Private Boat Captain Jobs - How to Find Work Opportunities

Dimitris Tsapis
May 8, 2021

Finding job opportunities in the yachting industry is something many seafarers struggle with. Not only are there “unwritten” rules you need to abide by, but also many variables to keep in mind. Hence, when you start looking for work, you have to be adequately prepared.

Captains are not an exception, especially in the early stages of their careers. While experience and knowledge are an important part of the equation, many overlook the importance of preparation, presentation, and knowing where to look. This, paired with the high, pandemic-related, unemployment rates, makes job seeking more challenging than ever.

This post will help you navigate the job market while walking you through practices that set you up for success. By the end of this article, you will have a better idea of the steps you need to follow to find private boat captain jobs. Let’s start with the basics.

Contents:

How to find yacht captain jobs - The initial setup

private boat captain jobs

Before you start looking for work, there are certain practices you can follow to increase your odds of success. 

Prepare a resume focused on the position you are looking to get

When structuring your yacht captain resume, try to put yourself in the position of the recruiter. What are they looking for? What is most important for them? Obviously, the priorities will differ depending on the role, but private boat captain jobs usually have the following in common:

  • A CV shouldn’t be very lengthy. The application should lead to an interview where you can explain more about each aspect of your resume. Hence, prepare as if that is the goal. Cut it down to 1-2 pages and only mention experience and certifications relevant to the role.
  • Location and language are important. Private yacht owners usually prioritize captains that live in close proximity to the location they indicate on the advert. In most cases, they will even mention it. Additionally, an excellent command of English is always required, no matter your nationality.
  • Personal info and references. Make sure to add as many references as possible, to help the recruiter understand your fit for a certain role. This is as much related to work experience as it is to personality. You will, of course, be able to talk more about this during the interviews.

>>Related: How to become a yacht captain<<

Prepare for your interview(s)

The recruiter will most likely host the (initial) introduction interview, where your CV and leadership skills will be further analyzed. 

In this stage, you should be able to illustrate what sets you apart from other candidates with similar experience and skills. In business, people call it a Unique Selling Point. In this case, you may call it a sales pitch. Storytelling is an important skill here.

Questions to prepare for during the first interview:

  • Who are you? (an introduction about yourself)
  • What sets you apart / makes you different from the other candidates?
  • What is the salary you expect to earn?
  • Why did you apply for this specific job advert?

After the first round of interviews, you will need to qualify for a second interview with the boat owner (or representative) or a more qualified individual that can dig deeper into your expertise and qualifications. At this stage, it is important to prepare for technical questions related to your role, as well as case studies/scenarios where your theoretical skills will be tested.

Get references from boat owners

Private boat captain jobs are different than charters. While the latest focuses more on your theoretical and practical knowledge, the formed also looks into your character and personality. After all, chances are that you will be on board, together with the owners and the crew, for extended periods of time. 

For that reason, you should try to collect written references from owners of boats you previously worked on. You need to at least have a detailed reference from your latest employer. If you are not in contact with the owner of the vessel, then there should be a representative that was your main point of communication; they can write the reference in this case.

If you work on a charter and wish to explore private boat captain jobs, collecting references is best done in a different way. In this case, it might be best to collect emails and letters of past clients, compile them into a “feedback document”, and keep it at hand in case your communication skills become a topic of conversation.

Contact your network and let them know you are looking for a job

Having a strong network in the yachting industry does not only boost your credibility but also helps you find opportunities that you would otherwise miss out on. We all know that word-of-mouth recommendations are stronger than any job application, which is why you should reach out to your personal network and ask them to spread the word. While there are no guarantees, it can be a great boost to your efforts.

Yacht recruitment agencies

Yacht recruitment agencies connect job seekers with yacht owners (or reps). By going through such qualified platforms, both parties are exposed to better opportunities in a faster and more efficient way. While most platforms require independent attention (manual searching) some will offer a middleman or representative that will take care of the job-seeking process. Naturally, the latest will also come at a higher cost. 

The following agencies are widely recognized and the yachting industry and are often used by private boat reps. Once again, it is important to step into their shoes; Boat captains for hire? 

Start by signing up at the following platforms:

  • YPI crew - YPI is an internationally acclaimed yacht recruitment agency. Apart from private boat captain jobs, they also offer a wide range of options for owner reps looking to hire a crew. Of course, the availability of options comes through individuals that join the platform and fill in the required information to increase their visibility in the industry.
  • SuperYacht Crew Agency - SYCA is a popular platform that helps individuals find work on luxury vessels. It is MCA certified and also offers the possibility to find a temporary placement, all through trusted representatives.
  • Bluewater - Popular yachting platform that offers multiple services, among which a category that enables yacht crew to find work. While the availability of positions is significantly lower than other options in this list, it is still a platform worth considering.
  • Yacrew - Yacrew is very meticulous when it comes to the available job openings on its platform. All positions are manually reviewed and approved by the platform’s representatives, which in turn increases your odds of success.
  • Yotspot - This platform enables employers to post open job positions only when signing up for a premium profile (paid account). This increases the odds of connecting with serious professionals, which makes your search more efficient. The platform also features a networking app.
  • Cotton crews - Open captain positions for private vessels and charter yachts, ranging from 20-80m. You will need to download the official app to start applying for jobs.
  • TheCrewNetwork - Complete your private profile and start applying for jobs. If you make it to the shortlist you will be contacted by a rep of the platform for an interview. Note that TCN only offers jobs on vessels 24m+.

Additionally, if you want to see an extensive list of superyacht recruitment agencies all around the world, click here.

Other ways to find private boat captain jobs

  • Indeed.com - Indeed is one of the most popular employment websites that offer free access to anyone looking for a particular position across any industry. Captain’s positions on private boats are available as well, which makes it a great platform to browse through once you have already applied to all the agencies mentioned above.
  • Forums - Niche discussion boards are always a great place to discover work opportunities. The same is true for the yachting industry. You can start by checking the forums that we mention in this post and, if needed, expand to more generic options like Craigslist.
  • Facebook Groups - By far the most underrated way to get a job on a yacht is by joining Facebook communities. This method is ideal for all types of jobs on the boat, as well as yacht delivery jobs, and captains can find lots of opportunities by connecting to groups in their region. Here are a few you can start with:

Summarizing the best practices

As we are coming close to the end of this article, let’s briefly summarize the key points you need to remember:

  1. Before you start applying, set yourself up for success - Improve your CV, apply at jobs that match your criteria, get some solid references, and prepare for interview questions.
  2. Apply at all relevant yacht recruitment platforms and optimize your profile to increase your odds of success.
  3. Use additional employment platforms, forums, and Facebook groups that are relevant to your industry.

And that’s it! Now you know how to kickstart the process and focus on what is most effective. Enjoy the job hunt!