Once upon a time (2007) I lived in a Crew House. The best way to explain a crew house to you is that it is like a sorority and fraternity house combined and everyone who stays there works on yachts. Either you are dry docked (boat is out of water for maintenance), a day worker (working on a variety of yachts per day as extra crew) or in between boats (looking for a new job). Most of these houses are located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida which is basically the hub of yachting as well as the home to the largest boat show in the world.
I had a friend in yachting that suggested I should stay in a crew house to meet some new people in the area. Back Story: I was in the FT. Lauderdale/Miami area because I had just resigned from my cruiseship life and traveling all over the world. I was definitely ready to enjoy a few weeks off and figure out what my next step would be. At this time it was Boat Week. Basically like the Super Bowl of yachting so I was lucky to even get a room at a crew house.
From the moment I walked into my crew house I was asked which boat I had come from? How long I had been in yachting etc? My answer was I’m a Pro Makeup Artist. Their response was all the same. How the hell did you find our crew house? And why are you here? Do you do makeup on yachts? lol.
I was welcomed by 17 other roommates that evening as we of course were hosting a party for another crew house. That’s right! There were 18 of us! It was like the Real World of yachting. I was having the time of my life and meeting the most amazing people from all around the world which I was used to and loved! I think I was one of maybe four Americans in the house at that time.
We partied hard! That I do remember. And somehow everyone woke up at 5am to get to their yacht to make sure they were polished and in pristine shape. I did not know how they pulled that off every day in the hot sun especially after a night of drinking.
One of these afternoons while I had the house to myself the crew house phone rang. I answered it. The gentlemen on the other line said he was a Captain of a boat and needed an American Stew ASAP. And by that I mean they had already left South Beach and were driving to Ft. Lauderdale to come and pick up who that American would be. That is how fast paced the world of yachting works. I said yes I was American but I am a makeup artist. I was once a stewardess on a small cruiseline but I had never been on a yacht before. They said that’s ok we will show you everything. We just need you for three days. He didn’t really give me a chance to ask any more questions or say no. So about 60 minutes later I was all packed up and in their car driving back to Fisher Island with them to work on a yacht!
That’s how my life in yachting began. That one boat decided to keep me for three weeks. And after that I was hooked! I was officially a “yachtie”. I may have looked like a guest on board at some times because of the amount of luggage I always had with me. Knowing how to store all of that in the smallest of spaces became my forte! This is why I am a Pro at organizing anything and everything. Side note: Most “yachties” travel with one bag! I had two 70 pound suitcases. lol.
After the first yacht job was over I realized that if I wanted to stay in the industry I would need an agent or agents. So I got four! I submitted my CV (Resume) to all of them and waited for a boat to call for a permanent job. In between the waiting I ended up working for another owner and a circle of his friends. The yachting world is very small so if you work your ass off and excel at your job everyone will know! And that is what I did.
Cut to almost three years later I had worked on over 20 motor yachts. I traveled all over the East Coast, Caribbean, West Indies and South and Central America as well as the Panama Canal. Bucket list was checked for that 13 times! I held many positions throughout this time period. I was a Stewardess, Chief Stewardess, Makeup Artist, Manager, Stylist, Cook, Nanny, Personal Shopper and Assistant. I did it all! NO is not a word in the yachting vocabulary.
I met some of the best crews out there and are still in touch with them of course through Facebook, Instagram and Skype. Thank god for that. My career was definitely not the norm as most stay on one boat with a contract. I hopped from boat to boat because I had created relationships with owners, captains, crew and my agents. When the next job was up I went! I’m not sure I ever said no! To a day off either! The job was addicting…
That is the very short story of my yachting career as crew. Years later I have held other positions for owners. Whether I provide them help finding crew, redesign interior or table setting layouts or find them a client for an actual charter, personal shopping or assisting. And by shopping I mean you have 4–5 Escalades full of new items for the boat! It’s like you robbed the store but paid on your Black Amex you carried around. No big deal right?
You honestly never know what will be asked of you? But I made sure to always get the job done 150% so of course they continued to call. I was and am still extremely lucky in that department…
I wanted to also share an Owner and a Chief Stewardess perspective on yachting so please continue to read on below…
Charlotte is an incredibly poised Chief Stewardess that worked in yachting for over 5 years. See what packing tips she would like to share with you…
Tip #1: Take lots of shoe bags & loads of ziplocks for dirty and wet things.
Tip #2: Split cards and currency up into two different places. It’s awful having anything stolen, but it happens, splitting these ensures you can still function. It happened to me arriving at Nice Airport. €1k Euros gone and a few cards. Thank goodness my phone and another card were elsewhere and I got some breakfast and a coffee and got on the phone.
Tip #3: Pack Silks. Easy to steam (way easier than linen) out and teeny tiny to pack so more outfit options in hotter destinations.
Tip #4: Adapt your moisturizer and make up according to the weather. Sports makeup has come a long way. Great for humid conditions and ski fields.
Meet David. Owner of a MY Champagne based in San Diego, CA.
When booking a charter (rental of a boat) he suggests that answering as many questions asked (by your broker) as possible is the key to a great trip!
What type of event/charter?
Party or relaxed trip?
What size group?
When most guests charter they want to experience a lifestyle that they would normally never be exposed too. Whether it be for two weeks or two nights.
That is what a yacht charter is all about…
And here are a few more tips from me…Kelly…
Always hire a broker or agent. This will ensure any request is properly and legally taken care of. Customs and transfers of large sums of money can be a bit tricky!
Send the yacht any food allergies and/or menu requests when booking charter. This goes for floral decor and liquor/wine requests as well. You may not be able to get what your guests asks for last minute because you are anchored away from a very small island! No one is going to be able to drop you what you want from the sky upon mid charter request. Although some guests think so
If you are “green” (brand new) to the yachting industry or looking to charter any size vessel please feel free to reach out to me any time. You can contact me right here…
Maybe you need help building an itinerary or you have a random yacht question? I promise I will be able to have an immediate answer for you…
I hope you enjoyed my story and learned more about yachting today.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday and don’t forget to leave a comment below with your question…