How to work on a yacht like Below Deck
TV series Below Deck follows the lives of crew members as they work on board a superyacht.
The show offers a glimpse into the often secretive world of yachting and has brought the idea of having a career on a superyacht to the masses.
The show also highlights how hard yacht crews have to work to make it in the industry.
It is a TV reality show and they set up the program to be entertaining, so do not believe 100% that what you see in the show is how it works on superyachts.
However, Below Deck demonstrates that spending all day living and working together can be difficult, especially if you are with a confrontational or argumentative individual.
Nonetheless, the travel, people and amazing salaries is what makes yachting a great career.
It’s easy to see why the show Below Deck has captivated so many young people and made them think about a career in this industry.
Being a superyacht crew training provider, we are now getting phone calls asking the question ‘How do I work on a yacht like Below Deck?’.
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
How to get a job on a yacht like Below Deck
1. Research about the job and whether it’s right for you
So you’ve watched Below Deck and are now figuring out whether you can start a career working on yachts – That’s awesome! You are doing the right thing by researching what is needed to work in the industry.
Along with core skills and certificates, you need to be aware of that job entails incredibly hard work and long hours.
You’ll be living in small and cramped conditions which makes it difficult to find space to relax.
This may seem obvious, but you’ll also be away from home for months at a time, so you’ll need to be happy with not seeing your friends and family for a long time.
2. Get your ENG1 Medical Certificate
To be able to work at sea and find employment, you must get your ENG1 Medical Certificate. This certificate is an examination to prove you are in good health and medically fit to be able to perform your duties whilst working on board a ship.
The ENG1 Medical can be done by any certified doctor, will take around 45 minutes and will cost a maximum £105.
It’s really important you get this done and ideally quite early on in your new career journey. For example it’s not uncommon for men to not be aware they are colour blind, and only find out after the ENG1 Medical. Being colour bling means you will not pass the ENG1 medical examination and unfortunately you will not be able to work on a yacht.
3. Yacht Stewardess or Deckhand Training Course
After making sure you are fit and able to work at sea, the next thing is to get all the necessary certificates and qualifications to prove your competence.
Chances are you have not worked on a yacht before, and probably never set foot on a superyacht, so you need some experience and understanding of how it all works before looking for a job.
The majority of green (new) superyacht crew undertake a training course that gives them all the qualifications, experience and guidance to get their first job.
During the course you will get your STCW Certificates, which is the minimum requirement, plus extras like Powerboat Level 2, VHF Radio, Security Training and more.
The more qualification you get, the more dedicated you look and more useful you will be to a captain.
At Flying Fish we run Superyacht Deckhand Courses and Stewardess Courses from our base in Cowes, Isle of Wight in the UK. These 2 week courses give you everything needed to start working on a yacht like Below Deck.
4. Sign up to yacht crew agencies
Signing up to yacht crew agencies is not the only way to get your first job on a superyacht, but they can certainly help and may help speed up the process.
They have a big network of yachts and will probably hear of new jobs before you, and may even have exclusive access. After you apply on their website, give them a call and try to give them a feel about what you are about.
5. Head to France and look for work
The final step in getting a job on a yacht like the Below Deck crew is to head to where the work is.
Captains tend to only offer jobs to crew after they have met them in person, so you need to be in the right marinas at the right time.
Generally speaking, superyachts will arrive in the Mediterranean between February and May to start the summer season. This would be the ideal time to head to a big superyacht marina, such as Antibes and look for work.
Whilst in the marinas you will do ‘dockwalking’. This is essentially walking the docks where the yachts are moored, with CV in hand, and offering yourself to yacht captains and asking for day work to get experience.
It’s important to have sorted your financial situation so you are able to spend a week or 2 in France looking for work.
98% of our Superyacht Course graduates find work when they are in Antibes, so after you’ve got all your qualifications, pack your bags and go for it!