Ships Cook Cert Article by Efrem Leigh, Founder at YachtChefs.com (Chef Recruitment Specialist for the Superyacht Industry) […]
Set yourself apart from the competition!
Before accepting a contract with any employer you must ensure that the following questions have been answered. The following information is offered for guidance purposes to help you and YachtChefsMagazine.com can not accept any liability or responsibility if the information we have covered differs with that you subsequently receive from an employer.
- The MLC 2006 was created to help seafarers with their employment on the water.. I would recommend you refer to this and their website for any contractual questions regarding your employment. So it makes sense to choose a yacht with a flag state that has ratified this convention. You are then protected.
- See http://www.mlc2006.com/
- Is yacht going to give you a MCA compliant contract or Seafarers Employment Agreement? At minimum you should get an offer in writing clearly stating the terms of your employment which should cover , salary, hours of work, holiday, notice period etc
- For advice see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/441086/MGN_477_SEA.pdf or ask your crew agent to advise you
- Are your transfer/travel costs to join your new employers paid for by them?
- Do they fly you back when you have leave or when you end your contract? Maritime law states you should be repatriated back to your port of embarkation at end of your contract. See http://www.mlc2006.com/the_convention/title2/2_5/?PHPSESSID=i13qa46pv5gmcs53p5v34hdau2
- What insurance arrangements do your employers offer? Both health and workplace insurance is important and necessary!
- Will you have to take out your own cover for personal items?
- What uniform and clothing requirements will there be in your new job? As a chef are your knives, whites etc included or an allowance given?
- Do you have to contribute towards the cost?
- What tax status will you have? Are your earnings subject to tax or other deductions or do you have to declare your affairs yourself?
- How is your salary paid? When will your 1st salary payment be made and how will it be paid? Cash, into your bank?
- Terms & conditions of your contract- Is the contract for a specified period?
- What commission or tips would you earn? Does owner tip his crew ? Crew agents are not allowed to charge you as a candidate to help you find a job! If they do report them to MLC/ILO/MCA as they will not be MLC 2006 compliant
- How long will you be on board for?
- What shifts and hours are you expected to work?
- When do you get a day off?
- What happens if I fall ill or get injured? Are medical expenses covered?
- What safety training and instruction is their onboard?
- What is the uniform and guest dress code onboard?
- What will my accommodation and food be like?
- What leisure facilities are their for the crew?
- Do we get laundry facilities?
- How easy will it be for family and friends to contact me?
- Do I need a full passport?
- What vaccinations will I need to have?
- Are all Visas obtained by the employer?
- Do I need to have a medical certificate?
If working on a motor or sailing yacht make sure you are happy with the Captain’s experience and qualifications. You are putting yourself in his care so this is a very important point to think about. Has he the relevant experience to be running the vessel you will be working on?
Joining your ship/boat/yacht?
What arrangements are there if you miss your ship when joining? Always have enough cash on you plus a world wide recognised credit card, a copy of your contract and insurance details and details of your employer including telephone/fax and email contacts.
Health & Safety Tips and Advice
Ensure you keep your travel/trip/itinerary details with friends/family in case of emergency
Always be happy that the boat/ship’s safety equipment is functional and that you have been trained in its use
Always work within your own limitations so as not to risk your own and other crews’ safety
When working on sailing or motor yachts be sure that you are comfortable with placing your life in the hands of the skipper and that they have the experience to manage the size of boat/yacht you will be working on
You must always have or know where your lifejacket is when onboard
Take care with the quantity of alcohol consumed when onboard as this could jeopardise your and other people’s lives
Be aware of the location and use of the VHF radio and emergency flares
Smoking is usually not permitted whilst onboard because of the fire risk
Have I got the right qualifications?
Complete your CV in as much detail as you can, showing the dates, subjects and grades of your qualifications achieved at school, college, university and any professional qualifications, training and industry related courses achieved. If you have any sailing qualifications, food hygiene certificates or any other training remember to include these and details of miles and hours sailed.
Interview preparation and technique is important, if you are to get the job you want, with the company you want. Always allow plenty of time to get to your interview, making sure you are suitably dressed and have a list of questions ready for the interviewer.
You will need to distinguish yourself from the other applicants at an interview and the easiest way is to have prepared some research on the company and the size of their programme. Have an idea of the type and size of operation you would like to work in and check their brochures or website to ensure they operate in the country or resort you would like to work in.
Always look at the interviewer when speaking to them and do not be afraid to ask questions or ask them to repeat a question if you did not understand it. If you do not know the answer to a question it is better to say “I am sorry, I do not know the answer” rather than try to bluff your way through. Most interviewers will be people who have done seasonal and resort work themselves, so they will be able to offer advice but will spot a bluffer easily!
Take notes during the interview and make sure you write down the details of the package and take these away with you, as you will not remember all the details if you have more than one interview in a day. You might make the wrong choice because of a mistake in your interpretation of a company’s package from memory!