By Jodi Samuel
I was recently reading a blog post by a friend I had met in a crew house back in 2009. She had just left her boat after five years as a second stew and was writing about her new journey.
In the post she talks about how she started to feel stuck in yachting, like she was catering to someone else’s life. She felt like she was just a cleaner and felt frustrated by constantly being a wife and a mother to the other crew. She was feeling far from living her dreams, and that life was passing her by. She then started feeling sorry for herself, was difficult to be around and felt like she had traded her time and family for money.
I could not imagine her being mean to anyone and then I realized this is something universal that happens to a lot of crew over time. I saw it happen to so many people, including myself. It is so easy to lose sight of the value of working in yachting. At some point the money becomes just not enough.
If I could give new crew one piece of advice before they get on their first boat it would be to not take things personally. Many go through what my friend did and, as green crew, you could experience the brunt of it. Be prepared to get yelled at. The nature of the industry causes people to become unhappy. Working long hours with no days off, no time to yourself while living in a confined crew quarters with others, you can quickly become miserable, and you end up taking it out on your crew mates.
It is inevitable, working in conditions like these, that at some point people are going to annoy one another. Every boat has its dramas and bad apples. It is no different on another yacht; you will just experience new problems with new people in a different location.
Longevity is very important in this industry and one of the first things that is looked at on your CV. Do what you can to stick it out. Stay focused on the job and what needs to be done, making sure the guests are happy and having a memorable time. Enjoy the scenery and try to let things roll off your back. Realize it will pass and just do the best that you can.
Think of the value you are gaining from the experience. While working on yachts you will have experiences others cannot imagine, and you will build strength and endurance through the long hours. You will get the chance to work for the world’s most successful people and meet their challenging demands, which can prepare you for many other things. You will also learn how to think on your feet and problem solve, along with how to work with and get along with others from different backgrounds and with different points of views.
There is a lot to be gained from a career in yachting if you can endure the challenges and stay positive.
Yacht crew and blog author
Jodi Samuel is a former yacht crew who most recently worked Bluewater Books and Charts in Ft. Lauderdale as a superyacht coordinator. Her blog is theyachtingmentalityasurvivorsguide.wordpress.com. Comments on this essay are welcome at email@example.com. Samuel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The blog she references is Jodieritchie.com.