“There is a place and time for everything”, says the old proverb. This is especially true in the yachting industry, literally. If you are an entry-level deckhand, this article is especially important for you. Let’s understand the best seasons to find an entry-level deckhand (or stewardess) position on a yacht.
Best Seasons to Find Entry-Level Deckhand Work
Yacht Chartering Season in the Mediterranean Sea
For us South African, the Mediterranean sea is the best location to find work. Since it is winter between April to October in the Southern Hemisphere, as opposed to the Northern Hemisphere, finding a deckhand position in the Mediterranean season also offers an escape from the cold winters of South Africa.
The recruitment generally starts in February and lasts until late April or early May. This is the time when the yachts prepare for setting out on a cruise around the Mediterranean locations. Here, we would highly recommend you find an entry-level deckhand position at the beginning of such seasons. Your chances will be high during such seasons as many yachts will be preparing for the upcoming cruise. Alternately, the less conventional way to find the deckhand work towards the end of this season i.e. September or October.
We suggest you dock-walking in Antibes, France or Monaco to find such opportunities. This is the best method to personally introduce yourself, make contacts with other fellow employment seekers, and get accustomed to the environment. You can personally meet the employers to make your first impression unlike meeting them through an agent.
Yacht Chartering Season in the Caribbean
Caribbean season mainly functions in the winter season as many A-class celebrities and other elites from the high-class society look forward to escaping the harsh winters of North America (i.e. the USA and Canada). The cruising season starts somewhere around December (near Christmas) and ends in late April or early May.
It is not uncommon for Mediterranean yachts to cross over the Atlantic Ocean to rendezvous at Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Usually, it is for the International Boat Show at Fort Lauderdale or they are preparing for a winter Caribbean cruise.
As an entry-level deckhand, we would encourage you to stick to the Mediterranean zone and accumulate some experience before you dive into the West. However, if you are determined to find work in the Caribbean and have the budget for you, we recommend destinations like Newport, Rhode Island, or Fort Lauderdale, Florida (very famous). However, the dock walking rules are rather strict in the U.S. and we highly recommend getting an inside contact or an agent for this process. The best dock-walking season here would be near the month of October or November when the demand is high, even for the entry-level deckhands.
Alternatively, you can consider dock walking in Antigua, a popular hub for superyachts.
Documentations Required to legally work on Superyachts
Since you are going overseas for work, it is obvious that you will need a working visa. Now, the Mediterranean (Europe) and the Caribbean (U.S. based yachts) have different visa procedures.
For Europe, you will require something called a Schengen Visa. It allows you to travel between 26 European countries freely without any extra documents.
For the US, you will require a specific, non-immigration visa called B1/B2 Visa. The B1 Visa is for business visits and the B2 visa is for pleasure/recreational related visits. Both visa types are acceptable when it comes to working on a U.S. based yacht.
The links provided above are third-party and shall only be used for references. For more information, please connect with us and we will be happy to assist you.
Apart from that, you are expected to have the basic qualification to be able to work on a superyacht; which is the ENG1 medical certificate or equivalent, the STCW certification, and Powerboat Level 2 certificate or equivalent. Further additional qualifications and relevant experiences will be an added bonus to your resume.
Finding work on superyachts is no easy work. However, you can consider our advice and try finding entry-level deckhand work during these best, recommended seasons. Also, it is important to know that you should have some backup budget if you intend to dock walk and find work personally at these locations. Because you will have to pay for your own accommodation and food as well; along with travel expenses and paperwork.
Alternately, you may also consider applying through agents in South Africa and abroad or via online recruitment websites. But, it is best for you to personally go for a dock walk. If you have any further questions, please feel free to connect with us.