Superyacht Stewardess

Superyacht Crew Visa’s Explained

Superyacht Crew Visa’s Explained

What visa do I need to work on a yacht?

For this article, I am going to have to be very general about my advice.

When you are a professional yacht crew member, it is an understatement to say that you will be ‘travelling a lot’, whether it be by air, sea or land.

You will find that the one thing that comes up in conversation is what visa do I need for XXX country.

Therefore, to explain the superyacht crew visa topic, without waffling on too much, I will break down the requirements into locations.

Consequently, the three types of visa’s that we will discuss here are:

  1. Schengen visa
  2. USA B1/B2 visa
  3. The Australian superyacht crew visa

For all visa processes and to make the application as easy and as stress-free as possible, make sure your passport is up to date with more than twelve months validity on it.

The Schengen Visa

The Schengen Area consists of 22 European Union (EU) state members and four non-EU members who are, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Ireland has also opted out of the Schengen policy, and they operate a separate visa policy.

At the time of writing this, the United Kingdom is battling their way through Brexit, but at this stage, UK citizens may move freely within the EU. Furthermore, the UK also run a separate visa programme.

Nationals of EU countries and Schengen nations are visa-exempt and are allowed to reside, move freely and work in each other’s countries.

For those nations outside of the EU and the Schengen visa agreement, then the following rules apply.

They are the Annexe 1 and Annexe 11.

The list of countries in Annexe I includes Asia, Africa and South America (Western part), Russia and China; this means that South Africans and Filipinos are eligible to apply.

The Annexe II countries include the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Annexe II citizens need a visa only if they intend to stay for more than 90 days within 180 days.

Therefore, no visa is required for citizens from Annexe II countries to enter the Schengen area.

Below is a generalised explanation of the Schengen visas for non-EU citizens there are:

  1. Transit type B visa
  2. Short-stay type C visa
  3. Longstay type D visa

The first one is the transit visa, and it is commonly known as the Type B visa. As a yacht crew member, who travels a lot, you may know this visa as an entry or exit visa.

That is to say that this visa is only required if you are passing through a Schengen state for no more than five days.

For example, Transit type B visa is very applicable if your visa has expired and you still need to travel home.

The second type is the short-stay type C visa. This visa is valid for 1 to 5 years. When the visa expires, renewal can be testing.

This visa can not be changed, renewed or extended within the Schengen area. You must leave the  Schengen area and reapply.

The documents needed for this visa are:

  • The employment letter
  • Crew/work contract
  • Port letter and yachts itinerary
  • The yachts registration details
  • Personal travel insurance

In addition to the above requirements, there is a subsection to this visa referring to the “short” part of the visa name. The short-stay relates to the 90 days in and 90 days out within a 180 day period.

Essentially this means that if the yacht intends to spend the summer months cruising within the Schengen area then, the crew member will have to be stamped out by the shipping agent, rendering the crew member limited to the yachts flagged state.

At the end of the season, the crew member can be stamped back into the Schengen area, meaning that the time spent onboard under the flag state was time sent outside of the EU or Schengen area.

The third type of visa is the Longstay type D visa. The type D visa is the best visa to obtain a because it is renewable within the Schengen area.

The visa can be obtained by presenting the same paperwork are the type C visa.

B1/B2 Visa

The USA is a megabase for the superyacht industry.

By its very nature, it draws hundreds of young and aspiring superyacht crew, looking for work and adventure on the high seas.

If you are not a US citizen or hold a green card, then you will need to apply for a B1/B2 visa to work on board a superyacht in US waters.

According to the U.S. State Department website,

“The visitor visa is a type of non-immigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment (B-2)”.

This visa must not be confused with the C1/D visa which is a crew visa, broadly used for maritime personnel including a cruise ship and cargo vessels.

Unlike the Australian visa, the USA visa is not a straight forward visa to gain.

US Department of State is particularly interested in your ties with your own country.

You must be prepared to show that you pay taxes elsewhere, rent a home or can prove that you reside somewhere else in the world, which means that you are in no way interested in overstaying your visa or have illegal immigration intentions.

To obtain a B1/B2 visa, you really need to have all of your paperwork in order, including a letter of employment from your yacht.

The letter of employment is not stated on the website, so I guess it’s not technically required, but it sure will help during the interview process.

Next,  you will need to fill out a DS-160 form and make an appointment with your nearest US consulate general or embassy.

