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Working on a Superyacht after Brexit

Now that the UK has left the EU, free movement between Great Britain and the EU ended on 1st Jan 2021. With all the changes taking place how will working on a Superyacht after Brexit effect you?

The short answer is that nothing will really change for you. Superyachts still need crew and there are still lots of Superyachts advertising new positions. The very nature of the industry means you will need to travel to find a job. However, there are some subtle changes that we all need to be aware of.

Travelling to the EU after 1st January 2021

British Citizens can travel to any EU member state without a visa. However, under the new rules, Brits, along with other Non-EU nationals will only have the right to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period within the Schengen area.

What is the Schengen Area?

The Schengen Area is a group of 26 EU and Non-Eu countries that agreed to free movement across internal borders without the need for passport checks. The 90/180 rule relates to entry and exit from the entire Schengen Area apart from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, and Ireland.

If you are looking for work on a Superyacht after Brexit then you are most likely to travel to a country within the Schengen Area, therefore the 90/180 rule will apply. When you arrive at the airport, immigration officials may ask for:

  • A return or onward ticket
  • At least 6 months left on your passport – check your passport!
  • Show you have enough money for your stay
Working on Superyacht after Brexit

What happens if I stay for more than 90 days in the EU?

If you are caught leaving after spending 91+ days in the EU then it is likely that you will end up with an “over-stay” flag on your passport. Some countries could apply the letter of the law, which could lead to a fine or at worst deportation. Other countries, which tend to be the southern European countries are more relaxed. The fact is nobody really knows what will happen. To make sure you don’t overstay there is an online short-stay calculator. I guess the message is to know your dates and make sure you stick to the rules.

Can I still look for work on a Superyacht after Brexit?

Yes. You can travel to any EU country within the Schengen Area and search for a job within the 90/180 day period. You can dock walk to seek employment, even do day-work. However, if you have not found a full-time or seasonal job within 90 days then you will need to leave the Schengen Area.

What happens when I find a job on a Superyacht?

This is the important bit!

After you have found a job, signed a contract, the Captain will sign you on to the yacht. Most Superyachts are flagged (registered) in a country outside the EU. Therefore, once you are signed on, the 90-day clock stops as your place of work is onboard.

When you leave the yacht, for example, a week’s holiday the Captain will sign you off the yacht. The moment you walk off the yacht, the 90-day clock starts ticking again. If you plan to have a holiday in the EU then you will eat into those 90 days.

From now on you will need to keep a close eye on the time you spend within the Schengen Area!

Superyacht Deckhand

UK Citizens currently working on a Superyacht

If you are currently working on a Superyacht within Schengen Area we recommend that you ask the yacht’s agent to arrange for a Customs official to stamp you out of the Schengen Area. It is likely that without an exit stamp in your passport you may have problems leaving the EU. As we have just left nobody knows whether or not EU customs officials will take issue if your passport has not been stamped.

Apply for a Discharge book ASAP.

Once you have signed a contract of employment we recommend that you apply for a Discharge book. Your Discharge book is an Internationally accepted document allowing the holder to land at foreign ports without needing a visa. If you hold a discharge book then you can travel between the UK and your yacht without restrictions.

Discharge book

Can I still use my European Health Insurance Card?

The deal announced on 24th December says that EHIC cards issued before 2020 will remain valid until their expiry date. Now we have left the EU, a new card is available called the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Both the EHIC and GHIC cards cover existing illnesses as well as emergency care.

Please beware of companies offering this card at a fee, as it is available for free through the NHS. You can view further details and apply here.

Travel insurance

Anybody traveling to Europe should take appropriate travel insurance for the duration of your stay. Once employed the yachts medical insurance policy will cover for any accidents while working onboard. It is not always the case that the yacht’s private medical insurance will cover you for accidents on your weekends off.

We recommend that you maintain travel insurance cover in case of accidents when off the yacht.

Looking to start a new career on a Superyacht

Despite Brexit and all the changes we are reading about, in time things will settle down and we will adapt. It is a fact that Superyachts will still need crew whatever the world throws at us. For people that would like a career as a Deckhand or Steward/ess then Flying Fish can help make your goal a reality.

Becoming a Stewardess

Impartial training and careers advice.