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Top 10 Interview Questions For Yacht Crew & How To Answer Them

Whether it’s your first interview or fiftieth, it’s always a good idea to turn up well rested and prepared. To help our crew candidates nail their next interview, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most popular interview questions for working on yachts and superyachts with helpful tips on how to answer them.

What about your current position do you dislike?

With this question, it’s very important to remain professional but be honest. For example, a good answer would be “I enjoy the yacht and crew however; the role does not challenge me and I am frustrated not stepping up to a bigger role.”

What are the elements that your perfect job would be made up of?

The top four things we would suggest would be; Great Owner, Crew, Terms and Travel.

What gives you the highest level of job satisfaction?

Rather than focusing solely on the personal aspects that you could answer with think about, think about the customer such as “Happy guests after a trip and getting to be on a beach with friends when time allows”.

Tell me about your last three jobs.

Rather than going through the ins and outs of each job, choose factors such as how you were managed and personal relationships with people, your career path and personal development within those jobs.

Why did you take each position? Why did you leave each?

Be honest with this question as reference checking will unearth any skeletons. If you needed seatime or wanted to explore the Pacific, tell your interviewer.

If I offered you your ideal job today, what factors would delay you taking that job immediately?

This questions always puts you on the spot and under pressure. Answering can I have 24 hours to think it over, will show methodical thinking. This is not an opportunity to inform the yacht you are waiting on another offer and you will take the higher. Do however tell the interviewer you are speaking with another yacht.

What is the most significant impact you’ve had on your current workplace in the last year?

There are potentially two avenues you can take with this, you can show personality or show a professional contribution. Personality – “I brought together the departments and boosted morale by ….. organising dinner, hikes, sailing”. Or a professional answer highlight such as “I amended safety procedures onboard, aligned budgets and developed a new work rota”.

How have you improved yourself in the last year?

Take this as an opportunity to sell yourself; outline what courses you have taken and why. Explain how you have reflected on your workmanship since leaving your last yacht, e.g. you will be more detailed / assertive / relaxed / mature / disciplined.

What would your previous employers say about you?

As it’s often difficult to review how others perceive you, repeat was has been mentioned during your appraisals and reviews. I hope they would say I am reliable, someone they would rehire, however avoid the clichéd answers.

Tell me a little about your personality.

This is another opportunity to sell yourself. Try and navigate away from clichés and think what really makes you as a person stand out. Remember your answer may come back to haunt you.

If there is anything else you would like to discuss regarding your upcoming interview, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us or chat with us on #webchatwednesdays where we’re available all day via the live chat on our website.

Does your CV need a refresh or are you not sure what you need to include? Download our FREE CV template below.
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What Single-Use Plastic Alternatives Are There?

With #PlasticPollution being such a hot topic at the moment, what changes can you make to your everyday life to reduce single-use plastics and what plastic alternatives are available to you?

We have all heard of the damage that plastic is having on our planet, in fact, in recent years it’s become a pretty hot topic across the globe. It is believed that every single piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists today! This statistic really threw us, how can that be possible? 

You have probably already seen the heart-wrenching photos online of turtles with plastic straws in their noses and birds with plastic six pack rings stuck around their beaks – but what can we collectively do to stop this? Here at wilsonhalligan we see it as our responsibility, as part of the yachting industry, to do our bit to reduce single use plastic and help to keep as much plastic as we can out of our world’s oceans. Have you been making any changes on board to eliminate plastic where you can? We offer wilsonhalligan metal straws at all events we attend and are always happy to send some out to your boat, should you want them! Just drop us an email at info@wilsonhalligan.com

We have been chatting with Hannah Russell, who owns ‘Viveco’, Palma de Mallorca, supplying alternatives to single-use plastic all over the Med; Lisa Bloxsome, Owner of ‘Always Plastic Free’, Warsash and Angus Johnston of Ecoworks Marine. Here’s what they had to say;

“Lisa Bloxsome of Always Plastic Free in Warsash, opened the store to help change people’s ethos about single use plastics, she stocks Bamboo Toothbrushes, Bamboo Straws – most things you can think of to replace our use of plastic.  She also has teamed up with Terracycle on a number of their programmes – collecting Crisp Packets, Pringles Cans and many more.”

