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How to get started in Yachting-P4 "Got my first job!"

Hello again.

Before we delve straight into part 4, if you haven’t read the previous blogs of this series then give them a read first. P.s I’m sitting in the beautiful city of Turin writing this blog post on a weekend off, just one of the perks to yachting.


So, you’ve secured your first job in yachting, congratulations. This is when the fun and hard work begins. Joining your first yacht can be daunting, scary and you may feel a little bit like you aren’t ready. It’ll be grand. Absorb as much of the information your new crew are sharing with you. No one remembers everything first time round lord knows I didn’t but you will get there.

Working on a yacht is a lot like working in a small company, in the sense that you work in a small team to achieve one goal. Only working on a yacht isn’t 9-5 and you don’t go home after work. The hardest thing to adjust to is living at work, alarms go off in the middle of the night and you are always on duty. Even if you aren’t on “watch” you are always on because you live and work in an environment where things are always changing. Checking the weather is something that should become a part of your everyday, your superiors will be. If you know it’s going to rain and be windy then they’ll have more of idea of what is possible to achieve in the workday.


What to expect when you first join a yacht?


Once you’re onboard and have seen your cabin, your captain or first officer will walk you through a safety familiarisation of the yacht. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during this, it’s good to be inquisitive. If you don’t do a familiarisation in the first 24-36 hours on board a yacht this is a Red Flag.

If you’ve joined a yacht without receiving a contract before hand or even seen a contract this for me is also a Red Flag.

You’ll be officially signed onto the vessel in the official ships logbook and the captain will ask for your passport and seaman’s discharge book this is normal.

The next stage is normally being assigned uniform and meeting all the crew. Now I’m not saying this is the exact order because yachts have busy schedules and sometimes things don’t happen immediately.


If you’ve never lived in a small space before on a yacht, you’ll need to get used to a few things:

  • Sharing a cabin- possibly someone of the other gender. Which is fine, as long as both individuals agree to sharing.

  • Limited storage space- you’ll get good at making the most of a small cupboard (Tetris level 3000)

  • Always latching all cupboard and doors. You now live on vessel that will always move!

  • Tidying up after yourself, it’s not your home. It’s a space you occupy treat it with respect. It’s not the stew’s job to wipe up your toast crumps!

  • Sharing a bathroom can be tricky if you’re not used to it, drying and cleaning the shower will go down well with the interior.


Mel’s Red Flags for a First Yacht;


1. No contract prior to joining or discussion of wages and insurance is a bad sign.

2. No safety familiarisation in the first two days of joining a vessel.

3. Not being officially signed onto the vessel.

4. Not being shown the ships standing orders and safety management systems within the first two days of joining.

5. You should be made fully aware of the insurance you are covered by in your contract.

6. Doing any dangerous works without filling in an introduction to permits to work or a permit to work itself.


This list could go on and on but these are the big deal breakers for me, the best advice someone gave me a long time ago was to trust my gut feeling. If you step on board a yacht and you feel that it isn’t safe or one or multiple of the above things apply. I’d start asking some questions.


I'm not the perfect crew member and nor when I started out but I did learn a hell of a lot from working with great people. Sharing this information with others is why I created Shapedbythesea. Take a look at the poll below and tell me how joining your first yacht went. I hope you've enjoyed reading this series of "how to get started in Yachting" if you have questions or what to know more get in touch via the website or reach out on instagram @shapedbythesea_.

As always keep smiling, laughing and loving the sea 🤍🌊


How did joining your first Yacht go?

  • Great, everyone was super friendly.

  • Terrifying, no one was welcoming.

  • Overwhelming but good to be onboard

  • Took me a while to settle in.







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1 Comment


Well done Melissa , really enjoying reading about your yachting life.


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