Crew Life » Career & Training » Placing Green Crew - A Recruiter’s Point of View

Placing Green Crew - A Recruiter’s Point of View

The world of yachting, known for journeys to stunning locations aboard grand vessels, was once a more hidden pastime for the well-off. However, this exclusive world has been thrust into the limelight with the surge of social media, attracting a growing number of youngsters who wish to forge a career on the high seas.

The old-fashioned method of yacht crew job hunting, where hopefuls could wander the docks is now in the past, but the growing awareness of the yachting industry is leading to a larger pool of candidates, prompting a shift in focus during the recruitment process. Many would argue that the greater awareness of yachting as a career is positive, but has it also set up lofty expectations among aspiring crew?

In this article brought to you by the experts behind the career guidance platform Academy by Ephemeris, we explore the challenges of crew recruitment with input from crew placement specialists Simon Ladbrooke, Captain Consultant at Quay Crew, and Louisa Gallimore, Crew Manager at Northrop & Johnson.

The picture on the ground

Historically, crew looking for their first job really had to immerse themselves in yachting hubs to gain a better understanding of the profession and what life on board as a crew member truly entails.

However, with greater exposure and a shift in public perceptions, newcomers nowadays often step into this world with expectations that do not align with the reality on the ground. Influenced heavily by social media, television programs, and sometimes even false promises made by unscrupulous training schools, many enter the industry with unrealistic dreams. Enticed by glamorous destinations, competitive salaries and generous tips, it’s no wonder that the reality on the ground causes many to give up or quit before their careers even get started.

For those in the business of placing crew, this calls for a more nuanced approach. As well as checking qualifications and references, increasingly the recruitment process involves managing expectations and ensuring an individual is a fit within a given team. 

“The yachting industry has been oversold to a lot of entry-level crew, where they're being given this promise of an amazing lifestyle and unrealistic tips,” says Louisa Gallimore. “They all come from a very young age, ill-informed about how competitive it is, and with sky-high expectations. It's not their fault, they've just been oversold by some of these training centers, and it’s a shame.’’

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Identifying value in crew training schools

Due to the growing interest to work on board yachts, there has also been a rapid increase in the number of training academies available. However, distinguishing between those providing professional, accredited courses and those primarily interested in profit can be a challenge. This underscores the importance of thorough research, nurturing your curiosity, and seeking advice to identify the training centers that properly prepare you for a professional career. 

The standard of training can vary widely, and it’s important to identify academies that provide not just theoretical knowledge but practical training in a realistic setting, ensuring you're as well-prepared as possible for the demands of the job.

Academy by Ephemeris is a beacon to guide you in the right direction. The all-in-one career guidance platform eliminates the need for time-consuming research, making it easier for students to find professional training courses that not only equip them with the tools they need to get started, but also provide a realistic roadmap for a long and sustainable career.

‘’I was doing my yacht master in northern Wales on a winter's day with a massive tide running, whereas others were doing it on a flat, calm day with no tide,” says Simon Ladbrooke. I know who got the most out of the course, and who probably came away a more competent boat handler.’

What do crew recruiters look for in a candidate?

With the abundance of online information, it can be difficult for students to discern what is of value, and what’s not, and this is where Academy by Ephemeris is an indispensable guide. Instead of fumbling in the dark trying to figure out what courses you need to take, or the realities of life on board, Academy by Ephemeris makes light work of everything you need to know.

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Entry level credentials for yacht crew

To work at sea on a yacht, you must obtain the STCW certificate, short for 'Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping'. This course is essential for understanding the basics of maritime safety and includes five key modules:

  • Personal Survival Techniques
  • Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention
  • Elementary First Aid
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
  • Proficiency in Security Awareness

Once you’ve completed the course, the certificate remains valid for five years. As it nears expiration, you'll need to undertake an STCW Refresher Course specifically focusing on Fire Fighting and Sea Survival to renew your qualification.

Additionally, as a legal requirement, you must pass a 'Seafarers Medical Certificate' examination to assess your health and physical condition, ensuring you are fit to work at sea.

Whether you’re a newbie looking to get started, or a seasoned crew member looking for the nearest and best training school to renew your certificates, Academy by Ephemeris directs you to the most suitable options.

Transferable skills

Unexpected situations are a given when you're at sea, requiring swift and decisive action. Knowing this, recruiters often search for candidates who bring more to the table than just the primary qualifications and skills of their given role. For example, having a bosun who can apply their carpentry skills when needed, or a stewardess capable of stepping into the kitchen should the chef fall ill, is extremely valuable.

Therefore, when crafting your CV, think creatively and list all the skills you possess that could be beneficial in any given scenario at sea. Showcasing your versatility will make you stand out and increase your appeal as a candidate.

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Life experience

Life experiences, such as extensive travel, exposure to different cultures, or living away from home, suggest that you're more likely to be able to handle the demands of a profession that often involves spending long stretches in remote locations. These experiences are significant as they give recruiters a better understanding of your background and who you are. For those fresh out of school, consider listing your talents, hobbies or interests.


Personality is a crucial consideration when placing crew, given that you’ll be working round-the-clock with other people, both colleagues and guests. Recruiters therefore try to match an individual to the particular operation and the existing crew to ensure a good team fit where everyone plays to their strengths.

“I remember this guy on my last job, he constantly made mistakes and didn't quite get it practically,” says Simon. “But as a crew member, and as a person that you'd want to have around the breakfast table, and someone who could be great with a crew who are a little bit rundown and possibly saw things a little bit negatively, he lifted everyone's spirits every single day - that shot above everything else.”

Essentially, it’s all about making informed decisions, whether you’re a crew member with years of experience looking to take the next step in your career, or a newcomer eager to figure out if life on board matches your expectations.

Specifically for newcomers, the team at Academy by Ephemeris endorses the Progressive Crew Career Programme (PCCP). This comprehensive e-learning platform provides an authoritative foundation in the essentials of the superyacht industry. PCCP offers newcomers a realistic view of job roles and luxury yacht operations across all departments, equipping them with the knowledge they need to launch a successful yachting career, plus additional opportunities for hands-on application and professional growth through practical training and apprenticeships.

In conclusion, Academy by Ephemeris streamlines the process for candidates entering the industry, eases the operational burden of career guidance for crew agencies, and helps to elevate the standards of tomorrow’s crew.

For more information about the progressive crew career programme and the Academy by Ephemeris platform, click here.

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