My career on superyachts - meet Jasmine Kilpatrick
17 June 2015
My career on superyachts - meet Jasmine Kilpatrick
22 year old Lancashire lass, Jasmine, trained as a superyacht stew with us a year ago. We caught up with at the end of this year's Med season to find out how she's been getting on.
What made you decide to embark on a career on superyachts? Having already spent 5 years in various fields within hospitality, I knew that I wanted to pursue my current course into a "career" (a word which I still fear today). What career was far more problematic?
Whilst undergoing a wine course, I met a stewardess who worked upon a 80m motor yacht; she told me about the ins and outs of yachting and persuaded me to give it a go. In addition to this, my brother is also in the yachting industry. He has always been a role model to me and with his guidance and encouragement I decided to follow in his footsteps.
The entire industry seemed perfect; a mixture of world class hospitality, travelling the world, earning a great wage and unbeatable life experience. What more could anyone want - I was SOLD!
What were you doing before? I was embarking on many different paths, one of which was an Honours Degree in Philosophy (something which hasn't hugely influenced yachting, as I am sure you can imagine.)
Hospitality wise, I worked within an extremely successful restaurant, learning the tricks of the trade - from pot washing to management. From this, I was encouraged to learn more about wine and spirits. As a result I spent two years working in a cocktail bar - I gained a huge amount of knowledge concerning cocktails, wine, spirits and of course the unruly drunk customer. I then decided to undergo the WSET wine and spirits advanced course; whereby I put all my knowledge to use and gained a qualification.
Why did you choose to train with Flying Fish? I researched various facilities to undergo my STCW95, however Flying Fish stood out for three main reasons. Firstly, alongside the STCW95 I was able to also do a Superyacht Interior Course; this gave me an insight into the career I was about to enter.
Secondly, Flying Fish provide accommodation onsite; whilst this may seem trivial, I can guarantee that after a day fire-fighting, a cosy living room and washing machine is well appreciated.
after a day of fire fighting, a cosy living room and washing machine is appreciated ...
Finally, when I called around different facilities, very few were willing to help and explain exactly what certificates I required to venture into yachting. Flying Fish went out of their way to explain what I needed; from the basic safety courses, to the extra options which would boost my CV and make me stand out.
How easy/hard was it to get a job after the course? The course set me up fantastically for finding a job. I was directed to a few crew agents, all of which have turned out to be fantastic. Within less than a month I was receiving interviews and within 6 weeks I got a job. Competition is high for new (or "green") crew; however if your circulate your CV and get a good relationship with a crew agent, I found you can be sailing within no time.
Tell us about the boat you're on? I am currently on a private 45m Feadship, based in the Mediterranean all year round. There are 12 crew, which is a lot for the size of the vessel, however it is 'all hands on deck' at times.
Each and every member of the crew are fantastic, from the Captain to the deck crew. Living in your workplace takes adjustment, however if your respectful of your cabin mate and those around you, I have found that you can start a job with 11 crew mates and leave the job with 11 friends.
I am currently on a private 45m Feadship
What does a typical day involve? A typical day varies due to whether the owner is onboard. However we run on a rotation system. One day I may be in the laundry, another day I may be in charge of keeping the Crew Mess tidy.
Every single day brings something new; from inventory, to polishing, to shopping, to testing the functions in the sauna. Some jobs are extremely tedious whilst others simply can't be labelled as 'jobs' at all - the majority of my days tend to be quite fun.
What is the best thing about working on a superyacht? The best thing about working on a superyacht has to be the travelling. The ability to visit so many amazing places without having travel costs and living expenses is a rare luxury.
Second to this is the people you get to meet/work with. There are very few lines of work which bring together people from across the globe. A lot can be learnt from the person you have your lunch next to!
And any bad aspects of your job? Of course every job has a downside. Superyachting demands extreme flexibility at times. There are long hours, demanding guests and long periods away from home. In addition to this yachting is not the most secure job. However, in my opinion these downsides are a small price to pay for the upsides the job brings.
What's your fave place that you've been to this year? My favourite destination this year has been St Tropez. For some, it is too cramped, too cliché and too designer. However I absolutely loved the boutique shops, the quaint streets and the artists painting away on the dock. Not to mention the fantastic ice cream and macaroons on the waterfront.
Do you need/want to take any more qualifications? Whilst I am loving my time within the Interior, I hope to be able to also learn a little about the deck. Therefore, at some stage within my career I intend to do a course which will give me a little more knowledge concerning the yacht itself; hopefully allowing me to work on a sailing yacht.
Any advice for people thinking about coming into the industry? My only advice is to stand up for yourself and be confident. The entire industry is demanding; however knowing your abilities and knowing your "rights" goes a long way. However, at the same time, enter with an open-mind, it is nothing like you imagine. There are many misconceptions surrounding yachting; it is not by any means an easy job... however it is worth it.