For more details please check out the website www.alwaysplasticfree.co.uk or find her on Facebook – Always Plastic Free.

“With items like Bamboo Toothbrushes, Stainless Steel Straws, Soaps, Produce Bags and more we are always expanding our range with new innovative products. To save on shipping we offer a drop off point in Palma which we deliver to once a week. Hannah, the founder of Viveco is an ex Stewardess who is passionate about plastic reduction within the industry and Viveco Yachts delivers free to Marinas across Mallorca and offers a free consultation and advice service onboard.”

You can take a look at Viveco and get in touch with Hannah here https://www.viveco.co/

“As a keen sailor and surfer, a clean environment is hugely important to me. It quickly became clear that true eco-friendly, marine cleaning products didn’t really exist in the yachting world. It was after this harsh realisation that I decided to start Ecoworks Marine in 2015. Luckily, my father was producing Eco cleaning solutions for the onshore commercial market so the formulas were ready to go as soon as I was.”

You can learn more about Ecoworks Marine and order samples and products from Angus today at www.ecoworksmarine.com

We have compiled a list of single-use plastic alternatives and their providers in or near popular yachting destinations – for you to look at if you are keen to make a few changes, personally or on board!

Viveco – Palma de Mallorca, Baleric Islands

Always Plastic Free – Warsash, UK 

Day by Day – Nice, France 

Verde – Miami, Florida 

Avani – Dubai, UAE 

Sinplastico – Bilbao, Spain  

To see what else you can do to help the plastic crisis, take a look at our previous blog here!

Being a Personal Trainer, Yoga Teacher or Spa Therapist in the Superyacht Industry

Just imagine…

Yoga on the Sundeck cruising through the Caribbean, providing a massage on the port side balcony in St Tropez, or a gym session overlooking the British Virgin Islands for the Owner of a luxury Motor Yacht.

These are a few of the wonderful opportunities that exist for those with additional skills in the Yachting World.  Add these experiences to the excellent starting salary of approximately €2500-3000/month and no rent or bills to pay and it really is an attractive career path to take.

In recent years wellness on board for both owners and crew has never been more important. Having recognised the positive benefits that exercise has, a number of boats now have dedicated crew gyms with many using them on their days off or as a place to unwind after a busy day.

Owner requirements have also extended with it now not being uncommon to find personal trainers, massage/ beauty therapist and yoga instructor trained crew who use their expertise whilst the owner is on board. The team at Gym Marine Yachts & Interiors, who specialise in gym design & luxury wellness spaces for superyachts and prime property, told us that they too have noticed these changes, with many more asking for advice on treatments and specialised equipment. They also noted that there has never been a better time to enter the yachting industry with these qualifications as they are still relatively new skills that will definitely give your CV the edge.

So how do you get into this industry and what qualifications do you need to have?

Most Yacht owners/guests have very high expectations, we would look for individuals with adequate gym experience and a minimum, recent Level 3 in Personal Training Certification is required. For Yoga Instructors your 200hr certification is sufficient and Beauty Therapists usually require an NVQ Level 3 with a range of massage skills, nail care and facial techniques. With the yachting industry being incredibly competitive, having something extra to offer guests will help your CV to stand out.

You are of course predominantly working as a Steward(ess) or Deckhand, therefore, you will have to obtain your minimum Maritime Qualifications such as your STCW and Eng1 Medical Certification (please see our ‘How To guides’ or ‘Do you have the skills’ blogs for more information on these qualifications).

What to Expect?

Having been around over ten years, Wilsonhalligan are well aware of the current market demands of PT’s, Yoga Instructors and Beauty Therapists, plus our consultants are ex-yachties who understand first-hand having had previous Masseuse/PT experience. Your days will vary depending on how much the guests like to use your additional services. When not working as a Trainer, you will be working in your chosen field of either a Deckhand or Steward (ess), which will take up the bulk of your time on board. Unlike Cruise Ships, you are not solely employed as a Trainer and it is important to remember this when choosing to enter the industry. You will, however, be working in some of the world’s most beautiful places, getting to do something you love and getting paid an excellent salary.

