You have just finished your first hectic season as a junior crew member and now have experience, new skills, a good reference to offer your new employer.
The first thing to do is to weigh up your options and make a list;
Do you want to carry on and obtain another position on board, travel to the Caribbean or some other exotic destination and leave the Mediterranean winter behind?
If you enjoy travelling and enjoyed your first season and want to extend your yachting career. There is no need to sit and wait and spend all your hard earned wages waiting for the next Med season to kick off. You could find another position on a large vessel and go over to the Caribbean either on its own steam or on the Dock express.
The smaller yachts will no doubt be winterizing and staying at their home port for the winter season. This means most of the interior crew and junior deck crew will be laid off unfortunately and only skeleton crew will stay employed over this time.
This is great way to keep on working, especially for the interior crew, stews, chefs etc. As they can find work easily enough in the chalets. Some deck crew find drivers positions and bar work.
Are the salaries the same as yacht crew?
This is a down side for sure, you are used to a certain pay grade and unfortunately the chalets cannot always offer you the same. However the experience is far different and you have more free time to go off and enjoy the piste!
Some companies do offer savings too for their employees such as cut rates for ski passes and rentals for the ski equipment (which can be pricey).
Many crew feel this is a good time to get extra training and refine those skills learnt over the summer up to the next level for a larger yacht and bigger teams. This can be very advantageous as many yachts now ask for added skills such as masseuse, beauty therapy, silver service, nanny, different cooking skills and the list goes on…
Of course there are added qualifications required for many crew these days, especially for the MLC certified yachts;
- Food and Hygiene- various levels
- Ships cook certificate
And various deck qualifications;
- Power boat
- Security Awareness
And the more experienced crew work towards their extra tickets such as OOW and engineering certifications.
Things to do before leaving your current position:
- Renew and update your cv with your last position including date started and left, name of yacht and size, cruising area and duties onboard and of course reason for leaving such as end of contract or other…Make sure you have it in the correct formats as different crew agencies prefer word doc to PDF.
- Update your photo! Be sure its smart and well presented. Hopefully over the season you have lost any extra pounds too and have a sun tan which gives a healthy glow. Don’t forget to smile!
- Get your new references in order and ask your head of department and the captain. Don’t ask your colleagues or friends as crew agents do check and see straight through this, be professional!
- Check online about organizing your B1B2 visa. Which embassy to contact and which is in your area for working abroad. You will need proof or a letter of employment so try to get this organized quickly as it can take time to get the appointment at the embassy. Crew Agencies will not sort this out for you. All visa’s are the candidates responsibility.
Now you are fairly organized, where to go to move forward and to start looking for that new position?
- So now you are prepared, where to go to look for work? Antibes (France), Barcelona and Palma (Spain) seem to be the favorites in the Mediterranean and crew also go to Fort Lauderdale (USA) and Antigua or St Martin (Caribbean). We would advise that it is very difficult in Fort Lauderdale as the docks are private and no dock walking is allowed. However sign up with the local agencies they will give you the best advice.
- Check out the local crew houses for accommodation and book early as they soon fill up. Do remember to stay vigilant when abroad, be careful with your possessions and yourself.
- Do remember that most yachts in the Med in September will still have guests and owners onboard so best not to approach looking for work. They will begin to start winding down from the busy summer in October. This is the best time for crew to start looking and grab their next opportunity. In November most yachts will be organized and start to make their trips over the Atlantic to the next Caribbean season. They may offer crew temporary positions for crew cooking and other interior/deck positions while many long term crew take a well deserved break. In December most yachts will be gone and the docks will seem empty, many of these yachts won’t be looking for crew. It maybe time to re evaluate your time and gets some training or relocate.
Never give up. Enjoy the sun or snow but whatever you decide to do, be fantastic, work hard, play hard and see you all in for the next Med season 2017!