Hello Yachties and all manner of Salty Sea Folk
Yesterday Clare, James and I went on an Allabroad road trip to Puerto Banus near Marbella on the Costa del Sol, Spain. This isn’t a quaint fishing village, but a bustling town with a large marina with the big an expensive toys of the rich and fabulous. You walk down the road and dodge Bugattis, McLarens and the sprinkling of Ferraris. The streets are lined with expensive boutiques with well known designer brands resplendent everywhere to temp in the retail hungry heiress or two.
Ok I’ve hopefully put an image in your head, but why I hear you ask were you there. A good question I would reply. We went to meet with Stefan the Skipper of a Superyacht (which has to remain nameless). We were also fortunate enough to meet Danny one of the crew members aboard. Why was this a significant visit for us here at Allabroad? All of the crew on this magnificent new 30 meter yacht chose to achieve their STCW Basic Safety Training with us here in Gibraltar, and they trust in our brand and standards that they also recently chose to return update their STCW’s with us too. Yes all of them and that includes Stefan the Skipper. So we were delighted to be invited to see how their training has paid off and what other ways it has assisted them in their professional lives.
I took the opportunity to ask Stefan and Danny a few questions that might enlighten you my reader into how a skippers mind works and the thoughts of an experienced crew member.
Q “How long have you been a Skipper, and on what type of vessels?” Stefan “Well, I’ve worked as a skipper for thirteen years. I started on smaller yachts and I’ve worked my way up to this amazing yacht. I’ve been the skipper for the same owners now for ten years and this is their third yacht”.
Q “In your experience, what would you be looking for in a potential new crew member?” Stefan “Do you like to clean? Really do you like to clean? There’s cleaning then there’s yacht cleaning. It’s hard work. So I’m looking for someone who is realistic. This is not a holiday, this is a job. They need to be able to demonstrate that this is clear in their head. They also need boundaries and most importantly discretion. The owner can be friendly and you can be lucky with some owners who will treat you like you’re part of the family, but you are not. You need to remember to keep your professionalism and don’t over step the invisible line, this is where a green crew members can get it very wrong”.
Now Danny is an infectious character who was constantly chuckling, giggling and laughing so it was turn for his industry insight
Q “Danny how did you manage to come to be working on this yacht?” Danny “I was working on another yacht nearby. The owners decided to sell and Stefan asked that I come work with him. I think he knows that I work hard”. Stefan “Did I ever say that?” laughing. It's clear to see that there is a good working relationship and friendly vibe on this yacht.
Q “What advice would you give yourself if you were starting out in the business?” Danny “Always ask. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t go and do something if you’re not sure. There’s lots of experience on board and we would rather help you get it right than have to clear up the mess made. Be that an actual mess or a dangerous situation because you didn’t get it right”.
Stefan then finished by adding that many people come into the business wanting blue skies, blue seas and the dream. They don’t come understanding that once we are out there at sea it can be dark, dangerous, and scary. Sometimes things happen quickly, from rough seas to running low on fuel and mechanical failures.
The STCW is great for giving you the starting certification to enter this rewarding industry with a greater understanding, as well as enabling you to be able to deal with emergency situations on board confidently. To succeed you also need to be hard working, have utmost discretion, a positive can do attitude and above all not be afraid to ask questions.
On a little foot note when you do come for your STCW Basic Safety Training on one of our Superyacht Crew Training Courses you could well be on a week long interview. Kyle who was on the same intake as Stefan updating secured his first Superyacht position based on his conduct during his course. So remember to always, always be professional.
We thanked them for allowing us a visit, wished them a fabulous season ahead and we then went on to tackle the Puerto Banus supercar traffic after a cheeky lunch stop break where Clare was still distracted by the imaginary engineer onboard (we do like to wind her up and get her into trouble with the boss).