To Move or Not To Move

That is the career changing question. With it being so easy to apply for work online and via crew agencies is it really necessary to relocate in order to find work? And if so, where would be the best destination and the most opportune time?


Choosing the life of a yacht crew member is choosing a life away from home. If you want to be part of the industry you are going to have to resign yourself to the reality that at some point, soon, you will be leaving all that is familiar to pursue a job at sea. Rip this metaphorical bandaid off sooner rather than later.


The move isn’t permanent. Any relocating you decide to do is purely transitional for professional purposes. Either you decide to spend a few weeks at a hiring port, dock walking until you find a job or you are moving to a popular yachting destination for day work until you find something more sustainable. But make sure you are in a position to pack up and ship off at a moment's notice. The job demands flexibility. Most hiring captains are going to want to meet and interview you in person. If you play your cards right you may need to be ‘on location’ only a month or two before finding a job so don’t set up roots. Don't concern yourself with doing things like signing a lease or registering for a driver's license. There are crew houses based in every popular yachting destination that are available to you and Facebook is a great resource for finding temporary accommodation.


The four best yacht crew hiring points are Antibes (France), Fort Lauderdale (Florida, USA), Palma de Mallorca (Spain) and Newport (Rhode Island, USA). These hiring hot spots offer great access to quality job opportunities but they are not the only ones so do not despair. The only pitfall is that a lot of prospective crew flock to the popular ports and so you might find your CV being lost in a pile with many others.


St. Maarten (Caribbean), Dubai (UAE), Sydney (Australia),  Auckland (New Zealand), Antigua (Caribbean), San Diego, (California) and Viareggio (Italy) are great destination of opportunity too as megayachts often pass through their coastlines.


Once you’ve decided where to begin your job search you will need to research when the peak of the season is. Weather and climate are great influencers of international yachting seasons. When referring to the industry’s main seasons, we look at what times of the year a majority of yachts converge upon the same geographic cruising areas. The important question to ask is what are most yachts doing? When are they doing it and where.


Summer and Winter are the two main seasons the yachting industry work on. The months on either side (April-June and September-December) are often referred to as the ‘off-shoulder’ periods or ‘down time.’ This is often when yachts go in for repairs and maintenance in preparation for the coming season. This would also be the most opportune time to go job hunting because captains and hiring crew have more time. Fort Lauderdale between April and May, for example, offers outstanding opportunities. Antibes, Palma and Newport are great choices between September and October.

Once you’ve done comprehensive research  about your desired destination you can go about planning your travel arrangements accordingly. It is a daunting task and leaving home can be quite overwhelming but once you’ve landed in your port of choice and linked up with other crew in the area you will find that you are in the same boat and therefor lean on each other for support.


Lastly, have fun. One of the great things about working in the yachting industry is that you get to travel to exotic destinations many don’t have the opportunity to. Stop and smell the roses, take pictures of the beautiful view, sample the local food. Taking time to do what brings your heart joy will make the stress of finding work easier to bear.

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