How many times have you thought?
“If only I had known…”
Me: a million times a day.
I truly feel I have made some good decisions throughout my yachting career (if I may say so myself).
However, if only I had known what I was getting into (or had known about the yachting industry itself, for that matter), I feel I would have done sooo many thing differently.
I don’t want this post to come across as like if I am regretting anything, because that’s really not the case.
I feel absolutely privileged and am (overall) happy with the path I chose to follow, and how it all has worked out for me.
But, you know the drill…
There are always things that we would have done differently if we could go back in time, or speak to our younger selves…
What are those things?
As you may know by now, I joined my first yacht after finishing my 6 years University studies.
Throughout those years, I did a million service courses, finally qualifying as a certified butler.
I joined my first yacht the day after finishing my masters, literally.
Would I have spent 6 whole years at University had I known about the yachting industry when I was 17/18?
To be completely honest, probably not.
Not saying that going to Uni is useless or anything like that, don´t get me wrong!
I loved every single minute of it.
However, in the present time, and how my life has gone (and plan on continue) I just know that I won’t be looking for a “normal job”, or using my University degree to apply for jobs.
I actually don’t even have my University diploma!
As I said, I left Madrid right after I finished.
In Spain, Universities take a while to have your certificates ready to be collected.
By the point I was notified that my diploma was ready, I was somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, (with no intention whatsoever of flying back to Spain to pick my certificates up…)
Nowadays, 10 years later, I don’t have much of an interest on picking them up, in all honesty…
I might do, just for the sake of those six years of partying all night long to only attend to my morning lessons lessons with no sleep, but it’s just not my priority.
So, WHAT WOULD I DO NOW?
If I was 18 again, and had to decide what I was going to do with my life, I would still complete professional butler training.
That is the one thing that I have always known I wanted to do.
However, I wouldn’t spend 6 years at Uni for that.
I would try (somehow) to find the money to pay for a recognised butler training school (please don’t ask me which one because I am yet to find one that I would pay for).
After completing my training, I would look for a job at a luxury hotel, or private residence.
I would work for like a year, in order to achieve the experience I consider basic to work on a super yacht, even as a Junior, and then I would look for my first yachting job.
Because, by that point, (unlike it happened “in real life”) I would know that the yachting industry exists and you can actually earn a lot of money working on a super yacht!
So… I totally knew what my passion was long before yachting: high-end service.
But, if that’s not the case with you, I wouldn’t recommend you to go spend thousands of euros on service (let alone housekeeping) courses.
I have had many Stewardesses over the years with 0 to very little service experience, and they turned out to be amazing Stewardesses (most of them Chief Stews nowadays).
- Find a job first
- See what the reality is when working on a super yacht (not the “Below Deck” reality)
- Decide what aspects of it you really like
- Focus on that route
Let’s say that, before working on a super yacht, you didn’t have a clue that you were going to be passionate about wine.
- You love inventorying all those fantastic bottles onboard
- Decanting it
- Serving it
- Advising your guests on the correct wine for each menu…
Invest your hard earned money on wine courses.
Even become a Sommelier!
Do you know how many Sommeliers I know after ten years in the industry?
Do you know how much I would have loved to have a qualified Sommelier as part of my team?
To the moon and back!
That’s how much I would have loved that.
Let’s say you find yourself loving flower arranging:
Invest on flower artistry courses!
Let’s say you actually dream of becoming a Purser:
Invest on a professional Purser course!
Long story short: don’t do what I did.
Even having a million service courses and being a butler myself, I thought doing a “yachting” butler course would actually do many things for my CV.
I paid for an extortionate expensive butler course in London at a “recognised” training school.
Asked for days off to do it and all the fuzz, to only find out that I could have actually very well been the instructor of that course.
(I actually think I would have been much better at it to be completely honest…)
Meaning, I learnt absolutely nothing.
I also did a flower course (only two days), which I actually enjoyed very very much, as making flower arrangements is a passion of mine.
But, again, not like spending those few hundred euros on that course did so much for me or my career, as I was already quite good at flower arranging anyways.
I also did a few “cheap” mixology and wine courses.
Anyways, I did a bit of everything, when, actually, I didn’t really need to…
Find whatever it is that you truly enjoy doing onboard, and get proper training on that specific aspect!
Save your money and go to THE BEST place to be trained at.
