If you are serious about getting a job on a yacht, the absolute best way to do so is by moving to one of the sailing hot spots in the world and dock walking. It’s all about meeting people and making connections. I know it may sound scary to move somewhere before you have a guaranteed job, but if you’re serious about working on a boat this is the best way!
What is Dock Walking?
Dock Walking is the act of spending time in and around marinas, networking with people who are already working on boats, and offering yourself up for day work. Yachts are constantly in need of people to help out with daily tasks like wash downs, varnishing, polishing, and other odd jobs that are too much for their full time staff. You will be paid for your time, but more than anything else, you will make connections with people who work on the boats. If you are unable to find daywork you can at least introduce yourself and pass out your card to people who may be able to get you a job!
Where are the hot spots, and when should I go?
The four best:
- Newport, Rhode Island (May – October)
- Antebes, France (March – October)
- Palma De Mallorca, Spain (April – October)
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida (September – June)
Other places to look:
- Caribbean (November – March): Bermuda, St Maarten, Antigua.
- Europe (March – October): Croatia, London, Gibraltar, Southampton & Dover (UK), Viareggio (Italy), Sweden, Spain, The Netherlands.
- Other: Singapore, Brazil, Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Sydney (Australia), San Diego (California), Aukland (New Zealand).
Why is Dock Walking So Powerful?
Dock Walking is still the easiest way to secure a job because in this crazy industry things are always changing. Sometimes people will get fired, sometimes they will quit or be forced to return home for some urgent matter. At times like these captains need to hire crew right away. If they have already met you, know that you are nearby, and know that you are ready to join a team, they are VERY LIKELY to choose you. This is one of the few industries where word of mouth is still the most powerful tool at your disposal.
Go around town and introduce yourself to all the captains that you can find. If you see crew in uniform at the store be sure to say hello and tell them that you are in town looking for work – offer to carry some provisions back to the boat! Go to the local crew agencies and give your information in person. Print a few copies of your CV and hang them on local message boards with the title “AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY”. Go to the local crew watering holes and make new friends!
Business Cards are an EXCELLENT IDEA!
Your CV will be requested before you are offered an actual job, but when dock walking, it is always a good idea to have a simple business card to hand out. This is also a great thing to have on hand if you spend any time at the local yachtie bars. *A word of advice* make sure that you do not drink too much and that you handle yourself with class. People are ALWAYS watching you especially if you’re looking for a job.