Be prepared for some tough and at times, rude questioning.

Other helpful papers, as mentioned above, include phone records, utility bills, bank statements and other documents that show that you reside happily elsewhere.

Please take the time to research this information accurately.

The Australian  Superyacht Crew Visa

The Australian superyacht crew visa was explicitly created to encourage the growth of the superyacht industry in Australia. Therefore,  it is very straight forward to gain this visa.

You must have a contract to work on a superyacht in Australian waters, and a supporting letter from the owner of the yacht confirming the person’s employment.

If you are not an Australian citizen, you will need to apply for this visa. The temporary activity visa (subclass 408)  Superyacht crew stream, allows you to work in Australia as a crewmember of a superyacht.

You can travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while your visa is valid.

The visa is valid for 12 months, with a maximum stay of up to 2 years. Furthermore, this visa is also renewable and you can do it online.

 

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The Stewardess Bible

Small Space – Storage Solutions

Small Space – Storage Solutions

As a superyacht stewardess, you are required to be very creative with your small space storage solutions. The storage area needs to be clean, dry and easily accessible…. Which, let’s face it, is quite often NOT the case…..

If you are like me and had your fair share of battling with mattresses to get to the under bed storage or contorting your body into the most fabulous position to get into a tiny bilge space,  then I think the following article will be quite helpful.

Generally, on superyachts, we do not have the luxury of walk-in storage areas unless you are on an 80m+ vessel and even then you may find yourself in a storage battle with other departments staking claim over the precious space…

So before your frustration levels skyrocket let’s look at what you have to work with:

You may find storage in the following areas:

  • Obvious cupboards in the crew area and guest accommodation
  • Under bed storage: Both in the guest and crew accommodations
  • Bilge areas
  • Under furniture in both the guest and crew areas
  • Outside under furniture
  • Under the bridge consul

Important:

Now before you start to distribute your interior stuff everywhere… it is very important to respectfully ask each department to allocate space for you.

Storage items:

On a yacht, there seem to be a million things to store and so little space to store it in. So I have selected just a few items that seem to always be in the “more challenging items to store” category.

Crew Uniform and give away items:

  • Space bags for things you won’t need on charter
  • Blue tape around types of clothing (ordered by item, not size)
  • Blue tape around sizes of items
  • Ziplock bags of clothing items
  • Ziplock bags of items by size
  • Plastic containers if space allowed

Unless you are lucky enough to have an allocated large cupboard for this I would normally store this under a bed. As with many things on this board it is really a personal preference. However, experience suggests that ordering the items by size and type is an effective solution. You can always see what the item is but finding the right size can be time-consuming.

You will be limited to what and where you can store things in the guest accommodation, however, in the crew cabins you can think in various dimensions. For example, look at vertical dividers in cupboards or hanging shoe bags on the back of doors.

Toilet paper and kitchen towels:

  • Toilet paper and kitchen roll stored in bilges
  • Stored in hanging nets in walking laundry cupboard

For bulkier items such as toilet paper and kitchen towel, before a charter or cruise, make sure that all of the internal cupboards are stocked well (this included under the bathroom sinks in crew cabins).

Next, make sure the galley pantries and crew mess are well stocked and then place the kitchen roll on top of the toilet paper.

Just make sure that the storage area is clean and well ventilated.

Drinks, water bottles, cans:

AUUGHGGH, drinks storage can be a royal pain in the A#$%, but with a little planning, it really shouldn’t be so hard. What I mean by this is start off by doing a little math…

Step one:

  • See how much space you have. This may be 2 forward lockers, lockers on the sundeck and locker on the aft deck etc.

Step two:

  • Use the space wisely.
  • For the larger lockers buy plastic crates with holes in them for ventilation and an escape route if any water gets in them.
  • Calculate how many bottles of water fit into space. Use this as a guide for provisioning. I.e. if you know the forward locker fits 50 x 2L bottles of water then you can easily estimate what you need for your next order.
  • A good tip here is to buy a combination of both foldable crates and permanent size crates, both have a useful purpose on board.

Step three:

Go ahead and calculate all of your storage areas. If you do this properly then it will make your life so much easier in the future with mid-season provision requirements.

Wine and liquor:

So by now, you have probably figured out that storing wine on a yacht can be very challenging. The usual recommendations of wine storage such as:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity level
  • Motion Restriction

Are pretty impossible to control on a yacht. In addition to this, you will also have to find suitable storage, which enables easy access yet it has to be secure enough that the bottles won’t break.

