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Dock Walking – Getting a Job on a Super Yacht
What is a harbor cruise?
Docking is the process of walking around a dock, boarding a boat, talking to crew members on board with the goal of securing any of these; day job, permanent job or leave them with one of your CV.
For me this turned out to be one of the most confusing aspects of getting a job on a big boat…
Monday morning 0630, I wake up early to look forward to the morning. I live in a crew house with many other ‘wannabe’ super yacht crew, all desperately trying to get a job on a superyacht, all competing for the same job on a smaller yacht. I wake up in the morning, I want to be the first to take a shower (before people start queuing) and shave my first day and walk along the docks of Antibes. Presentation is important in this industry and my clothes are left and laid out the night before. I shower, shave and eat breakfast, my appetite is low because my nerves fill my stomach with some problem. I pack my bag with the essentials, sun cream and water, before leaving the staff house with my recently printed CVs and references in a clear plastic folder. I want to be the first one out of the crew house and onto the dock so maybe I can catch the first people on board.
It’s a fresh morning, the salty smell of the sea lingers in the still air that surrounds the narrow cobbled streets of Antibes. The sun is about to rise, the sky is clear with white runways streaked against the blue background, there is a chill in the air to indicate that autumn is approaching. Leaving the back roads and being welcomed by many selected boats, all overlooked by the beautiful golden fortress that looks down on the port of Antibes, the rising sun emphasizes the golden color of the fortress. As I walked along the harbor the sea was moving in the wind pulling the leftover pizza from the torn bag. The water is calm and the town is empty, it’s 0730 and the harbor is quiet.
I walk towards the International Dock, home to the world’s largest yacht harbor, passing the superyachts, which by home standards are still incredibly large yachts. My anxiety is growing as I approach the entrance to the main port, my heart is racing and my fear of rejection grows as I get closer. I pass through the barricade at the open gate looking like a schoolboy about to board his first day at school, dressed in rags, printed clothes and carrying my portfolio of CVs; I certainly look like a novice. As I entered the International Dock I was greeted by a large boat with the words ‘DILBAR’ written in large letters on the side in bright silver, the view of the water sparkling from the top of the boat and the front of the boat inwards. distance; my heart rate increases a lot and I try to convince myself that it is not a good day to walk on the port and I will try tomorrow, because it will be easier then… I know that I have to continue.
When I’m at the dock at 0735, there’s no one around the security bar and they don’t seem interested in my intentions here this morning. I sit next to a flower bed that overlooks the vast array of boats in front of me, all anchored in the back (the back of the boat facing the port), I struggle to comprehend the change of worlds I am experiencing in just two days. Two days ago I was working in the office and watching the rain fall outside on the busy road … now I sit, idle, admiring these wonderful boats, and the blue sea and the sky around and the back drop of that old golden fort.
Slowly the dock walkers appear, some seem to be experienced dock walkers, walking with a certain confidence and a knowledgeable heir, some I speak to politely and briefly, some people just look at the yachts and pass by without acknowledging.
It’s 0745 and I decide to walk to the other end of the harbor and start walking on the far side of the dock, hoping to catch the crew before they get distracted by other dock walkers. The big yachts are at the beginning, I hope these will attract the attention of the dockers so I choose the smaller yachts first (still over 60 meters!). When I get to the end of the harbor, the boats come to life, the staff on the steps can be seen from the side doors of the yacht, walking along the side of the boat to the stern (rear). I see the crew coming out, the moment I’ve been waiting for so long, and my anxiety rises again. My heart is beating now to the point where I can feel the pulse and pulse of blood around my body, a feeling I haven’t had since I stood up to speak so well a month ago. My mouth is dry and I can feel the sweat building up in my armpits, I walk closer to the first boat, the worker looks at me, I think I caught him, and I smile, before looking down and walking to the second boat. raise the flag on the back of the boat, I’m sure they saw me, but my English polite nature prevents me from interrupting them and I convince myself they must be working enough so I have to look elsewhere. As I leave, I realize that I have failed at the first challenge of looking for a job on a boat.
With my disappointed anchor but my heart rate slowing down a little, I continue to the dock, I am determined not to panic at the next boat, I swear that this will be the only yacht I do not approach, a new beginning…
The third boat together, someone also pulls out the flag from the back of the boat, and approaches, the heartbeat increases, but boldly calls out to the head, “are you looking for the crew?” The young man looks down, smiles and informs that he has employees. Despite the rejection I feel very accomplished, I have overcome my fear of applying for a job on one of these yachts and I feel ready to start my journey to find a job on a luxury yacht.
That morning I managed to talk to the crew on five different boats that morning. Back at the staff house I feel more confident than I did when I went out this morning and I’m glad I managed to present the CVs. I’m done with my morning port, the start of many other ports is ahead.
My port walking skills improved with practice, it took me a week to gain the confidence to do it and let the anxiety go away. The process went well after a while, I became more careful when asking if they wanted a day job or new employees, I also managed to leave a lot of CVs and references with yachts, even though they weren’t looking for employees at the time. I always tried to speak politely to the crew before departure, hoping to develop a respectful relationship, which I hoped would help me stand out from the crowd. I was surprised to see the staff being so helpful and welcoming as a porter. The reality is that most people on board will at some point endure the journey in port and understand that it is an important part of getting a job on a yacht, sympathizing with you and helping you where they can.
My port tour took me to many ports, Antibes, Cannes, Monaco, Nice, St Tropez, among several others. The best I found were Antibes and Monaco. I spent many hours walking long distances on the docks, handing out many CVs and speaking politely to many colleagues. Sometimes it was frustrating, because there was no direction that came from my efforts. I always tried to stay positive and keep moving forward, although sometimes it was difficult and I knew that the clock was ticking fast, approaching the end of another season; boats will soon leave the Mediterranean for the Caribbean.
However, hard work, dedication and patience eventually paid off. I have a day job on a couple of yachts that put my experience on my CV, which made me more employable.
Little did I know that my dock days were about to end when I approached another boat shortly after it docked one evening. The practice of applying for a job is followed by pleasantries, I gave the worker my CV, He asked me about my qualifications and he was disappointed that I didn’t have my yacht master’s qualification, he continues to tell me that the Captain only hires workers. have this qualification. I left disappointed because the boat had a fun ride and the crew seemed very friendly. The next morning while walking on the dock I passed the boat that I had submitted my CV to yesterday, the worker called me and offered me a job. This progressed from a one-day job, to a one-week job, which led to a trial period, which led to a permanent job and all from one unfortunate day of talking and giving one CV to the person.
It’s a wonderful feeling, to find work on a luxury yacht, long behind you from the time of sailing in the harbor. Working on that boat and moving all the stuff on board, as I went from dock to full time member was a day that filled me with great pride. Going from an office job two months ago and now stepping aboard to start a new life working on one of the world’s top yachts was an exciting time in my life.
Looking back, port navigation was the most difficult part of the job search process. But it became easier with time and practice, you have to overcome the fear of asking for the first yacht.
As humans I feel that we need to be open to embracing fear and uncertainty, because it is often the things that make us feel uncomfortable, fear or dread that can lead to some of the joys and opportunities in your life…
… you never know, that one decision you make, one conversation or one person you meet can change your life or your career and take your life on a new exciting journey.
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