A global network of Yacht brokerages and manufacturers has asked me to compile a list of delivery captains. They are growing tired of paying for boo-boos made by inexperienced “captains”. I am seeking approximately twenty names for this list.
1600 ton Master Oceans
Master of Towing Oceans or Near Coastal
Documented time as Master or Chief Mate
Membership in the Master of Towing Vessels Association (yes, it is an exclusive list, and a genuine attempt to increase our ranks). Membership has its rewards.
Please contact me if you’d like to join MTVA and/or be included on this list.
Why only towing masters? I don;t see why any kind of yacht delivery would need any kind of towing endorsement. I would love to get into something like those deliveries but have no towing experience. How about adding plain old master 1600 ton oceans to the list?
A valid question indeed, JP. The people who contacted me specified that as one of their requirements for this particular list. I am helping them facilitate their needs around this. I assume that there are similar lists out there that don’t require the MOTV license.
At great risk of being accused of fomenting discontent, I have to ask who or what this “global network” is?
I am very much involved in the megayacht business and I can tell you that the market for “delivery captains” is not large, nor is it open to the general public. And we sure as heck don’t contact a “network” to find delivery captains.
New builds requiring more than about a 500 ton US license almost exclusively come ready made with a captain who has been in attendance since the keel was laid. The small number of existing boats that make the crossing between the Med and US East Coast or Caribbean on their own bottom at the change of the charter season tend to keep it in the family so to speak. If the resident captain chooses not to make the crossing he hires a friend or upgrades the mate if he is qualified.
There are hundreds of small boat deliveries going on up and down the coasts but these are mostly private boats which don’t require a license at all or certainly don’t call for 1600 ton tickets. If this network has decided this is the standard they will apply, that is their prerogative but it is a self-inflicted one.
If nothing else, membership in a towing fraternity will automatically exclude most applicants since it is difficult enough to convince owners that “commercial guys” are clean and smooth enough to grace a wheelhouse in the great white fleet.
There are many yacht crewing agencies for those interested in this industry.
But speaking from the position of one who deals with manning issues on large yachts every day I don’t mind expressing a healthy skepticism and suggest that others do likewise before sending personal information to an unknown destination.
Those yacht crewing agencies I have contacted all want you to have lots of experience on fancy mega yachts. I only have experience on normal, not perfectly spotless type, regular family type boats. What do I have to do, work as a deckhand for years to learn how to do expert fiberglass repairs and leave not a speck of lint on the windows before I can sail as a mate??? I can say I have a lot of experience on different boats and a pretty decent boat handler, good shipmate and easy to get along with, can also hold up my end of a conversation and think from my previous experience with the less expensive type yachts that I would do fine on one of those deliveries or even a regular job but how to break into the field???
Getting a start on a yacht is not easy, as you have discovered. It is as tough in this business now as it is in the rest of the maritime industry. There are a lot of folks looking for work and someone who doesn’t have a list of known yachts on his resume has a very tough time even getting an interview.
The main reason is that yachting is theater, not seafaring. The candidates for deckhand jobs are sent over from central casting, they are young male models with British accents. They don’t have or need seafaring experience. They are dispatched by young girls who, if they have ever worked on a boat, were yacht stewardesses before getting hired as a crew placement agent. They don’t know anything about offshore experience and are, quite frankly, put off by it because there is an inbred fear of “commercial guys” in this business, especially in the deck department.
Most yacht captains and mates hold an MCA yacht limited license. One of these tickets lets a guy with less seatime and training than an AB with RFPNW serve as master of a 3000 ton vessel carrying passengers for hire anywhere in the world. These guys are not comfortable performing in view of an experienced commercial mariner so they would prefer to hire someone with less knowledge or skill.
If you want a mate’s job, see if you can get a Cayman Islands endorsement on whatever license you currently hold. Chances are they will give you an endorsement a level higher than your underlying certificate since the service will be for yachts. Go looking for mate’s jobs, don’t even mention deckhand. Emphasize any yacht or charter boat experience you have and provide checkable references to those jobs. Downplay the mudboat time but highlight your formal training, except for DP and oil field specific training - they don’t know what it is and it scares them.
There are no large yacht delivery programs but there are lots of scams. If you want to deliver boats, you may find work pushing sportsfishers or small yachts up and down the coast but nearly every one of those jobs is filled by word of mouth between owners and brokers. Cultivate a relationship with a few boat brokers, they are the ones who place delivery crews onboard if they don’t want to do it themselves. You are more likely to win the Lotto than to get a delivery job on a large yacht. The large yacht industry is a closed shop in that aspect and the only way you will get in that door is by physically walking through it for a few years.
If you really want to work on yachts, come to Fort Lauderdale and walk the docks looking for day work on boats undergoing refit. You will get to know the people and they will get to know you. That is how it works, especialy these days.
Good luck and don’t give up if this is what you want to do. It is really an amazing business if you can get into it.
NOW we understand where Steamer gets his point of view on watchstanding…was that you taking your half out of the middle in Hell Gate with the 250’ yacht? At the expense of the 500’ unit with the 100k barrels of gasoline?