Thinking of working on a superyacht or cruise ship? The appeal of seeing the world while earning a secure income is easy to see.

It can be an exciting career for a US citizen. Whether you’re dipping your toes in the water as a first-time maritime worker or passing through as a seasoned sailor, you’ll need to make sure you are savvy with various aspects of maritime life. You’ll need to stay on top of the visa situation for different countries. For example, to pass through Australia, you’ll need to secure an MCV visa

Understanding the industry

When getting started, you’ll require a solid understanding of how the maritime industry differs from others. It’s a competitive industry so you do need to ensure you can afford to get the right training so that employers will consider you. 

It goes without saying that they will care about your work ethic. But don’t forget that your passport and your ability to get visas will also be considered. 

Starting your superyacht job

Yacht crew members often find themselves dedicated to long and demanding hours, yet the compensation can be exceptionally rewarding. Your overall work experience can significantly hinge on the personality of the yacht’s owner, particularly since many superyachts are meticulously customized to meet their exact preferences and desires. While some owners may have exacting standards and expectations, others may adopt a more relaxed and easygoing approach, creating a diverse spectrum of working environments in this exclusive industry.

They may expect the yacht to be spotless, as bird droppings, salt spray, and water spots quickly add up. So, if maintenance is part of your role, you can expect to be up before dawn taking care of that.

You’ll need to be certain you can adapt to the lifestyle of living in close quarters, serving guests, and being away from home.

Location is key

Before applying for jobs, get a decent idea of where you want to work – and where you can work. A valid passport is an absolute must before you even apply for a maritime job. Only one-third of Americans report having a US passport that’s in-date! You can apply for a new passport or renewal from USPS. You can also process your passport photo from USPS along with the application.”

Think qualifications

Depending on your role, you will probably need certain qualifications. For example, a chef should have all the relevant culinary training. Deckhands will need certifications in seamanship and safety. 

Future employers will also want to know that you’ve got the necessary licenses, such as the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping license. 

What is STCW and who needs it?

The STCW is a worldwide qualification for everyone who works on a vessel that is over 24 meters long. There are four mandatory courses included:

  1. Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities
  2. BASIC Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting
  3. Personal Survival Techniques
  4. Elementary First Aid

All four can usually be taken in one week at an STCW training center. There’s an additional course that isn’t part of the week but must still be taken: Proficiency in Security Awareness. 

A maritime career can be hugely rewarding for the person who falls in easily with the lifestyle. You’ll need to be a dedicated worker with an organized mindset.