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.
Crews traveling around the world and seeing wild and exotic places.
Getting paid ridiculous amounts of money to sail the world, so why can’t this be you?
If you have been trying to land your first job on a yacht, but haven’t had any success, it’s time to give dockwalking a try.
Besides, sending your CV out, and talking to the right people, you should be dockwalking as well to be meeting more people.
Dockwalking is.a great way to get daywork that will hopefully lead into a full time position.
If you are sitting in the crew house watching everyone else get a job, but you still don’t seem to have any luck. Then this guide on dockwalking is for you.
Landing your first job working on a motor yacht can be hard. Especially if you are going the deckhand route.
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 on a yacht is to dockwalk.
Dockwalking: The Ultimate Guide
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about dock walking.
What time to dockwalk?
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. If they are going to be needing extra workers, this is the time they are going to want them to start.
This is when the deck crew will be out on deck having their morning meetings. It is a great time to get the crews attention to find out if they are going to need workers.
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.
Dockwalking like everything is yachting is being in the right place at the right time.
What time not to Dockwalk?
Do not try to dockwalk during lunchtime 12pm – 1pm. 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.
You will also want to avoid tea times 10 -10:30 and 3 – 3:30.
If you happen to notice flowers on the boat or you see cushions out, 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.
Do not try to leave your CV with the crew when they are on charter, this is highly unprofessional.
If you weren’t able to pick up daywork from dockwalking in the morning, another good time to walk in the marina around 4 or 5 in the afternoon when the boats are finishing work for the day.
This is a good time to potentially secure daywork for the following day. This is when the crew will be heading off the boat either to the bars or the gym and it is a great opportunity for meeting the crew and socializing.
How to dress when Dockwalking?
Before you even start to dockwalk, you need to 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. Make sure that you wake up early, shower, and shave. Most boats will want you to be clean-shaven.
Owners normally don’t like beards or facial hair, so it is a good idea to shave it off before you try to apply for work.
Once you have been in yachting for a while, it is easier to get away with having a beard, but in the earlier days, its best to avoid them.
Make sure you wear appropriate clothes. Superyachts have very high standards for personal hygiene.
They don’t want anyone not taking care of themselves, as this is a sign they probably wouldn’t take good 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, even though you won’t wear them on the yacht.
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 you’re 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 with 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 with you?
If you are dockwalking, your main purpose should be to find a permanent position. However, you’re more likely to get hired and 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.
Make sure to bring a change of clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. The yacht will most likely give you a uniform to work in, but always a good idea to have a backup.
I always recommend bringing a nice Backpack with a change of clothes, plenty of CV’s and business cards, and a Durable Reusable Water Bottle you can use while you work.
It is common for boats to get up to 30 CVs a day just before the yachting season, so make you stand out and leave an impression on them.
Pro tip: 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.
What crew you should be talking to?
When you are dockwalking, you are not always going to see the crew out on deck working.
This can make it 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.
So if you don’t see anyone, wait a few minutes and most likely someone will come out.
Don’t leave the boat without talking to a crew member. You will have better chances 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. Try to find the mate, captain or chief stew.
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 dockwalk?
Dockwalking can be tricky at times, especially if you are not legal to work in the country you want to go. If you are not American in the USA, it can be risky dockwalking.
Make sure you know the laws and rules about the country you plan on working in.
Be aware that some 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 and they could call the police.
Also, be sure to plan your dockwalking accordingly, you want to be efficient and not backtrack.
Best dockwalking spots in the Med
If you are in the Med here are some of the best spots to dockwalk
- La Ciotat
- Cap A’Ail
- Golfe Juan
- San Remo
- La Spiatazza
- Palma de Mallacra
It’s also a good idea to think of smaller marinas not everyone is going to go. 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 stand out.
Things to Avoid when Dockwalking
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 expecting to get hired and work, not updating your Instagram Story. If you need to do so, wait until the end of the workday.
If you follow these steps on dockwalking it will help ensure you land your first job on a Superyacht. Yachting is an awesome career choice or a great option for a gap year. You won’t regret your decision on joining the yachting world.
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