Dockwalking & Daywork | Ft Lauderdale

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Dockwalking is not legal for foreign crew without a US work permit. A B1/B2 visa is not considered a work permit.

DOCKWALKING

Here are a few pointers for first-time dockwalkers;

  • Daywork is often given to those, who arrive on the docks at 8am, dressed as a yachtsman (nice polo, khaki, black or blue shorts/pants/skirt and boat shoes), shaved, friendly and smiling. Girls, no need to overdo the make up. Hair tied up is fine. In other words; look professional.
  • Bring work clothes in your backpack, so you are ready for some dirty work.
  • Leave your skateboard at home some people say, although these days more and more are lenient about it. It’s your call, how you want to appear, but you do manage to cover a lot more ground, as you do with a bicycle which still seems more accepted. It is a hit or miss all depending on the person you speak to.
  • Make sure you have plenty of business cards printed up, keep your cv to 2 pages max (print on both sides) and stick it in a plastic sleeve (that increases the chances for it to actually reach the Captain’s desk!).
  • A good trick is to look on marinetraffic.com or www.vesselfinder.com to check on the names of the yachts in the harbour, then write them down. Each day see if new boats have entered the harbour against your list and go approach them first thing in the morning, while the deck crew is not too busy yet. Just be quick and precise, as they might have a short turn around before the next charter!
  • Try your luck in some of the smaller marinas as well. Perhaps, you will not find any large yachts, but small yachts can also do with a helping hand every once in a while – and you will have little competition there!
  • Another good time to look for work is between 16-17.00, when Captains and senior crew have a better idea about the following day’s schedule and workload.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the same boats often. Just because they don’t have work today, doesn’t mean there will be none tomorrow or next week. It shows tremendous character. Some captains/first officers would see that resilience and give you work, whether temp or permanent.
  • If you see a yacht about to dock or about to leave offer to take the lines, when they throw them ashore. The crew will guide you where to put them. Once they have docked and the Mate (the guy guiding the captain into the berth over the radio) has a free moment, ask him if you can pass him your CV. Chances are they may be looking for a dayworker over the coming days, so don’t be shy!
  • When you are done dockwalking, meet up with other dockwalkers for a beer or a coffee in the afternoon (if you haven’t already). You can also head down to the beach together for a day out or perhaps go for a pizza later in the evening. Start getting some networking going and help each other. There is no doubt that networking is the most helpful tool you can use to find a job on a yacht – everyone does it, no matter the rank.

IMPORTANT:

  • IF the yacht is busy with OWNERS/CHARTER, please do not disturb but continue to the next boat down the dock instead. A dead give away are flowers on the aft deck, crew in formal uniforms and of course guests/owners on deck.
  • At times crew has the weekend off (yes, it happens – sometimes). Try not to turn yourself into a “Dockstalker”, so RESPECT that and don’t disturb them by ringing doorbells on Saturdays and Sundays or any day outside 08.00-17.00 hrs. Neither during the lunch break, unless you see crew on deck, of course. Lunch is generally between Noon – 1pm or 1pm -2pm.

Finding out which ports are most popular with superyachts is essential to dockwalkers, obviously. Pick the brains of the others staying in your crew house or hostel. They will most likely know where to go. Some marinas will be much better for dockwalking than others. Some may be gated, while others may have easy access. Some may have lots of large yachts, while others are for small pleasure yachts with no professional crew on board.

And then there are the shipyards, where there is always work going on. They will usually have security by the gate, often with strict security measures. There is a good reason for that; other than providing security for their clients, with a lot of heavy machinery moving around and the type of work going on, dockwalking can be dangerous, in particular for newcomers to the industry. Generally, dockwalking is not recommended in shipyards. Instead try and meet crew in the yachty bars, where many will be hanging out after work.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Dockwalking is not legal for foreign crew without a US work permit. A B1/B2 visa is not considered a work permit.

DAYWORK

Finding daywork is essential to your success with landing a job on a yacht. Through daywork you will learn so many new things, among others about life on board and how to do various jobs. Do notice that certain jobs are done differently from boat to boat, so pay good attention to the directions you are being given by the crew. What worked on the last boat you dayworked on may not work on this one!

Instead of posting jobs online or going through crew agents, some yachts hire dayworkers without telling them that there may be a position available on board. Supposing you are doing a great job, the captain will eventually make the decision whether or not he believes you fit in with the crew and possibly offer you a full-time position. If you are not offered a job, definitely pass your CV to either the captain or the Chief Officer / Chief Stewardess or Chief Engineer all depending on which department you have been dayworking in. Tell them you really enjoyed working with them and that you would like to be taken into consideration next time a position opens up. Meeting up for drinks after work is also a good way to get closer with the crew. It is all about networking!

Once you find daywork:

  • try to meet up 10 mins early for work every morning. Don’t ever be late – or hung over, for that sake… It will not hurt with a fresh daily shave either – it will be noticed. The Mate, Chief Stew and the Captain will remember you for either, so if you have hopes for landing a permanent job on board, then go out of your way to prove yourself.
  • Remember to take off your shoes before stepping on board (no shoes on deck is standard on ALL yachts – unless they are deck shoes, of course).

If the yacht is in a shipyard, ask if you may keep your shoes on, once the decks are covered This is  also a matter of safety. Broken toes and cut feet  are not at all uncommon on yachts.

  • If you are unsure about how to do a job, don’t be afraid to ask how they want it done and which products should be used. In fact, most officers appreciate when such questions are asked.
  • When you finish the job, you have been appointed, tell the crew instead of hanging around doing nothing/playing with your phone. Be a little bit proactive and do some cleaning in the area, you were working, if nobody is available. Always clean up after yourself in your workplace! Being nice and tidy will be noticed.
  • LIMIT YOUR MOBILE USE during work hours, and put it on silent (During breaks use of the phone is generally accepted but check with the department head first). Of course, if you are expecting a call from a boat regarding a job position explain so to the officer in charge. The best you can do is to leave your phone in your backpack, unless they use WhatsApp groups for work.

How much can you earn doing daywork?

Daywork rates for interior and exterior jobs vary slightly from boat to boat but count on somewhere between 100-120 Euros per day or 15 Euros per hour in the Med depending on experience and qualifications. In the US expect 120-150 USD or 15-20 USD per hour with little experience, but all the way up to 200 for the day with experience. These numbers may vary slightly depending on your experience and the yacht’s own policy.

Lunch is often offered on top of your salary, but not always.

Here is a list of marinas and shipyards popular with superyachts  in

Florida

  • Fort Lauderdale

Sunrise Harbor*

Hall of Fame Marina*

Bahia Mar Marina

Pier 66

Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina

Lauderdale Marine Center**

Marina Bay*

Marina Mile Yachting Center**

Universal Marine Center**

Rolly Marine**

Bradford Marine**

Roscioli Yachting Center**

Derecktor Dania**

Seahaven Superyacht Marina

  • West Palm Beach

Rybovich**

* Gated Marina

** Gated Shipyard – dockwalking not encouraged

You can use MarineTraffic to see how busy the various ports in your area are.

Where to look for daywork online?

Crew agencies may post daywork from time to time, but you will be best off  using the Facebook groups

as well as the job board on

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Dockwalking is not legal for foreign crew without a US work permit. A B1/B2 visa is not considered a work permit.