How a Career in Yachting Provide Amazing Transferable Skills

10th Jul 2019

Top 4 transferable skills for yachties

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When it comes to working in the superyacht industry, yachties generally don’t often take the time to analyse the number of valuable skills they’re acquiring.  Whether they’re skills derived from hospitality, engineering, maintenance, or any other discipline, most are transferable skills that can be used significant advantage when securing a job onshore.

The skills developed as a stew gives you a thorough knowledge of food safety, storage, hygiene standards and nutrition that will go a long way in many facets of the hospitality industry. There is also the advantage of being able to work to a high standard in the fast-paced, luxury industry. A skill that is useful in any walk of life. Working as a deckhand will imbue you with dexterity, versatility, and technical skills developed on the job.

There are skills you will develop that are unique to the role you had on-board but there are some core transferable skills that yachties leave the industry with:

1) Commitment to excellence in client relationships

Whatever you do on a yacht is likely to be performed for a client; the guest, who demands and expects the very best. The ability to serve clients at that level, together with a thorough understanding of client relationships are skillsets worth having in any industry.

A high percentage of yachties leave to work in luxury hospitality or to start their own business. In either career, an ability to deliver excellent service will serve you well.

2) Work ethic

Work on-board, and the commitment to excellence that the work demands, is often arduous and can sap energy at an alarming rate.  You develop the ability to push through when fatigue sets in, and to rest when you can.  Establishing this equilibrium is essential in maintaining a consistent approach to delivering a superior service while maintaining a healthy life balance, and building a skillset invaluable to any industry.

3) Crisis management

When we interviewed Tim Fletcher, who went on to develop Workrest after leaving the yachting industry as a lead-deckhand, he said:

“…working in the yachting industry gives you a great grounding when it comes to problem-solving in tough situations. I guess that comes down to working in some pretty stressful scenarios with some highly strung individuals and a load of money thrown in there for good measure.

Whatever the catalysts, the ability to function calmly and effectively in high-stress environments is virtually a prerequisite skill for working in an enormous number of industries, including the armed forces, emergency services and even stock-broking.

4) Being a team player

The nature of life aboard a yacht means that you inevitably learn to work well with others in close quarters. This is good practice in developing working relationships with a high functioning team and a commitment to producing results by working as a unit to do what is demanded.

What else will you need?

Making sure you have the right skills, using who you know and showing yourself in the right light are vital wherever you intend to work. Yachting is an excellent foundation for many future careers on-shore and there are a few additional things you can do to make the most of your time onboard and widen your professional experience:

Always be learning

Up-skilling yourself, be it through training courses through the PYA or IYS or through the free professional workshops provided by ACREW, will help you stand out both while you are in yachting, and when you’re looking for a position on-shore. Whether you decide to continue in yachting or leave, investing in your on-going personal development should always be something you pursue.  It’s a great way to make sure you have a toolbox of valuable skills you can bring out when you need to so that you are never out of work.

Currently, many crew are experiencing some kind of confinement. We’ve written about the various ways you can care for your mind and body during this time and learning is one of them. Here are three of the most popular online options available for crew:

  • ACREW are moving their value-packed and fun workshops online. You can sign up here.
  • Luxury Hospitality has developed two online courses for yacht crew: one to develop your Personal Leadership and the other to help you develop greater insight into yourself and your fellow crew members so you can work better as a team.
  • Quay Crew have come up with some great suggestions for how you can share knowledge, build confidence and develop leadership skills within your team, such as giving short presentations each week.

Never burn a bridge

Your contacts in yachting will be invaluable in establishing the best opportunities outside of yachting, and validating your suitability for them, meaning that your network becomes a valuable asset. No matter the circumstances, never burn a bridge.

Spend time on your CV

Your CV is very often the first thing that prospective employers see, so it’s an excellent idea to make sure it gives a great impression.
Check and re-check it for spelling & grammatical errors and ask for help on it if you need it. Your career in yachting will point to you being able to give great attention to detail.  Make sure your CV supports that assumption.

Get your financial ducks in a row

Leila Nafa, who founded Crew Eyewear, dedicated to changing the way yachties care for their eyes during their careers, had this advice to offer after leaving superyachting:

The real world involves lots of tax and on-shore expenses. Be realistic about figures; you go from spending someone else’s money to spending your own. There is a big difference between the two.

Leila went on to say:

Have a clear business plan and see a business adviser. Ensure you have a financial plan that is written down. Getting your ducks in a row before you leave is essential so you can enjoy the success you deserve. Saving and planning how you will live before you leave yachting will give you the freedom you need to set up a business you really care about.

If you need help with setting up a plan for your future, United Advisers Marine can help you build a financial plan that will account for your professional development needs.

Learn how to manage money

There are incredible opportunities available after a career onboard a superyacht. Many ex- yachties start companies, while others take up roles within luxury hospitality or the wider yachting industry. Thanks to their numerous transferable skills they quickly find rewarding roles on-shore.

After working as part of a crew, and developing a team mentality and commitment to excellence in a high-stress environment, there will be few positions that are out of your grasp, and no limit to the kinds of jobs you can pursue.


Top 4 transferable skills for yachties