Yachting; The red flags to look for 🚩

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Yachting is fab, don't get me wrong. But when you're looking for your first job, you need to know the red flags to look out for. I've had a few people contact me recently asking me to discuss this topic in more detail... so here we are. I hope you find it useful and please remember one thing...


Your safety is number one.

I can't stress that enough. If you don't feel good, if you don't feel safe onboard, if you're being asked to do things you don't feel comfortable with, you don't need to be there. You can leave.


Please don't think 'I need to push through and stick out the season', you really don't. No one will think any less of you and it's really not worth going through that for the sake of a season experience. There are plenty of other boats out there, even if it takes some time to find a job. Your safety is priority.


There's a difference between feeling tired (because let's be honest, yachting can be tough) and feeling unsafe. So a few things you need to know.


Communication when recruiting

‣ You should know who you're talking to, details about the position and size of the boat.

‣ Some boats may not give you the name of the boat, due to confidentiality until you've signed an NDA (non disclosure agreement), which is very normal.


But before joining a boat, you should know:

‣ Where you're going

‣ The name of the contact (whoever has hired you)

‣ What position they are

‣ The details of your salary/ leave/ medical coverage

‣ If you're told you'd be sharing a cabin with the opposite sex, if this makes you feel uncomfortable, you don't need to take the job. There are other jobs out there.


Red flags to watch for:

🚩 If the person you're communicating with won't give you their name/ details.

🚩 If they're asking you to get yourself to the boat (without reimbursing you after).

🚩 Dodgy text messages from 'captains' asking for copies of your passport/ CV. See if they have a boat email address/ where they are contacting you from. (Emailing you is fine, or phoning you, followed up with an email. Apparently some agencies are now texting too)

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Being onboard

Once you arrive onboard, you should be safe and under the Captains protection. If for any reason you're getting:

🚩 Inappropriate/ abusive comments or actions from people.

🚩 No support from your HOD (head of department; Chief Stew/ Chief Officer/ Captain)

🚩 Made to do jobs you don't feel comfortable with (e.g. driving the boat on your own, massaging guests when you're not a masseuse etc), speak up. Please DO NOT feel like you have to keep quiet. There are people you can talk to (Captain, management, DPA (designated person ashore), Flag State, MCA etc.)


‣ The Captain should always listen to your concerns & if you're STILL being made to do these things, ask yourself if it really worth staying? Because I can guarantee the answer will be NO.


‣ As far as i'm aware, your passport should always be kept in the safe onboard by either the Captain or the Purser (Pursers are usually just on bigger boats), but your passport should not be with a random person ashore.


Getting to & from the boat

Once employed, it's the boats responsibility to get you to and from the boat safely.


‣ This might mean they will book your flights & transport OR on smaller boats, you may be asked to initially book/ pay for the flight, then get reimbursed for it after.

‣ If you resign and leave the boat, you are still their responsibility until you get home and in through the door.


I don't mean to scare you or be the barer of bad news, but i've had a few people come to me recently with stories similar to these, so I wanted to clear things up & make you aware of what's normal and what's not normal.


If you aren't feeling safe and happy on a boat, then it's totally okay to leave. It's not worth putting yourself at risk for a few months experience. Yachting is meant to be a good time, where you work hard, spend time with good people, learn lots and get paid for it... NOT a time where you're sleeping with your door locked because you're concerned about the people onboard.

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If you feel like something isn't right, then it's probably not. Trust your intuition and look after yourself.


If you're in doubt or want clarification on something, please reach out to either me on IG, or someone else in the yachting community. There are plenty of agents, great yachting IG accounts, yachting Facebook group admins you can ask who will give you an honest answer.


Love Georgia xxx


P.s. if you're new to the industry, you can download my free Junior Crew starter guide here.


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