What They Meant When They Said the Yachting Industry ‘Isn’t For Everybody’

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Ariving to dock in Bonifacio, Southern Corsica

When I first joined the ‘glamorous’ world that is the yachting industry, I would hear from people here and there that ‘this isn’t for everybody’. But I didn’t give it much thought because ‘that won’t be me’. What they don’t do is elaborate on why the industry isn’t for everyone. What are the reasons people can’t stick it out? Well, I am in the know now and am here to offer you this information. If you can identify with the majority of the following points then perhaps seeing the World via the yachting industry is not the best option for you.

  • Not everyone is good with authority/taking orders/being a slave

If you are the kind of person who doesn’t take orders well from figures of authority then you’re in for a bad time. The ugly truth is that unless you’re the captain or in another high position on board, you will be taking orders from people in charge- all day, every day. If you’ve just sat down, be ready to get back up as the chef asks you for something stowed in the saloon. You get the picture….I need this. Do that. After, do this. Have you done that?

  • Not everyone is okay with manual, mindless, physical work.

Your job on board, depending on your position, is to keep the interior clean, guests seen to and happy or the exterior clean… in a nutshell. This doesn’t sound like much but it is something that will keep you busy throughout the time you have guests on board. This is not work that will stimulate your brain. It is not a job for intellectuals- generally speaking. If you consider yourself somewhat of an intellectual and enjoy holding a job that challenges your mind, then perhaps sanding, scrubbing, polishing, wiping, ironing, packing and unpacking dishwashers is not for you. 

  • Some people need more sleep than others

As a crew member part of your job is to be awake before guests get up and go to bed once they’ve decided to call it a night. If you’re on a motor yacht, your sleep will lesson even further as you are expected to keep watch either for two hours each night or for longer every couple of nights. If you are not able to function well on little sleep, you’re f*cked, basically.

  • Living on a boat is not the same as living on land.

A lot of things must be taken into consideration when you live on a yacht. Do you like long, relaxed showers? Well there’s not always an infinite amount of water for you to use, or time for that matter. Do you hate being rushed when you’re eating? Well you eat when the guests eat and that means scoffing down in between getting up and seeing who needs what. There’s a limit to how far you can walk, so if you like long walks on the beach- or anywhere for that matter- a boat is really going to frustrate you.

  • Some people don’t play well with others.

One of the realities of living on board as part of a crew is that you will be constantly surrounded by those you work with, whether you like it or them or not. Boats don’t always have guests on board but when they do you and your crew are confined to a small area- the crew mess. If your boat is smaller, the kitchen/galley will be in the crew mess. Like mine. Three courses twice a day will be cooked in the galley- this makes my crew mess a high stress area a lot of the time. So if you don’t play well with others, if you are not actually a team player even though it says you are on your yachtie CV, then this industry is not for you. Once you are on board your crew are your teammates, family and if you’re lucky- friends. And who of you haven’t wanted to kill one or more of these people in your life before?

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My home and place of work getting down and dirty while sailing

I work on a 30 meter, private/charter sail yacht. Yachts come in all shapes and sizes and I’m sure life on a 100 meter motor yacht is different. Either way, it’s a good idea to know who you are and what you like and dislike before entering into the world of yachting. The money is very, very good and you have little to no expenses so some people are able to see past the bad. For others the money simply isn’t worth it.

The Port of Bonifacio, Corsica. Showing just how diverse boats can be.

The Port of Bonifacio, Corsica. Showing just how diverse boats can be.

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2 thoughts on “What They Meant When They Said the Yachting Industry ‘Isn’t For Everybody’

  1. Jess says:

    This is great. You’ve completely nailed it. I just had my second stew leave my boat because of the 5 reasons listed above… among other reasons. My next post is about “What I do all day” and why not everyone is cut out for the industry, do you mind if I link to this post?

    • Victoria says:

      Be my guest! As you could probably tell from the tone and content of this post, I didn’t stick it out for longer than one season 😉

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