• The Yacht Crew Coach

DAYWORK 101:For Crew Looking for Daywork

Updated: May 24, 2019


The Yacht Crew Coach answers some pertinent questions about how to succeed in dockwalking and finding daywork


Q: When do yachts need dayworkers?

Yachts mostly hire dayworkers to help turn the boat around during a busy charter season, during a shipyard period because hiring dayworkers is a lot less expensive than the labour supplied by the shipyard, to put the boat back together after a shipyard period or during a large event. If crew go on leave and the boat is between seasons they also might hire dayworkers to fill in for crew on leave instead of hiring a temp.


Q: When is the best time to look for daywork?

Make sure you get an early start and be on the docks by 08:00. Be mindful that the deck crew might still be in their morning meeting at 08:00 so if you see a group of people standing talking wait until they are finished.


Crew eat lunch between 12:00-13:00 and DO NOT like being disturbed during this hour. You will not make any friends if you ring the bell while they are eating or on the phone to loved ones. Take this chance to take a break and get something to eat yourself.


Crew generally finish work around 17:00 if in port and they do not have guests on board but I would recommend finishing before that and taking the time to apply for jobs online.


TIP: If you see a yacht getting a provisions delivery ask if you can help carry things - they may not hire you because they don't have a need for someone dayworking but you might make an impression on one of the crew. Crew often have large networks and the yachting industry is small. Being pro-active and helpful can go a long way to landing your first job. Who knows they might even invite you out for a beer after work and that is an ideal time to network!


Q: Should I register with crew agents?

Absolutely! Check with the crew agencies what times they set aside for appointments for crew and even though you most likely will not find a job through a crew agent it is still good to introduce yourself and get your profile started.


Always remember to have all your documents uploaded and profile up to date on their site before your interview.


Q: Why do I need to dockwalk?

This is possibly the most challenging and scary part of finding a job because crew can be downright rude to dockwalkers unfortunately. Do not take their rudeness personally. Remember that they might also have 100 things going on and sometimes boats can get up to 30 people ringing the bell a day, which takes a lot of time out of someones schedule to keep answering every call.


You need to dockwalk because finding a job is a numbers game. It also shows that you are a go-getter, you have stamina, perseverance and confidence. These are all fine qualities to have and ones that are needed to work on a yacht.


Q: How do I know if there are guests on board?

You definitely don't want to ring the bell and drop off your CV when there are guests on board.


Flowers

If the aft deck table has flowers on it that is usually a good indication that they are either preparing for guests to arrive or they are already on board.




Carpet

If the carpet by the passerelle (the bridge walkway onto the boat) looks new and clean this is also a sure sign that guests are around.


Crew Uniform

Look at what the crew are wearing - does their uniform look a little more formal? Are they wearing earpieces? These are cues that they might have guests on board.


Q: What would be your best tip for crew looking to daywork?

Persevere! I advise all all my green clients when they are starting out and looking for jobs that their objective is to get 20 NOs a day. It is a shift in mindset that allows them to be ok with getting a NO and not discouraged, i.e. the more NOs they get the more they are actually succeeding because it means that they are applying for more jobs.


Finding a job is a numbers game. The more positions you apply for the greater your chance of being hired. Fear of rejection is a primal fear that goes back to when humans lived in small communities. Being voted out the tribe meant death and so our brains are hardwired to feel anxious when we are rejected.


Once you are OK with getting a NO it becomes easier and easier to apply for jobs, and you will get better at it, streamline your application process and know how to answer the difficult questions, meaning you are more at ease with yourself which helps the interview process immensely! Confidence is contagious! Then the objective shifts from getting NOs to getting YESes! 

When you’re looking to hire, how much do you consider dayworking on a resume?If the person is completely new to the industry, having daywork on their CV shows that they were proactive in trying to find a job and upskilling themselves and that will hopefully translate to them being proactive on board - always a WIN. They have also had a  basic introduction into life on board and the etiquette required. Captains and HODs want to hire people who will make their lives easier and who will also go the extra mile to make sure guests have the best possible time on board. Keep these two things in mind when you are doing anything on board,  applying for jobs and interviewing. 

Q: What would you caution about when dayworking?

Always ask questions if you are unsure. If you don't know what product to use on something, ASK! If you mess something up always tell the head of department who has hired you and be honest about it and apologetic about it. They will find out anyway so it is better if it comes from you. If you are finished with a task, go and ask for another one.


Q: What is a don’t that would turn you away from a potential hire

A don't is definitely if their social media shows them in compromising situations - partying, drinking etc. The current crew stalk potential crew online so I advise them to have some outdoorsy pics and clean up anything that is derogatory, rude, sexist or just plain offensive. 

Always remember that the owners and guests are the most elite people in the world. They do not pay such exorbitant amounts of money to own or charter a yacht to receive sloppy service. The larger the yacht, the more the guests require that crew are well presented, polished and professional. I have seen crew be dismissed for no other reason than they were too lax in front of guests. You are an extension of the owner and if you do not act properly in front of their guests it can be embarrassing for them and expensive for you when you have to look for another job. Q: Getting a reference - what information do I need? When you have finished your daywork write down a list of EVERYTHING you did on board for future reference and get the name, surname, position on board, phone number and the email address of the person who will provide you with a reference. Note the name of the vessel and the size too.


The boat won't provide a written reference but it looks a whole lot better on your CV to have the full information for references instead of just Chief Mate Bob +1 555 555 5555. Definitely include a separate section on your CV for daywork. If your CV is very short try and provide a little more information about the duties you have done for the daywork because when a captain is looking to hire someone they need people with certain skills on board. If you don't write down what you have done or can do how will a captain ever know this? 


Q: Any other advice for finding a job?

Try to align skills that you already have with skills needed on board. If you don't know what skills are needed on board, google the position you are seeking - there are many websites that provide information on what each role is required to do as well as skills needed, often I coach crew who have a certain skill-set (like carpentry or flower arranging) and it is nowhere on their CV.


DO NOT LIE, this is a career killer. Trust is very important on board because of enormous pressure to create a perfect experience for guests every single time. If your HOD does not trust you because you lie about completing jobs or have lied about skills you have on your CV it also puts their career on the line and you will soon be looking for another job. 

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Some photos courtesy of Luxury Yacht Films

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