Where to go from here?

If you feel the yachting industry is for you, please register your details with us here, https://staging.wilsonhalligan.com/submit-resume/, and one of our consultants will be in touch to answer any further questions you might have. We pride ourselves on finding the best jobs for the best crew and would be happy to help with your career opportunities.

 

A huge thank you to Gym Marine for sharing their expertise with us for this article! To see their extensive range of luxury interiors and gym designs head over their website https://www.gymmarine.com/

 

Super Yacht Personal Trainer

A Day in the Life: Yacht AV/IT Engineer

The best way to understand the day to day activities of Yacht AV/IT Engineer is to hear from someone with firsthand experience!

Although work and schedules vary greatly between yachts, below is an example of what you can expect from a typical day working onboard. This example is based on a small yacht, with guests:

Night before Guest arrival

Note: All systems will be checked thoroughly a few days before, just in-case parts are needed. Nothing worse than needing a replacement JAP router or WAP the night before! Also this is specific to smaller yachts and systems.

18:00 – Go through entire system, all AV inputs, lighting, and security cameras, etc. Do a “Walk around” Step on the yacht as if you are the owner and do exactly as they would do. Connect your phone to Wi-Fi straight away, how is the signal speed? Watch the news, sports game, turn on music. Ask other crew to do the same with their devices. Stress the system as much as possible as you will have extra devices and more systems being used.

First day with Guests

07:30 – Wake up! Shower, shave and get presentable for the day.

08:00 – On deck and do a walk around to check lines, anchor and fender, morning meeting.

08:15 – Head to the rack and see if all systems are running properly. Owners, like most people check their phone as soon as they wake up so even if you haven’t seen the boss yet, be sure he will want his Wi-Fi network working first thing!

09:00 – Run TV’s and test all AV throughout the yacht where the owner will be, sundeck TV for breakfast news, Main Saloon for movie nights. Go through every input and signal to make sure everything is working seamlessly.

10:00 – Set up TV for the breakfast news, have whatever channel the owner likes on and if a swivel or adjustable TV have it facing the owner’s normal seat at the table. Make sure all remotes are within reach, clean and charged with batteries.

11:00 – Finally time for food and a break!

12:00 – Depending on owner, have a quick chat with them after breakfast. What are their plans? Will they be inviting friends over in the evening to watch the boxing? In which case, are you going to stream through 4G cellular data or is it accessible though SKY? Is there going to be a(nother) karaoke session after dinner? Get as much info as you can to do all the prep and what you can expect!

12:30 – Lunch.

13:30 – Log on to the network and check your average data speeds, what devices are using the most data, do you need to throttle speeds for the crew? If using a 4g Data plan are you on track with your data allowance?

15:00 – Do another walk around if guests are off doing water sports or ashore. Check the rack is clean, free of dust. Racks are very high fire risk areas and need to be checked and maintained as much as possible.

16:00 – Boss has brought on new music/ films/ TV series that need to be imported to the yachts media library, always have a backup drive for all media. Upload everything onto the system and to the secure backup. Test and see if new media is working.

19:00 – While guests are getting ready for dinner, make sure music and playlist is playing in areas of the yacht where they may be having pre-dinner drinks. Set the ambiance!

20:00 – Guests are sitting down for dinner and want to watch the sports game. Usually this is streamed through an apple device with an app that lets you access British channels which is then forwarded to a TV with Apple TV. Depending on current data speed/ setup you may have to ask crew to disable their devices so all data can be used for steaming, especially live and HD streaming.

22:00 – After dinner is cleared away guests may want to use a karaoke machine or games (depending on what they drank for dinner!) or if with family may want to just relax and watch a movie. This is where the preparation comes in, if all areas have been checked and organised they will need minimal involvement from yourself. They may want to do everything themselves which is why you have remotes accessible and a clear AV structure and setup.

23:00 – If you haven’t eaten while the guests are eating now is your time! Stay on standby until guests have gone to bed just in-case any situations arise.

We hope this experience provides you with the inspiration to pursue a yacht AV/IT Engineer job. If you would like to talk to us further about how to get into the yachting industry and work as an engineer, simply get in touch with our friendly team who will be more than happy to help and guide you.

