What “Below Deck” work is really like….
As a super yacht crew member I have been working in this industry on and off for the last 11 years. Here is a snippet of what the work is really like - than the warped view of the TV Show Below Deck.
I am lucky and grateful to have travelled the World through with my super yacht job. To have seen it all and lived a life to the fullest for many years. I guess I chose a very unconventional career. I always liked being ‘different & nothing about my life had ever been normal! I consider myself very fortunate to have been accepted as crew on board billionaire’s yachts seeing first hand how the other half live. It has been an eye opener. I am lucky I have worked for wonderful families who appreciate their staff. This industry has been my career over the last 11 years, it could be yours too. I want to give you a real insight to the industry. Not one from a 3D lense full of drama.
Yes I write songs and I sing however, I actually work on super yachts serving the super rich their morning coffees and galavanting from port to port, country to country. The variation between yachts is incredible – no two boats are the same and no yacht is perfect. In fact there is no such thing as perfect. With yachts - you will always find a high-pressured environment, that acts as a melting pot for crew tension to build over season, you will leave the industry as a perfectionist with an OCD problem and 99% of the time become a ‘yes’ person. Having to learn how to say NO when you do leave.
What does differ vastly from one yacht to the next is the level of professionalism and the management styles across the board throughout the industry and is often the case for poor crew longevity. As a yacht crew member – we work hard. We have a work hard play hard attitude – we work very long hours, we are rewarded and we have some of the best perks you could only dream of! It really is an incredible industry to be a part of. Plus we socialise a lot in our down time. It’s a very promiscuous industry and it is easy to get carried away by this lifestyle and façade. However, on the up side the skills we acquire over time are second to none - you will never meet a more hard working determined individual - yacht crew are amazing at thinking out the box and problem solving as we are put on the spot often & have many challenges we need to overcome in a short space of time. Like a surprise birthday party whilst at sea with zero present or balloons when you might be running to the sewing box to see what ribbons you have lying around and flowers and things you can decorate around posts and dangle from ceilings and scatter everywhere to jazz it up however in a classy & luxurious way. Quite the art. Along with the innate ability to smile consistently even if you have been crying 30 minutes before due to personal problems and being nostalgic away from your own family. It’s a lonely job where yacht crew long for connection and are always out socialising to escape their work environment as when we get down time we get as far away from our work environment and live it to the max!
Often on charter – even if you are feeling low somedays - you just have to place your emotions into a box put them on hold, put the boss and his holiday first and suck it up and get on with your day concealing all your emotions and locking them in a suitcase until the end of season – that is when you get ‘your time,’ during summer season it really is all about the boss. You live in and on the boat and go wherever the boat goes – often with little shore leave. Living in bunk beds for 4 months straight with little personal & private space. You are there to cater for his holiday, his guests, his family. You may be lucky enough to have a boss that actually takes interest in you as a person and wants to see some of your personality but they are rarer to find. You know when you get a good Captain and good boss – crew stay… finding both of those are the gold dust boats….I have been lucky enough to just find a yacht like this - and am over the moon about it! I won't stop my songwriting - I will be using my sparce free time during the winter to complete my album - my passion is still at the forefront of all of this.
The work we do on board yachts isn’t as glamorous as it seems – we are literally cleaning all the time. We are meticulous and use cotton buds to clean in small spaces – yes it really is that particular! Often the portrayal of yachting is just the fun stuff like the boys playing on jet skis and girls drinking champagnes and yes whilst we do get to do that on rare occasions we also have to wash, maintain & take care of everything on board. We make everything perfect after every use. We tailor make your holiday to cater for you. We can read guests like the back of our hands and try to anticipate their every need – not just taking them their favourite coffee pre-empted at 7.15am every morning but often knowing them so well we know what they want before they even ask. Our job is to provide the highest level of service you have ever seen before. It is not an easy job. We maintain their pride and joy boat as if it were their second home and we are cleaning and looking after specialist fabrics and materials like marble and stingray skins – the designs used on yachts are out of this World! We need knowledge, we need training, we take our jobs seriously, but we do have a lot of fun when we are gifted with time off. We live life to the very fullest when we are able to. However, like anything in life – it comes with a price. I miss the normality I miss a 9-5 I miss having a stable relationship in one place. Long distance and relationships in yachting are such a touchy subject and rarely work out well. We travel, we live each day like its our last and by the motto here today gone tomorrow, the guys in yachting are all sailors - so again - tread carefully - ive made that mistake before. If you want to travel stay single, be free to explore. I feel that until you are settled in your own life you won’t meet that beautiful connection you are destined to be with as many people refuse to even trial a long distance relationship. I have missed so many wonderful opportunities with some lovely people because I chose to chase career and money and materialistic things over normal acceptance of a basic salary paying high taxes and a normal job in one single place. I long for the day I am in one place and able to gig with my repertoire of original songs.
The perks of this job certainly outweigh the negatives though. We earn very good disposable income, we live, we eat & we travel like kings and we party like rockstars. We are so very fortunate to do this job that can take you around the World. If you are considering a yacht job – please get in touch – I’d be happy to offer advice and put you in touch with people that can help to make it a career. It’s a whirlwind of a career but you won’t regret it – just keep your goal of why you’re doing it and stick to it! Don’t get lost along the way…SAVE SAVE SAVE it’s easy for the materialistic nature of the industry to get hold of you and it takes time to ground yourself again. Drop me a message if you’re interested to hear more. If there is enough interest I’ll happily do a Q&A event on this topic! I am passionate about giving others the opportunity I have been lucky enough to experience.