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Transitioning from Commercial to Yachting
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 1:30 PM
Joined: 14/10/2014
Posts: 2


I was just looking for some advice regarding making the transition into the Yachting industry from a commercial background. Having completed a deck officer cadetship with the merchant navy and obtaining a OOW unlimited CoC I'm now trying to sidestep into yachting.

The main feedback I seem to have received since I've been out job hunting is that I'm either under experienced for a 2nd officer/Mates position, or by the opposite token I am over qualified for many deckhand positions. I am ready to start as a deckhand and 'earn my wings', I would never want to be in a future position asking somebody to do something that I have never done myself! 

I have been able to pick up some regular day work already but I have applied for lots of jobs and had very few responses. 

Advice please? Anyone one else started out on commercial ships? Or better still, any jobs?

Thank You,


Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2015 1:23 PM

Hi Samuel,

My situation is a little different as I came from a Military background rather than commercial, but I still had the same issues as you are having. First thing I would say if you are in the SOF or anywhere in the Med for that matter then it is still very early in the Season, so there won't be many jobs going anyway so I wouldn't worry. If it get's to the end of May and you still haven't had even so much as a trial period, then maybe I would start to get concerned! 

When you do (inevitably) get a deckhand job however, I've got a couple of tips to help you through what could potentially be a pretty mind-numbing experience. Going from being entrusted to navigate a 8,000gt warship, at 25 knots, in res vis (I know right?) to barely being entrusted with a chamois cloth may rub you the wrong way initially, but that's just the nature of the beast sadly. I think it was at least a month before I was even allowed to drive the tender. The great thing is that after 6 months of just keeping your head down and getting on with it, you will probably know all you really need to know about being a deckhand from an officers perspective, you'll have some good references and you'll have your foot in the door.

Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2015 11:44 PM
Joined: 13/05/2013
Posts: 5

Hey Samuel, 

I worked in yachting for 2 years as a deckhand, before taking a break from the industry to attend a maritime academy in the states. I'm due to graduate in 6 weeks with OOW Unlimited ticket as well, and I have talked to many old connections and crew agents over the last few months. 

Here's what I've gathered. Big commercial size yachts (that require unlimited tickets for manning req/ISM/etc) look to hire guys from cruise ships or even companies like Maersk (who I cadet shipping with). 

The pay for junior officers isn't all that great, unless you can factor in tips. I used to make $3500 with no tickets on a 56m yacht. And the pay for 3/2nd Officers can be expected to be 4000-6000 on the big yachts. 

Going to work as a deckhand with your unlimited ticket is going to the biggest slap in the face, just like the other guy said. I also agree however, that you need to spend a few months or even a season to see how they run the department. Do you have any other commercial experience working on deck or?? Anything would help you there. 

The Med season is about to start, everyone's most likely wrapping up the shipyard periods and crossing over there soon. Register with the agencies and keep a look-out on Facebook groups, etc. Best of luck man.

Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 10:53 PM
Joined: 19/01/2010
Posts: 36

Hi Sam,

Some of us are waiting to be able to get out of the yachting industry into the commercial world when the MCA opens up yacht engineering officer licences to commercial vessels and fishing boats. The yachting industry is not all it is cracked up to be. Why not think about sticking to your career, become a Captain unlimited and then transfer over to the yachting industry as a chief officer or captain of one of the larger (over 3000GT) yachts? You need to be able to double up as a floating hotel manager for the Captains role too, so great interpersonal and communication skills are a must. Don't bullshite people and you'll go a long way.

Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2015 1:51 AM

Commercial or yacht the trick to being a successful engineer is based on attitude, organization and drive.

Tickets are no gaurentee, they simply show you can gain sea time and pass exams. 

Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2015 4:50 PM
Joined: 14/10/2014
Posts: 2

Hey All,

I thought I would just check back in to let everyone know that despite taking a month or so to find the right position the right job did eventually come along and I have just finished my first season after being onboard for 6 months. I was offered a job on a 75m as OOW/Deckhand which sounded like exactly what I needed and better still they offered my girlfriend a stewardess position onboard with our own cabin (which was one of the reasons I decided to give yachting a go).

After charter tips I have definitely earned far more than I could have if I had continued in commercial shipping and the work is far more relaxed than anything I had experienced before (although mindless at times).

I thought I would follow up my initial post just to let anyone else considering the transition know that once the right people see your CV the certificates and tickets gained from the commercial sector are highly valued in yachting and are well sought after, as long as you arrive with the right attitude you will not be long without work.

Thanks for all the above advice,


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