Guide To Dock Walking
So you have decided to try and join the wild world of yachting.
By now I’m sure you have heard the stories of people cruising the world on a million dollar yacht.
Crew that are making money to see wild and exotic places. Getting paid ridiculous amounts of money to sail the world, so why can’t this be you? You have been trying to land your first job on a yacht, but it just doesn’t seem to be working.
You are sending your CV out, talking to the right people, but you just don’t seem to be having any luck with landing a full-time job or getting any “day work”.
You are sitting in the crew house watching everyone else get a job, but you can’t seem to get any interviews or callbacks no matter how hard you try.
If you really want to land your first job working on a motor yacht, a lot of it comes down to dockwalking. If you are not out there looking for work, you will most likely not find it. The best way to ensure you are going to get a job is to dockwalk.
Here is my ultimate guide to dockwalking and why you need to be doing it.
When you should be Dockwalking?
You want to ensure that you make a good impression, so punctuality is key. It is best to be in the marina around or before 8 am, this is when most boats start their workday.
This is when the deck crew will be out on deck having their morning meetings. If they are going to need day work, this is the perfect time to show up, ready to work.
It is also a great time to chat up the crew since all the deck crew will be out working. Also, it is when the chefs and stews will be heading out to provision, so another good chance of running into a potential crew.
Do not try to dockwalk during lunchtime. This is the crew’s lunch break. They don’t want to be hassled with having to come out to the dock to collect your CV. They are eating and will want their peace. This will not leave a good impression.
Also if you see flowers on the boat, don’t try and talk to the crew. This is a good indicator that the boat is on charter, meaning there are guests on board. So do not try to leave your CV with the crew when they are under charter, this is highly unprofessional.
Another good time to walk in the marina would be in the afternoon around 4 or 5 when the boats are finishing work for the day.
This is a good time to maybe secure daywork for the following day, it is also when the crew will be heading off the boat. Either heading to the bars or the gym, it is a great opportunity for meeting the crew and socializing.
How to dress?
Before you even start to dockwalk, you need to ensure you look the part. Don’t roll out of bed and run your fingers through your hair and assume you are going to get a job working on a superyacht.
This isn’t going to happen. You need to dress the part. Make sure that you wake up early, shower and shave. Most boats will want you to be cleanly shaven. Owners normally don’t like beards or facial hair, so if you have one it is probably a good idea to shave it off before you try to apply for work.
Make sure you wear appropriate clothes. Superyachts have very high standards for personal hygiene. They don’t want anyone not taking care of themselves, taking care of their million-dollar boat
Be sure to dress the part. The standard outfit for dockwalking is normally a White Polo Tshirt, Khaki Shorts and a nice pair of comfortable shoes. You are going to be walking a lot, so you want your feet to be happy. Make sure that your clothes are clean, tucked in and wearing a nice belt. If you have access to iron, use it. Dressing for success is important.
If you have tattoos, try to cover them up. Although the industry is changing and they are becoming more acceptable, tattoos are still highly taboo and a lot of boats won’t hire you if you have visible tattoos.
It is also a good idea to wear a nice pair of sunglasses while you dockwalk. It is going to be sunny and you are going to want to protect your eyes. However, make sure you take them off when talking to the crew. Shake their hands and make eye contact, you want them to remember you.
What to bring?
If you are dockwalking your main purpose should be to find a permanent position. However, the more likely situation is going to be that you are going to start with daywork. This is when the boat is looking for extra crew for side projects they have going on, mainly this will be on deck, but not always.
Most of the deck work can be dirty and hands-on, and you probably don’t want to get your nice white polo t-shirt dirty, so it is a good idea to bring a change of clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
The most important thing is to bring plenty of CVs and business cards, the last thing you want to happen to you is run out of CVs when you really need them.
It is super common for boats to get up to 30 CVs a day just before the yachting season, so make yourself stand out. It is also a good idea to print your CV on slightly heavier paper, this way when the first mate picks up a pile of CVs yours will stand out before he even looks at them.
Who you should be talking to?
When you are dockwalking you are not always going to see the crew out on deck working, sometimes it can be hard to know who you want to talk to and how to get ahold of them. The one thing to remember is, even if you can’ t see the crew, they can see you.
Every yacht has a security camera system and there is always someone watching it. They want to make sure they know every single person that comes within 100 feet of their boat.
Make sure you talk to one of the crew members from every boat, rather than just leaving your CV behind.
You are more likely to get hired if you make a connection with one of the crew members. It will be even better if you can make a connection with the crew member that is in charge of hiring.
Make yourself stand out when you talk to them and try to make friends. Boats are more likely to hire crew they know are going to get along.
Nothing worse than working on a boat when the crew doesn’t jive.
Where to go?
Dockwalking can be tricky at times, especially if you are not legal to work in the country you plan on doing it. Make sure you know the laws and rules about the country you plan on dockwalking in.
Also, certain Marinas require a guest pass to access them and won’t allow you to dockwalk. If this is the case, don’t try to sneak in. There are cameras everywhere watching you, if you get caught it won’t help your chances of getting hired.
Plan your dockwalking accordingly, you want to be efficient and not backtrack.
Try to think of smaller marinas, not everyone is going to go. If you are in the Mediterranean, don’t just go to Antibes and Monaco, trying going places like Cap d’Ail or Golfe Juan. There might not be as many boats, but there won’t be as many people dockwalking as well.
When trying to get a job on a yacht, you need to be creative and think outside the box. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing. Make yourself standout.
What not to do?
Now that we have talked about what you should be doing when you dockwalk. Let’s talk about things you should avoid when dockwalking.
- Don’t go with a buddy unless you are looking for a different position. It is very rare that a boat is going to be looking to hire two new deckhands, so it’s better to go solo.
- Come willing to work and be social. When boats need crew they need them right away. Come prepared to work.
- Don’t wear headphones, you are far less approachable when you are wearing headphones and you never know when you are going to meet your potential new crew member. It could be before the Marina and you weren’t prepared or paying attention because you were listening to your favorite jam.
- Don’t ask for the wifi password of the boat, you are there and expected to work, not updating your Instagram Story. If you need to do so, wait until the end of the workday, but again this is a time where you should be socializing and interacting with the new crew.
Following these steps on how to dockwalk, will ensure you to get some your first job on a Superyacht. Did you enjoy my blog? Be sure to check out How to Get a Job on a Superyacht!