses to prove that you are serious about your career path, it will stand you in good stead, but pick your courses wisely and shop around.
Big thank you to Simon for sharing his story!
If you wish to be interviewed to pass on your advice and knowledge to our industry newbies please email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you are looking for help with your CV please email email@example.com