Anxious to get to Florida and start my new career in yachting I had no idea what I was up against!
It was time to get on one of these babies and cook great food and see the world! There was nothing standing in my way, nothing at all, so I thought.
First step was to go straight to Fort Lauderdale and find out how to get on board, so begins the long and winding road of networking, and a small one that literally went round and round I was about to find out. Typically on board a mega yacht there are various positions to choose from. Captain, Mate, Bosun, Chef, Sous Chef (depends on size of vessel), Chief Stewardess, Stewardess, Engineer or Deckhand were the basics.
Of course having a culinary degree from the best culinary school in the world, The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York location, I thought I should start out with the chef position and see what happens from there.
So off I went and began my tireless quest for success in the marine industry.
The first step was to apply with the agencies so application and interview after application and interview the plan was in action. The agencies which can either help you or not had me in their sites. Checking in with them on a daily basis became tiresome as I realized it was sort of like high school, cliques were forming, either you were a member or you were not.
Then I found out that there were some requirements that needed to be met if I wanted to cook on charter yachts! The STCW or Standards of Training Certifications and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, was the first hurdle to overcome. With no prospects yet on the horizon, I enrolled in a maritime training school in Fort Lauderdale to acquire this so called requirement to continue in yachting, besides the agencies wanted you to have it in your portfolio.
The most powerful form of advertisement is word of mouth….
I had come to realize early on and that the agencies wanted to make money off of you. How do they do it? Well, they get all the information corralled in their data banks and advertise to prospective employers, captains, boat managers, etc. and try to match YOU up with what they were looking for.
Meanwhile, if you were not part of their little clique, dock sitting is what you did mostly.
Then if they selected you out of thousands of applicants for the same position off you would go to the interview and with position secured, they would bill the boat’s financial officer a whole month’s salary, the amount that you would make in one month. Now, some agencies will not admit to this or that they charge more or less, however, whatever it was I didn’t really care about that, because I wanted so badly to be in and stay in yachting, it made my mouth dry thinking of it.
Written by: Peter Ziegelmeier