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Networking to the Top: Cell phones, job swaps and beer

Oct 16th 08
By Dianne Thompson

“You can hear it on the Coconut telegraph saying who did this and that.”  – Jimmy Buffett

Twelve years ago when I began my yachting career, I had only ever used a computer in one previous office job. I'd never seen or heard of email, and if my memory serves me well, mobile phones were only being used by company executives and those who could really afford them.

My, how times have changed.

These days we all carry laptops and mobile cell phones. The latest Blackberry, iPhone or Sony Ericsson is as much a computer as it is a phone. This makes it just too easy to send an instant message to the captain of a superyacht advising him of your interest in his senior officer's position on board. Just tell him you saw the ad on Facebook.

But I kind of miss the old days of finding jobs “the hard way.”

Phone cards were big business back in the day. The crew who I was in company with used a beeper for receiving messages and we all made sure everyone who knew someone involved in the industry had our beeper number.

And boy, did we love the sound of it going off. Especially when it was the number of that dream boat with Capt. Goodvibes on board and his fun crew.

Then there was the round table at a Fort Lauderdale crew house. On it was a book with incoming messages about yacht jobs of all descriptions and a single telephone. This was networking headquarters.

Nearly everyone who came through landed themselves a delivery job down island, or a 40-meter ride to Newport. I scored two sole stew jobs while sitting at that round table. I also made some very good friends.

After a busy Caribbean season, I was ready for a change of scenery and better crew quarters. Seemed like there were plenty of crew changes going on at the time and Antigua Race Week was the place to network. I was also looking to find a chief stew role, ready for the responsibility and challenges that go along with it.

Word-of-mouth was pretty much all there was and everyone was talking. I was lucky enough to meet a lovely English girl who wanted to swap jobs.

I was doing exactly what she wanted to do and her gig was exactly what I was looking for. The salary was very agreeable as well. We had already met each other’s current captains and crew. So that was it. No phone calls, agents or paperwork. Pure networking luck!

With so many vessels now traveling all over the world, no matter which port you're in, there's bound to be a yachtie-friendly bar. This may be your ticket to landing your next crew job.

Many captains will recruit this way. It's informal and relaxed. As a bonus, they get to see what the potential crewmember is like on the drink. They can observe character, manners and, of course, potential.

Crewmembers can decide if they can stand to spend a chunk of their life in the forepeak of a yacht with “he who must be obeyed,”  who is now scrutinizing every move you make.

With so many networking tools available today for captains and crew – including job postings on – there is no reason why anyone who is suitably qualified cannot network their way to the top.

Need proof? Here are some folks who are networking right now on the website. See if you can help them take that next step in their career:

Chef/Deckhand available

Stewardess needed

Mate for hire

Captain needed

Where have you found the most success in networking for crew jobs? Are crew placement agencies really worth the effort or is word-of-mouth still best?

Share your opinions and don't be shy. Your next employer may be looking for someone with a little spunk. Leave your comments below.



Tags: Essentials Careers 

Rating  Average 0 out of 5

  • Keep your chin up Dre'! I have gotten many a crew member
    from Smallwoods books!
    Posted by cappyric 25/10/2008 07:27:30

  • I hav done all the same things!! I heard sign up for captains hideout, and check out calender of events. I am in the same boat, sorry for the pun !! LOL!
    Posted by Stacy_1 24/10/2008 22:34:51

  • I liked the story but finding work the old fashioned way is definetely NOT missed! Great advice for ones venturing into the mix! Thankks so much!
    Posted by Chef Peter_1 22/10/2008 12:31:59

  • Well being new to this I have done all of the following:
    - Walked the docks from 7:45am in the morning
    - left our resumes at all the marina offices (the ones I
    can get to)
    - emailed our resumes to all the other marinas & related businesses in Ft Lauderdale and around
    - registered with all the popular agencies and seen them
    personally by appointment
    - left our resumes at Smallwoods
    - registered for day work on Neptune Group
    - made business cards and
    - had drinks at the local hangouts.
    We have got a few responses but nothing really seems to be happening at the moment. Dont know if anyone can suggest anything else?
    Posted by Dre' 20/10/2008 02:06:55

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