What the Deck! Career tips to land that next-level job

Jan 25, 2023 by Chief Officer Wesley Walton

1. When you’re starting out, yacht training schools will try to get you to purchase as many courses as possible, insisting that each add-on course will give you the edge over other candidates. This can be extremely costly and is not always necessary. The courses and certificates that are mandatory are: STCW with Security Awareness and your ENG 1 medical. The only add-on I would recommend is a Power Boat Level 2 for those interested in a deck position. 

2. Ensure you have a professional CV photo that is current and looks like you. Use a white background and look presentable. 

3. Make sure your CV contact information is current. I cannot tell you how many CVs I have seen over the years without a means of contacting the candidate. How was I to offer them the job? 

4. Always get someone to double-check your CV. Spelling and grammar are important and could ultimately be a deciding factor to whether or not you get the job. 

5. Deckhands need to keep an accurate log of their mileage, sea days and sea service. As you progress in your career, you’ll need specific amounts of miles and sea time as prerequisites for upgraded licenses. 

6. Whenever you go on holiday or leave a boat, get a deck testimonial from either your captain or chief officer that confirms your sea time on board. Staying on top of this is vital. Things happen in yachting quickly and crew change, leaving you forever chasing down those sea days from captains and chief officers who no longer work on those boats. Once you have your testimonial, forward it to Nautilus or PYA (third-party sea time verification agents). 

7. One of the most important things to advance your career from a deck point of view is the MCA Training Record Book. This needs constant attention and work. When applying for your notice of eligibility for the Officer of the Watch oral exam, the MCA will go over your training record book with a fine-toothed comb, ensuring you have completed all the tasks. 

8. One of the best career tips I can give is to establish good relationships with crew agents. If they know you can be trusted to do a good job, a crew agent will go out of their way to ensure you get your dream job, and likewise, you will trust them one day to give you great candidates when you are looking to hire your own crew. Never underestimate these relationships! 

Chief Officer Wesley Walton has been working on yachts for almost a decade and recently earned his 3000 GT Master’s License. Read Wesley’s story of how he broke into the yachting industry here