Finding the perfect fit: What to know about crew agents

Jan 24, 2023 by Dorie Cox

A good crew agent bridges the gap between captains and crew by knowing well the needs of both.

The jump from marina dock to superyacht work can be wide. New yacht crew fall short on contacts, while veterans are often challenged to find the perfect fit. Yacht crew agents can bridge these gaps. To learn more about crew agents, Triton reached out to Corly Quirk, owner and operator of Superyacht Crew Placement.

What do crew agents do?

“I consider myself a matchmaker,” Quirk said. “It’s like putting friends together; you know who is going to work well together.”

When she meets crew searching for a job, or a crew member with a position available, she uses CVs and interviews to learn about previous work, life experiences, family history, and where they’ve been, where they’d like to go. And she clarifies specific needs and goals.

“I feel like I’m matching personalities, not just qualifications and job positions,” Quirk said.

A good agent isolates requirements for both sides of the employee and employer equation. For example, Quirk said, she may have a capable crew member, but one who needs encouragement and support.

“Maybe it is a stew that needs a bit more care, that needs to be put with a chief stew who will take her under her wing,” she said. “Each personality is different, and I use what I know about them. When I really get to know crew on a personal level, that’s when I can put a killer team together.”

She also checks into previous employment.

“Reference checking is so, so, so important,” Quirk said. “But, I am aware there are three sides to a story. Just because someone is fired, it can be OK with me. They could’ve just had a personality conflict. Therefore, they get another shot.”

When a captain contacts me for crew, and explains the skills, certifications, and job specifics for the opening, Quirk searches her database and interview notes to match the top candidates.

“Sometimes captains say, ‘Why did you only give me three CVs? I want more,’ ” Quirk said. “I say, ‘Because I am doing my job. These will work for you. They are a perfect fit for your program.’ ” Quirk said she does not push CVs for a paycheck as she wants both sides to be happy.

She maintains relationships with the thousands of crew in her database and can connect a crew member with a yacht often before there is a public vacancy.

“I will only promote crew that I have met in person or by video. I’ll connect with vetted crew even before I post a job. I know exactly who is a good fit; I spend the time to get to know the captains, program and crew,” she said.


Commit to long-term

For best results, you need to commit to a long-term position. “Those do go to the top of the pile,” Quirk said of crew CVs with longevity. Sometimes departures are due to a sale of the yacht or an unsafe situation with the boat, and that’s understandable. But moving around a lot is a red flag, she said. 

Work with lots of agents

“Crew should absolutely form relationships with multiple agents,” Quirk said. “Go with all of the crew agents, then stick with the ones you connect with. The service doesn’t cost anything for crew.” 

Keep in touch

If you form a bond with an agent, then keep in touch, Quirk advised. Let them know what you are doing, when you expect to leave a yacht, your latest certificate or license, and your newest skills. “It helps to get a note like, ‘I will be available next month,’ ” she said.

Add keywords to CVs

Agents use a large database and keyword searches, Quirk said. Yacht crew licensing is important, but extra skills and hobbies, such as diving, are vital. “Captains will ask for specifics, and if they are not listed in your skills or hobbies, you might not come up in a key search.”

Click here for more information on mastering your CV and here to learn about negotiating your pay. Read how Chief Officer Wesley Walton broke into the industry here and learn about RYA’s crash courses here.


About Dorie Cox

Dorie Cox is a writer with Triton News.

View all posts by Dorie Cox →