What Food Safety Courses Do I Need On-Board?

There is some confusion in the yachting industry as to what food safety course is required for crew members who have the responsibility of handling food.  Our Chef Consultant Nikki spoke to Charlotte at Secrets de Cuisine in Antibes to get the latest guidelines…

Under United Kingdom and European law, all food handlers (including all Galley crew and Steward/esses) must be trained in basic food safety and personal hygiene, and must hold a valid certificate to prove this.

 

Certificates that have been completed online are no longer accepted by the MCA.

The reason for this is because if the examination is taken online there is no way to prove whether the candidate has completed it without assistance. It must be held under examination conditions and in an approved centre. A list of recognised qualifications can be found by clicking here MIN 531.  It is recommended to refresh your qualifications every three years.

Secrets de Cuisine offers the 1-day Food Safety Level 2 course every Monday (with a few exceptions) from their training centre in Antibes. Upon successful completion of the course candidates will gain the globally recognised, MLC 2006 compliant/MCA approved Highfield Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering (RQF).

The aim of this qualification is to provide individuals with knowledge of basic food safety practices, the hazards and risks to food safety presented by food operations and personnel, together with cost-effective, practical control measures.

 

If you have a head of department role on-board then it is more suitable to complete an advanced food safety course. 

Secrets de Cuisine’s Food Safety Level 3 has been created as a cost effective and time efficient option ideally suited to chefs; for a total cost of €490 candidates are able to learn the advanced food safety coursework at their own pace and on their own time through a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and then take the classroom-based exam at their approved training centre in Antibes. Upon successful completion candidates will gain the globally recognised, fully MLC 2006 compliant/MCA approved Highfield Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety in Catering (RQF) certification. This course provides clear understanding of the supervisory role on board and helps prepare candidates in the event they must communicate with Port State Control Inspectors.

An advanced food safety and food preparation course is also a requirement by the Cayman Island Registry for chefs working on commercially registered vessels carrying more than 10 crew members. Food Safety Level 3 course meets this requirement.

Secrets de Cuisine is pleased to offer a discount to candidates who are referred to them by wilsonhalligan Yacht Recruitment.  Please get in touch with them directly for more information or to book your course by emailing contact@secretsdecuisine.fr or calling +33(0)4 93 74 94 09.

Antigua Yacht Show demonstrates its strength in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Described as one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across a string of small Caribbean islands, including Barbuda, Anguilla and Antigua to name a few.

However, even with all the devastation caused by Irma, our Managing Director, Liam, attended the Antigua Charter Yacht Show without hesitation, along with many other yachting professionals. Regardless of the issues caused by the hurricane, shows like this are always a great opportunity for us to see people face to face, something which is very important to us as a company.

Upon his return, Liam explained that the feel of the show was generally positive, with people keen to prove that the Caribbean is open for business as usual and that they have not been discouraged by the recent storm. Although the show was down 30 yachts from the previous year, overall it still seemed successful for many. After speaking with charter brokers and other local venders, they are making the most of things in an attempt to continue business as usual. Crew were also confident that they will have a great season; some yachts will be exploring the southern areas of the Caribbean whilst others have planned provisions and trips to the more typical destinations including St Maarten, which suffered a great deal of damage.

Fundraising for the Caribbean was also very evident during the yacht show. The admirable efforts of the yachts and crew wanting to aid in rebuilding the Caribbean is excellent, with yachts leaving the Med loaded with supplies for the areas worst hit .

Despite the initial chaos caused by Hurricane Irma, it seems that Antigua are doing their best to return to normality quickly. Although there is still work to be done, and it has clearly been an incredibly difficult time for many who live in the Caribbean, the support of the local vendors and yacht show attendees is encouraging, with the yachting community pulling together to do their part whilst still enjoying the show.

If you like the thought of yacht work in the Caribbean, click here to search through our currently available roles or alternatively, click here to get in touch with one of our consultants.

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Top 5 Caribbean Christmas Cocktails To Make For Your Guests

As the Caribbean season gets underway, many will be busy with guest trips for the festive period.  Are you looking for some inspiration for those Christmas cocktails?  We have undertaken the difficult task of doing some research, and have listed some of our favourite Caribbean themed tipples below.  Why not test run them on the rest of the crew first?