At least, that’s what I would do now…
SIZE OF THE VESSEL:
However, I did get one thing right: the size of the vessels I wanted to work on.
In my beginnings, I was lucky even on that.
My first yacht was a 56-meter motor yacht.
Because it was a explorer yacht, the interior was actually quite large for a vessel that size.
I instantly felt comfortable onboard.
So that’s the size I have chosen to continue working on.
The largest yacht I have worked on is 62 meters, with 17 crew.
That was more than enough for me.
I have never wanted to work on larger vessel, even when I have been offered amazing positions on large yachts.
I just know that I feel much more comfortable with a certain amount of crew around me.
Amongst other factors.
This is to say that no one knows you better than yourself.
If you don’t feel comfortable working on a 100-meter vessel, or a 30-meter vessel, remember that when you are looking for your next position.
Don’t just accept another position on the same size vessel you have just resigned from, if a big part of the reason of your resignation was the size.
I stayed on my first yacht for 18 months.
18 AWESOME months I must say.
I did more nautical miles during those 18 months than during the eight next years.
However, this was a private yacht where I basically did the-same-exact-thing every-single-day.
Guests on and guests off.
Because the yacht’s route wasn’t your typical “yachtie spots” I did not have contact with any other yachties other than my co-workers.
I literally did not have a clue about the existence of charter yachts.
Had I known I would have probably left my first yacht sooner.
Not much sooner though, I would have done one year.
Longevity, and all that, right?
However, I feel my last six months onboard would have been much more fructuous on a charter yacht.
So I guess that what I am trying to say is: stay on every boat you work on for at least a year.
And do whatever you feel you need to do with your career after your year onboard.
Especially when you are just starting.
PRIVATE OR CHARTER:
As you know, I would much rather work on a charter yacht.
Not only because of the money.
I just get too bored on a private yacht.
I like to be the one deciding what I do with the table settings, theme parties, where to serve what etc etc.
Owners telling me to serve red wine in the water globet, and stuff like that… I just can’t deal.
However, this is just me.
You might feel much more comfortable knowing your guests, doing the same thing etc etc…
That’s perfectly fine.
Not because everyone raves about charter yachts, the money, the glamour, and all that, you will be happy on a charter yacht.
So! Try both, so you can decide what fits YOU better.
Also, let me tell you something.
Starting your yachting career on a “heavy charter” yacht might blow your mind (in a bad way).
I worked on a heavy charter yacht where two of the junior stews were 100% green and that was their first, and last, season.
Charter yachts are pretty hardcore.
So remember this if you get offered your first position on a heavy charter yacht.
Anyways! Enough rambling now.
I hope this post helps you to make the best decisions for you, and your career.
As I said on many occasions, I did not know that the yachting industry existed.
Therefore, I could not have seek any advice or guidance on how to get into it from anyone.
However, if I had to start again, the first thing I would do is:
- Finding out the right steps to take to land my first position EXACTLY
- Connect with yachting industry professionals that could help me find a position
- Invest on:
- Getting a professional CV done
- Finding out what I was going to be asked during interviews
- What my job as a Junior Stew was going to be…
In short, invest on getting the RIGHT information from the RIGHT people.
This is THE ONLY platform that I am part of.
Despite being asked on a daily basis to promote different platforms, I truly feel that this is the ONE platform where I would have invested my money (aside, of course, my own consultancy business www.starfishcrew.com).
There are lots of amazing features at the Crew Library that I love.
However, my favourite one is probably the access to Whatsapp groups where the Heads of the Department you are aiming for will reply to all of your questions.
How amazing is having direct access to some of the most recognised yachting industry professionals, being able to just send him/her a whatsapp with all your questions?
That would have made my life sooooo much easier…
You also have access to TONS of free resources, like these amazing videos that will reply to sooo many of your questions:
Visit the Crew Library now, you have absolutely nothing to lose, and SO MUCH to gain!
At least, that’s what I would do after ten years in the industry still trying to figure some things out myself… 😉
I really hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpfull!
Please do let me know what other topic you would like me to write about and I will be more than happy to.
Also, say “hi” on Instagram! You know it’s my favourite platform to communicate with you all.
I also have an account in Spanish, if you would like to check it out too 😉
OH! You can also download my FREE basic guide to get into the yachting industry.
You’ll find it right below.