When we think of job opportunities or careers that involve working at sea, many of us immediately associate it to common roles in the Maritime Industry, such as marine engineering, shipbuilding and ship repairs. However, an often overlooked sub-part of the Maritime Industry is the world of sailing.
The sailing sector, which comprises sea-tourism and sports, is flourishing and becoming a hot-spot for many – both recreationally and professionally. The burgeoning interest for water-based activities in Singapore has spurred the growth of a number of top-notch marinas, well-equipped sailing clubs and facilities. While most participate in sailing or boating for recreational purposes, there are avenues to make this a career.
Paving ways for career opportunities in sea tourism, Discover Sailing Asia (DSA) is collaborating with NTUC’s e2i on the Sailing Proficiency Programme for Junior Cruise Crew. Aimed at equipping individuals with the ropes to becoming a yacht crew, this programme provides both the tactical skills and practical experience to secure a career in the thriving sailing industry. We spoke to three individuals who clinched their dream roles after completing this programme.
A Deep Dive into Starting a Career in Sailing
Taking a leap of faith, Halim and Adam made a switch into the sea-tourism sector despite having work experience in a different industry. The push factor for their switch: a desire to explore a fulfilling career that challenges the conventions of the typical 9 to 5.
Halim worked as a hotelier before shifting into sea-tourism. He chanced upon a Facebook ad about the Sailing Proficiency Programme for Junior Cruise Crew during COVID-19 and was enticed by the opportunity to work on sea. Having always had the passion for customer service and working with people, this role was a great fit for him.
“The programme presented the opportunity to go on boats and sail. It sounded like a combination of working and fun at the same time!”
– Halim, on why he embarked on the programme.
Halim’s decision to make the switch proved fruitful as he quickly rose through the ranks from Part-time crew to Full-time crew in just three months!
Similar to Halim, Adam made a career switch to sea tourism from a different sector. He was initially a Divemaster who thoroughly enjoyed his time in the ocean and sea. Interested in continuing a career in the Maritime industry, Adam looked for a job as a deckhand before he came across the programme. He found that the Sailing Proficiency Programme was a great pathway to upgrade his skills, get himself certified and leverage a job placement opportunity.
Is a Career in Yachting Smooth Sailing?
Despite having no prior experience with boats, Halim found the career transition to be relatively easy – crediting his colleagues and the programme for the seamless switch. During the programme, Halim acquired sailing fundamentals, including an introduction to sailing, an intermediary course to sailing and a mandated licence to handle boats. Coupled with his supportive colleagues who guided him along the way, Halim picked up sailing in no time.
For Charles, who also participated in the Sailing Proficiency Programme, the journey to becoming a yacht crew was slightly taxing. Being introverted by nature, Charles wanted to train his interpersonal skills by embarking on this customer-focused career path. Having recently completed his education in marine engineering and finished his National Service , Charles was on the hunt for a marine-related job role. He wanted to earn some extra cash while working in a sector he enjoyed.
Considering that his role as a freelance yacht crew is typically front-facing, Charles often has to service families and younger children. His main duty on the boat is to ensure safety on board boats, especially on sails when the boats could heel. With this huge responsibility on his shoulder, Charles found himself stepping out of his comfort zone and taking on a leadership role to make sure his passengers’ safety is prioritised.
While the allure of the stunning ocean views, the flexible work schedules and the people-oriented nature of the job are appealing, it is not all fun and games. Both Halim and Adam stress that anyone who wishes to embark on this role should have a learner’s mindset.
“This yacht crew life is not for everyone. Learning to learn and being comfortable with people of various skill levels are some of the most important qualities of the job.”
– Adam, on his advice to job seekers looking to break into sea tourism.
Being quick to spot safety hazards, adopting a firm yet friendly approach to passengers and practising discipline on the job are some of the key traits any yacht crew member should have.
Does a Yacht Crew Career Float Your Boat?
DSA is a certified training facility by the American Sailing Association and has supported many like Adam, Charles and Halim in securing jobs in the sailing sector.
With DSA’s Sailing Proficiency Programme for Junior Cruise Crew, you can launch your career journey as a yacht crew. In this programme, you will learn from an experienced instructor team, acquire basic sailing licences and enjoy exciting job placement opportunities. Existing workers with basic sailing licences can also sign up and expect a minimum 10% wage increase upon completion of the programme.
The best news for trainees is that the course is fully subsidised by NTUC’s e2i and a prospective hiring employer, under e2i’s Professional Development Programme with DSA (Usual course fees: SGD$5,000).
The Sailing Proficiency Programme for Junior Cruise Crew programme welcomes individuals without relevant working experience as well! As long as you have transferable skills and a learner’s mindset you will be able to make this career switch smoothly. Ready to set sail as a yacht crew?
Submit your interest on this form.