Winter Sidecar

The sidecar cocktail has been around for over a century, but the addition of a cinnamon rim and clementine juice make it the perfect Christmas cocktail! Between the clementine juice and the cognac, this festive drink provides a great flavour balance and is very simple to make.

View the full recipe for more information.

Sorrel

Most popular around Christmas time in Trinidad and Tobago, this classic drink is perfect for the holidays and is high in Vitamin C! Made from the petals of the sepal flower, you can use both dried and fresh sorrel for this drink which can be found at any local Caribbean shop.

For the full recipe, click here.

Jingle Juice

This big batch cocktail oozes Caribbean culture! Filled with rum, mango, pineapple and orange juice it is the perfect Caribbean/Christmas taste.

View the full recipe

The Painkiller

Do not be fooled by the name, many have experienced the opposite effect after one too many Painkillers. Nonetheless this cocktail, originating from the British Virgin Islands, has garnered fame throughout the Caribbean for being strong yet delicious. Made using Cream of Coconut, Orange juice, Rum, and a freshly grated nutmeg garnish, the Painkiller is a great tropical Christmas cocktail.

Take a look at the full recipe.

White Christmas Mojito

Who says Mojitos are only for warm weather months? Mint is just as fitting a flavour for winter. Made with fresh Mint, Lime juice and Coconut rum, this simple to make drink is a safe bet for any festive occasion.

Read more for the full recipe.

We hope this blog provides you with some great cocktail ideas to impress your guests this holiday season! If you would like to find out more about yacht recruitment during the Christmas period, please get in touch.

New Culinary Workshops in Antibes & Palma from The Galley Gang

It’s always great to see new and exciting workshops for Yacht Chefs and we are particularly looking forward to learning about The Galley Gang’s latest venture and the courses they have on offer.  Our Chef consultant Nikki got in contact with Jemma to find out more….

The Galley Gang is an informal group of private and yacht chefs who get together to share inspiration, tips and tricks, making life in the kitchen a bit more enjoyable. We’re a friendly, positive and sociable bunch that started hanging out in Antigua last winter and we had some amazing villa-workshops, learning about new food culture and generally getting a bit of inspiration outside the galley. 

Most of us are all kick-ass chefs in our own right, so this sort of collaborative teaching worked really well and the camaraderie continued on our FB group once the season came to an end. As we all spend a lot of time working on our own (generally staring at a cupboard door, whilst life passes by through a porthole) staying connected to the other ’gangsters’ is a great source of inspiration and motivation. A bit like working in a professional kitchen again, I guess. Bouncing ideas around etc… 

It’d be great if you could join us, either online on our FB group or come to one of our inspirational workshops.

Workshops

We’ve just a few places left on the October workshops being held in the yachtie hub of Antibes, France. The aim is to get like-minded professional chefs together to learn about new food trends, culture and to generally get a bit of inspiration outside of the galley. Hot topics such as molecular gastronomy, raw/vegan, sushi/Asian, plating and presentation and desserts will all be covered, as we know these are the sorts of foods guests and owners are asking for. We’ve gathered together some of the best chefs in the industry to lead these one-off workshops that will leave you with a heap of new ideas, a folder full of recipes and support network of new chef friends. Naawww.

All courses, whether you come just for a day or the whole week, will be taught in a way that is specific to yacht chefs. Our trainers, from restaurant or galley backgrounds, have a clear understanding of the challenges we face. You will work on high-end dishes, practising techniques that can be easily adapted, quick to plate and will knock your guests’ socks off. The workshops have been carefully curated to address the needs of a busy yacht chef, with plenty of space for collaborative learning from your fellow students. It will be mostly practical, with ample time to sample and test the dishes. Students will be encouraged to contribute to the lessons if they wish. The more the merrier! Plus, we have amazing villas at both locations where the spirit of learning and foodie-stimulation doesn’t end when classes finish. Group meals and social events, such as meals out in local quality restaurants are also being organised.

