Finding a job on a yacht can be challenging for newbies, especially as the yachting industry is highly saturated and crowded with green crew. So what is the best method of getting onboard a yacht? Is travelling to Antibes really the best option? Is dock walking outdated? Is there any other options out there for green crew? CrewPass has asked a handful of yachting professionals and yachties to see what their opinions are!
What is dockwalking?
Dockwalking is the process of walking along a dock, approaching yachts and crew to bag day work, permanent work, or to hand out their CVs. It is undoubtedly the most common route for any crew member looking to get a job on a yacht. The most established location for dockwalking would be in the South of France, Europe. However, dockwalking has become increasingly difficult to access the docks for numerous reasons.
Why do crew dock walk in Antibes?
One of the main reasons crew dockwalk in Antibes is to make themselves accessible and readily available for day work and interviews. If you live further away, it may be helpful to temporarily move to Antibes to remove travel time. Living in Antibes offers a great opportunity to socialise with many other people who are in the same boat as you.
On Instagram, CrewPass asked if it is worth travelling to Antibes to dockwalk and this is one of our responses:
“Definitely! Even if it’s to do some day work, you get a feel for working on a yacht”
If you are planning to go dockwalking in the Med, the best time to head down there is as early as February/March as well as April. You will need to get up pretty early for dockwalking (around 7/8 ish). Please do not approach crew on their lunch breaks or over the weekends as they will not be happy being disturbed. Plus, make sure you dress appropriately, ready for work! Crew are expected to wear white polo shirts, deck shoes, skorts and your hair should also look professional.
“Dockwalking can be vital for putting a face to a cv. Seeing green crew out and about looking for work can only be a positive thing, when their cv does come through for a role, the crew may remember them as a friendly face from the dock previously and it could be the difference of getting an interview or not. Crew should be smart about Dockwalking, don’t break the law and don’t bother crew who clearly aren’t interested in your cv. Read the room. The first job is always the hardest, keep trying and stay positive!”
- Rachel Cunningham, Head Chef, 88m (8 years in yachting)
Why dockwalking may not be worthwhile anymore:
Travelling to Antibes isn’t the cheapest or most convenient option for some green crew looking to find a job on a yacht anymore. Flights from the UK have recently been a nightmare due to strikes, short-staffed airports and constant flight delays. Plus, the rising cost of living has caused people to be a bit more cautious with money. Without the correct European working visas as a British passport holder, you can not work in the South of France and most of Europe. If a person is found looking for work without it, there is a chance they will be deported. If you are not signed onto a vessel, a British passport holder is only entitled to 90 days in any 180 days for travelling. If you are not sure if you need a visa, check with the UK-based embassy of the country you want to work in to see what you need to do.
"Many people are still achieving successful jobs without the need for Dock walking, even with very little or no yachting experience.”
- Jessica Mountford , Wilsonhalligan
We are currently living in the digital age where everything is done online via mobile devices and crew databases are now widely adopted by captains and yacht owners. Finding a job online via crew agencies, job boards and Facebook pages has never been so easy, whilst dockwalking has never been so difficult. Due to Covid, there are new travel restrictions, and on top of that, marinas have added new access restrictions. These restrictions have made finding a job through dockwalking extremely difficult to achieve. Financially, it is not pragmatic for crew to support themselves through the odd day jobs onboard whilst paying to stay in a crew house.
“Dockwalking is dated, just get yourself to a yachting hub and apply for jobs online from there. Sign up to the various crew pages on Facebook and be ready to an interview at any time. Answer your phone. Look professional. Be on time. Don’t come to the boat unannounced and annoy the crew with your cv”
- Nicholas Varley, Chief Engineer 80m+
Conrad Empson- The Founder of CrewPass, offers his opinion on this topic:
“Antibes and the surrounding areas used to be the vibrant hub for yachties walking the dock every morning, hoping to find day work or a potential position onboard. However, over the past 2 years, everything has massively changed!
99% of jobs are now posted online through crew agencies or Facebook pages. From my experience, crew spend most of their time sitting in crew houses, applying for jobs online.
If all jobs can be applied online, it begs the question, why do crew need to be in Antibes?
There are two sides to my answer; if you live in the UK, if you got offered a position, you could easily be in the South of France within 6 hours. If you come from a little bit further afield, Antibes may be the place for you but be prepared to spend money sitting around waiting and using up your 90 days. Antibes is an amazing place and can offer unique opportunities for some crew but is often regarded as a holiday for some green crew. Crew that use their time in Antibes as more of a holiday generally go home empty-handed.”
Suppose you are looking to find a job online; CrewPass is partnered with many crew agencies including Wilsonhalligan, Seven Seas Recruitment, YPI Crew and many job boards! Kick start your yachting career today…
Many of our partners have integrated CrewPass into their website, allowing CrewPass Approved crew to validate their status and automatically update their job profile. This is great for green crew trying to stand out from the crowd and gain employers’ trust.
If you are a green yacht chef wanting to find work, our partner, The Superyacht Chef has posted a blog: Dockwalking for yacht chefs [updated 2022]. Make sure you check this site out if you are an aspiring yacht chef!