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Super Lifestyle

Getting paid to travel the world on incredibly luxurious 300-foot super yachts sounds like the ultimate dream job for any boating enthusiast. And it is! There is just one caveat: slackers need not apply. To thrive in this industry, your work ethic needs to match the same stunning quality of the super yachts.

Two super yacht recruitment success stories are from Gold Coast locals, Jesse Barnes and Bindy Bryce, who both underwent training with Coastal Yachting Recruitment. Sure, their workplace is often floating through paradise, but both Bindy and Jesse echoed the need to be prepared for hard work, and described some pretty hectic schedules during the peak seasons. Normally, crew will be required to work around the clock when guests are on-board. Seventeen to eighteen-hour days can be necessary. During really busy seasons, you may work for two to three months with only a few days off. But then, when the ships are moored, or without guests, there is significantly more downtime for crew.

When you are working with the ultra-rich there can be some pretty bizarre tasks, too. Bindy recalled that when she was working as a steward and a masseuse, she had to massage a celebrity’s hands for two hours. “We had a celebrity on board who had to have her hands massaged every night until she fell asleep, while listening to her own music. There were some nights I was massaging each hand for over an hour. I had her songs stuck in my head for weeks after that trip, and I still cringe when I hear them now!”

Compared to that experience, we reckon Jesse has had better luck with the odd requests. The strangest one he could recall was, after he had lost a game of cards, the principal charter told him he had to jump off the mast wearing a jock strap.

Risky card games aside, one danger of the job, according to Jesse, is that it can be a strong temptation to get swept up in the party lifestyle. “Having no rent, chef-cooked meals and continuous travel are very appealing. For those who don’t have other goals, finding a reason to leave is almost impossible. You must have a hobby, or a goal. If you follow the crowd, you will just end up at the pub every night and then become a problem for everyone else the next day.”

In spite of the demands, Jesse said travel is by far the best part of the job. “We live on a five-star floating hotel and visit some of the most expensive and opulent places on the planet, at no cost to us. On top of that, we can visit some of the most remote places, too. Sitting at anchor in turquoise water, surrounded by white beaches and palm trees, it is hard not to appreciate the secluded side. I just love being at sea and being able to cross oceans. The time away from land helps me reform my appreciation of it.”

For Bindy, as well as the travel it is the amazing moments she treasures. “We work a lot, but when you look outside and you are in the South Pacific and dolphins are jumping over the bow or a whale’s breaching 50m away, you are reminded it is all worth it.”

Both Bindy and Jesse are success stories for Jade Fitzpatrick, owner of Coastal Yachting Recruitment. Jade Fitzpatrick began her super yacht career sailing around the Mediterranean, surrounded by the sort of breathtaking scenery and extravagance that most of us have only seen in movies. After spending a decade working on a range of amazing yachts, Jade came up with the idea of starting her own business.

“I’d helped a lot of my friends find work before I started the business. And it was actually when I was helping a friend write her CV and sending it to captains that I had the lightbulb moment and decided to start my recruitment company. I had all my own experience as a crew member to draw from, and I knew what clients wanted. Plus, I just loved the boats and didn’t want to leave the industry,” Jade explained.

Unsurprisingly, a genuine love of the ocean and travel are key ingredients for a career on super yachts. As well as passion, you will need to be flexible and patient because often, your life can be on stand-still until guests leave, and their demands can be surprising. Being a team player is also essential since you will be living and working alongside the crew in very close quarters for months on end. So, do not go in expecting to be sunbaking on the top deck.

Even though Jade has only been running her recruiting business for a little over a year, she has already placed many applicants on yachts domestically and internationally. It is true that the majority of work is still found in Europe and America, but New Zealand and the Pacific are on the rise. Australia is still developing as a super yacht destination, but it is steadily growing.

Super yachts have large crews, which means there is a good range of jobs to choose from. The most common positions are captains, engineers, first mates, first officers, chefs, stewards and deck hands, although some of these roles can be combined on smaller yachts. The qualifications needed do scale depending on the role, but all super yacht roles require both a medical certificate and the STCW95 training course. This is a five-day course, which is internationally recognized. It is essential that you check that any super yacht training you do is internationally recognized because it is such a global industry. Thankfully, in Australia there are many accredited training locations in Brisbane, Sydney and Cairns that offer specific courses that are well respected.

If you are feeling the call of the ocean and are considering a super yacht career, then keep Bindy’s advice in mind. “When you’re first starting out, it can be daunting finding a job and getting your head around how the yachting industry works. Just stay positive and remember that you will get a job and it will all make sense at some point. You can feel a little lost at times, and unsure of yourself, but persevere. The positives of this industry definitely outweigh the negatives.”

 

By Narayan Pattison

 

 

 

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