ANTIBES Monday 9th October – Friday 13th October 2017

Weekly Fee: €1000 (with accommodation at the villa staying 6 nights €1420)

Daily Fee: Mon and Tues €500 (total), Other €200

The villa is situated a 5 min walk from Juan Les Pins station, or a 25 min walk from Antibes. However, we will be having some of the workshops in the professional kitchens of Secrets de Cuisines. They are located up near the big Carrefour. 

Classes will start at 09.30, finishing around 18.00.

Monday 9th October and Tuesday 10th October. 

Cost €500 (total, for both days)

Asian / Peruvian Molecular.

Not to be missed, we have a 2-day taster menu creation lead by Sebastian Mazzola of El Bulli / Tickets fame from Barcelona, plus a Saki pairing menu of which stewardesses are welcome to join for the evening. More information on their food can be found via their website.

Day One will begin with an overview of molecular cuisine and some technique training. Then we will begin prepping for the taster menu. On the Tuesday we will be plating and demonstrating the finished dishes.

In addition to this, we will hold a dinner on the evening of Tuesday 10th to which you can invite your captain, partner, crew mates or friends. This will give you the opportunity (if you wish) to see the plates being served, to work with Sebastian and to get as involved as you want to. Profits from this dinner will go directly to help local families in the Caribbean affected by Hurricane Irma.

Wednesday 11th October. 

Cost €200

Killer Desserts!

Up your dessert game! Former yachtie – now acclaimed Patisserie – Charlotte Lord will be flying in especially to take us through a day of killer desserts. This day will focus on learning quick, amazing puds that will wow guests but not take forever to plate. Plenty of recipes focussing on pre-prep so you have it covered before the charter begins. A mix of techniques and styles, with heaps of time, to ask questions and collaborate. Suffice to say, this will be – as they all are – a day filled with inspiration, tips and tricks… just with more chocolate.

Thursday 12th October. 

Cost €200

Refine and Polish. (Plus an extra talk on food photography)

Michelin-trained Superchef Charlie Blacker will lead a day in refining your presentation and plating skills, taking us through his best crowd-pleasing dishes. Building simple and elegant plates, using a fusion of techniques and flavour, this day is about taking things up a level, with plenty of tips, tricks and new skills to learn. We’ve all been in the position of guests wanting a gourmet dinner as soon as we drop anchor, so this particular day will focus on how to provide that with plenty of pre-charter planning. Think ‘elegant meals in minutes’, to give us a catchy phrase. 

Charlie is one of the best chefs in our industry, having won last year’s Antigua Yacht Show Chef Competition and has an impressive restaurant CV. In addition, we will have a food photography presentation built into the day so once you’ve plated all those stunning dishes there’ll be photos to match. 

Friday 13th October. 

Cost €200

Raw / Vegan Foodie Heaven.

Acclaimed chef Darko Juric will lead a day of all things health to wow those tricky guests. Fresh off the back of sell-out Raw Cruises in Croatia the “Art of Raw” chef is well aware of the constraints we yacht chefs may have. Let’s face it, it’s pretty difficult to make raw/vegan food look and taste Michelin standard but Darko’s exciting menu makes it possible. He’ll begin with an overview of the basics, for those who need a recap before moving on to how to turn these key staples into a meal to be proud of. Lots of hands-on work and sampling!

Accommodation 

We have a villa in Antibes – a short walk from the centre of town. Spacious and open-plan and we will be holding the Friday Raw Day in the Villa. Staying with fellow chefs for the week will enhance your learning and kick-start new friendships!

Beds available from Sunday 8th until Saturday 14th October priced at €70 per bed. Each room has 2 x single beds with en-suite. The pool area and roof terrace are exceptional! It’s a short walk from JLP train station or a 20 min walk from Antibes centre.

How to book?

If you would like to book yourself a place on this course, be it for the whole week or just a day then please email jemma@thegalleygang.com with the following details. I’ll then send you back an invoice and banking instructions for the fee.

Name:

Workshops dates you wish to attend? Antibes or Palma? Accommodation required?

Telephone contact:

Preferred email contact:

Current job position:

Level of skill? Please give a brief summary of your chef career to date (it’s helpful for me to know a bit about your level of cooking in order to tailor the workshops)