I read the From the Bridge story [“Captains get new crew on dock, not agencies,” page A1, November issue] and agree with most of what was said, although where we find a slightly different experience:
We love green crew and place lots of them every year (about 600 per year with less than 1 year of experience).
Agencies should be able to find the gems, the crew with amazing crossover experiences and solid references from compatible industries. I spend a lot of time training my team to look for that stand out “greenie”.
Success rate certainly varies by position. Junior stew is by far our largest position for green crew.
I completely agree that many green crew find their first jobs dockwalking or bumping into someone who needs a hand. (It is the best networking tool to get out there and ask questions.)
Most of our new registrations are new to the industry and whilst we don’t get the majority work, we like to meet them and start the relationship-building process. When they have some experience and qualifications, they come back with a positive note already in their file.
Rupert Connor, owner
Luxury Yacht Group, Ft. Lauderdale
Luxury Yacht Group has created a guide to Ft. Lauderdale for new crew coming to town for the first time in search of work.
As a crew agent, we do have requests from time to time for junior crew, particularly, as one captain mentioned, those crew with transferable skills that are valued onboard yachts such as hairdressing, beautician, carpentry, electricians, and nursing. In fact, we often place green crew with these such skills.
Captains will generally have gone through the dockwalkers, their fellow captains and contacted crew houses before coming to an agency. It is the captains who require junior crew with a specialist skill that leads them to use an agency for green crew.
We encourage green crew to register as although we may not have many jobs for new crew, as captains do prefer the aforementioned methods to recruit their junior-level positions, we work with yachts that aren’t in the dockwalking corridors of Antibes and Ft. Lauderdale. When these yachts need to crew up their junior positions, they tend to reach out to agencies due to their geographical location.
Also, even though we may not be able to help junior crew this time round, if they do register, it does mean we can streamline the job hunting process the second time round.
We do not suggest that foreign crew dockwalk to look for work. It is a quick way to get deported if they are caught walking around marinas with CVs or business cards in their hand or backpacks.
If they are U.S. citizens, then yes, we tell them that is fine and to make sure that they dress appropriately (clean shaved, nice polo or T-shirt and nice shorts) and to arrive on the dock by 7:30-8 a.m.
If the crew are foreign — as the majority of them are, some without even having a B1/B2 visa — we tell them to use the crew agents, go to networking events, and stay at a crew house where they are among other yacht crew that could potentially get them day work.
KGCH Yacht Recruitment, Ft. Lauderdale
Even the most positive students say that dockwalking day after day, when you keep hearing “no, thank you”, can also be extremely demoralizing.
For crew who do go dockwalking, look presentable. Take old clothes with you and accept any job you feel you could do with guidance, even if it is out of your milieu. It is work, it is pay and it could lead to a great reference, a recommendation or better yet, a full-time role.
Not all of my students are brilliant but there are those who most assuredly are. The ones who are would absolutely succeed in the industry if they could just get a foot in the door.
It was refreshing to hear from lots of chief stews at the boat show that they would almost rather hire someone green so that they could meld them to fit with their boat and program. Having a good attitude was at the top of most of their lists of reasons why they hired people. Other reasons were that the candidate was aware of the detail with regard to the level of cleaning they’d be doing and the long hours involved. Personal presentation and flexibility were also key.
Good luck to all new crew out there. If they can make it through that first year, one of the best careers in the entire universe awaits.
Alison Rese, Owner and Chief Instructor
Supercrew Superyacht Training, South Africa