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View Count: 114 |  Publish Date: April 05, 2014
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Yacht crew careers all about balancing hard work, play

West Palm Beach, Fla. -- Want to see the world and get paid well for it?
Consider the life of a stewardess aboard a superyacht crew. While youd be a glorified housekeeper in a crisp white uniform, the perks are many. Education requirements vary, but start pretty low, and you can work your way up the career ladder.
No experience? Start at $3,000 a month with room and board paid. With 10 years experience, you could be making $7,000 a month or more, depending on the job. Technicians and engineers can start higher, as can someone with the captains license.What it entails
Superyachts are over 80 feet, though the pay and perks are better the bigger the boat gets, for the most part. Working for a charter company gives extra earning potential, but a lot more stress.
It can be a great career path for the right individual, said Donna MacPhail, who started Palm Beach Yachts International with husband Duane in 1995 as a crew placement service. The company has grown into yacht management, brokerage, sales and charters.
A service-minded person who is willing to work a varied schedule and give up many family holidays can take a $900 safety course and join a yacht crew, probably with a years contract, she said.
Yachting is a niche industry. About 4,500 superyachts roam the world and provide employment for 30,000 people in the United States, including landside jobs, according to the U.S. Superyacht Association based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
For a $6 billion industry in the U.S., it feeds a lot of people, said John Mann, chairman of the association.
Its like a floating stimulus package, he said.
These ships sail the planets oceans, primarily the Caribbean in the winter and Mediterranean in the summer, and call at such exotic ports as St. Martin in the Caribbean; the San Blas Islands off Panama; Hvar, Croatia; Ibiza, Spain; and Bermuda.
Like nothing Ive ever seen, Bridget Alsup of Portland, Ore., said of the San Blas Islands.Exotic stops
While the job is demanding and long when owners are aboard in these exotic locations - maybe for just a few days, maybe for a month or more - the in-between times are much more casual.
You shouldnt look at it as just a game, said Judy Le Riche of South Africa, who serves as a lower-level stewardess on the same crew as Alsup. The two were part of a group of crew members chatting last week at Rybovich marina. Its hard work.
Dont believe the antics you see on Bravos reality show Below Deck, said Sean Dunlap, 37, of Annapolis, Md. Dunlap serves as first officer but has worked his way up in the business after working part time in the Savannah, Ga., shipyard during college.
When in exotic ports, you usually get a chance to get off the boat and have fun, but you dont play with the boss toys, said second engineer Bryan Millspaugh, 34, who has been based in Jupiter, Fla., for the past year. With seven years in the business, he moved from working at a marina to working on a crew and figures hell always be doing marine mechanical or carpentry work, things he has learned on the job.
Alsup, 27, joined her current crew as third stewardess in July in Germany when the 191-foot yacht was finishing maintenance. That means she supervises the housekeeping side of things. She knew when she took a cruise at age 12 she wanted to work on a boat.
Alsup saw a good deal of Europe before the boat departed for an extended stay in West Palm Beach at the Rybovich marina - with stops along the way in Norway, England, the Azores, Bermuda. And the yacht made a quick run to the Bahamas once it got here.
Next port? Unknown, but Alsup knows the yacht will probably depart in June. (The crew is circumspect with boat names, because the owners prefer privacy.)
Rybovich, in West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach, is a major repair and maintenance center where boats stay for months sometimes - thus the crews stay in the area. Rybovich even has a campus for crew members with a private restaurant and bar, gym, pingpong tables and more.
They love the privacy, said Anthony LaCavalla, Rybovich vice president for north end development.Work hard, play hard
Its a work-hard, play-hard life.
Just ask Reid Dickson, 24, of Toronto, whose title is second engineer - but you can call him pirate.
For a while he worked on a charter yacht, where he could earn half his salary again in tips in just a two-month span. At the end of it, you get this big honking envelope, he said.
But the pace was brutal: up at 6 a.m. and no sleeping until the last guest went to bed. Burnout is fast. Now he prefers a private yacht.
Dickson joined a yacht crew on a whim, and plans to keep working his way up. Maybe captain someday.

Keywords:
 age   Alsup   beach   boat   crew   hard   job   month   Palm   part   side   West Palm Beach   working   yacht   the world and   San Blas Islands   Rybovich 

Picture Keywords
 age   Alsup   beach   boat   crew   hard   job   month   Palm   part   side   West Palm Beach   working   yacht   the world and   San Blas Islands   Rybovich 
Time: 23:22  |  News Code: 395536  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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