Q: Girls on Deck: how to get hired?!
(Amanda, 25, Aspiring Deckhand)

“I’m trying to get a deck job, but the fact I’m female seems to be a massive problem! No-one takes me seriously and people keep telling me ‘go the stewardessing route and try again later”. I’ve met a few female deckies who were really encouraging, but they all got their start as a stew and then moved across as well. I have no interest in stewardessing – why should I have to start out as a stew? I’ve got a really strong maritime background, thousands of sea miles, my YachtMaster Off-shore, and a bunch of yachting skills I know for a fact that most other green male deckies don’t have… but they are getting jobs! Why should I have to start with stewardessing or deck/stew when they don’t? Am I just speaking to the wrong people? And how can I find yachts that will hire girls on deck?”

A: The Crew Coach:

Hi Amanda,

I can hear your frustration, We have a facebook page called Girls on Deck championed by some inspiring female leaders. The group is a platform where female deck, engineering crew and captains can share experiences, share job opportunities and support each other. I highly recommend you joining the group.

There is a sea change slowly going on in yachting industry with more females gradually being accepted in more traditionally male dominated roles, however, it is a fairly slow evolution and you still need to know where the opportunities lie in order to break in. You’re part of a positive movement in the yachting industry, so be proud of that.

Things you can do

  1. I very strongly recommend you join the ‘girls on deck’ facebook page, make as many contacts as you can, and network with the other women in there who are already working in the roles you aspire to be in.
  2. There have been a few articles about women on deck that you should read. Have a look at these:
    1. http://www.thecrewreport.com/features/24870/the-female-captain-a-matter-of-confidence
    2. http://www.pya.org/article/Yachting_Matters_30
    3. http://www.thecrewreport.com/features/24814/its-a-boy-girl-thing
    4. http://www.thecrewreport.com/features/23706/_call_for_more_women_in_the_engine_room
  3. Your CV needs to sell your competencies well. It sounds like you’ve got brilliant experience, so make sure it shows on your CV. Feel free to look at our CV services here if you are looking to further enhance your skill set.
  4. Remember that you will almost certainly be held to higher standards, you’ll be expected to prove yourself more, and you’ll probably have to fight some prejudice and unfair expectations along the way. Accept these as challenges, rather than obstacles. Keep a positive attitude, there are loads of people in this industry who are delighted with how things are changing and will lend you a helping hand where they can.

In conclusion, don’t give up or get annoyed at the challenges you’re facing. Reach out instead, and retain a positive attitude that will make people want to hire you on deck.  If you do take an interior role, make the most of it and think of it as just another stage in your yachting apprenticeship. Highly recommend you connecting with an amazing community of female deck crew which you will be able to find here.

Good luck and keep in touch, let us know how you get on!