Typically the wine tends to be consumed on the cruise/charter, however, if it is not then common sense dictates that fine wine be stored on land for longer storage requirements.

Once the wine fridges, bar, pantries and allocated cupboards are stocked to capacity, you will need to look to the under furniture storage. If possible, I would recommend storing any excess wine amidship like in the main saloon or lower deck in the VIP cabin purely due to the lesser motion of the vessel.

There are many things that you can use to protect the bottles such as:

  • Bubble plastic
  • Towels
  • Even kitchen roll

However, the one product that I highly recommend is a protective mesh wine sleeve.

  • I love this product because it’s cheap, easy to get and easy to store any excess.
  • It saves the glass bottles from smashing or clinking together and it protects the very important label.
  • Finally, because its mesh you can easily see what you need
  • You can buy it online from Amazon, or you can try your local ship chandlery

Remember:  all cardboard should be removed from the yacht to illuminate the risk of cockroaches or other nasty bugs becoming your new nightmare on board.

Further reading on wine storage:

https://www.onboardonline.com/industry-article-index/provisioning-and-galley/a-stellar-cellar-on-board/

If there something that you would like help with then please leave a comment below or email admin@stewardessbible.com

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Questions to Ask Yourself If You Want to Leave the Yachting Industry

 

Superyacht Crew Hierarchy

Superyacht Crew Hierarchy

Working on a superyacht is truly a wonderful experience, and I can honestly say that I have not worked in such a unique industry before or since leaving the yachting industry. The following article explains the Superyacht Crew Hierarchy in detail along with what a superyacht actually is.

What is a superyacht?

The word yacht comes from the Dutch word ‘jacht’, which means to hunt. Originally the yacht was a light and fast vessel that was used by the Dutch Navy to pursue pirates. After 1650, this developed into a luxury vessel for VIPs and was used by the Dutch Navy until 1843.

Yachts for civilians were known as ‘play yachts’. Until the 1990’s most yachts were usually under 40 metres. Over the years they have slowly become larger. Currently, the largest yacht to date is 163 metres, with a 180 metre ‘new build’ under construction at the world-renowned German shipbuilding company ‘Lurssen’.

Luxury, indulgence, elegant, expensive, bling, sumptuous, rare. The world of luxury yachting has taken off exponentially in the new Millennium. It seems the rich and famous are no longer satisfied with a mere luxury superyacht, and towards the end of the last century, the term ‘mega and ‘Giga’ yacht had come into use.

This has resulted in an increase in the demand for highly skilled crew. The years of backpacker dominated docks have been replaced by the bachelor holding hotel managers and commercially qualified professional seamen.

There is no absolute definition of this subject, so this is what I found on Wikipedia:

“The  term    luxury  yacht,  superyacht,  large  yacht  and  mega  yacht,  refers  to   the  expensive  privately  owned  yachts,  which  are  professionally  crewed.”

Who owns these superyachts?

Well, it’s no surprise that superyachts are owned by wealthy people. The superyacht industry knows no boundaries and the yacht owners come from all corners of the globe. The yacht owners are people from varying backgrounds. It is true that some owners are movie stars and celebrities.

The majority of the owners are wealthy business people, who prefer to stay away from the paparazzi and who prefer to have their identity kept secret. The yachts are used for various reasons.

Some are completely privately owned, others are for charter only, and the rest operate between these two positions. Charter prices also range from tens of thousands, through to hundreds of thousands.

The Organisational Structure

The organisational structure onboard a superyacht can best be described as being top-down and strongly hierarchical (as shown below) based upon a military model. Where positions, job duties and lines of authority are set, however, a superyacht is not the military, nor is it merchant shipping or large-scale commercial shipping like cruise liners.

Obviously, the larger yachts will have more crew with the same title and job description. Another area that may cause a little confusion is in the galley. Most yachts run with a chef or cook on a smaller yacht and only the larger super/mega yachts run with a team of chefs.

The following diagram represents clearly the formal structure by which superyachts operate. It also shows a clear separation of authority and duties of their hierarchical rank.

A Superyacht runs this way for a few reasons:

  • An authoritative chain of command is implemented for safety reasons, with the Captain is the master of the vessel… the king of the castle so to speak, with the Chief Engineer and Chief Officer following closely behind with the safety of the crew and vessel in their hands.
  • The middle managers follow in line to execute the commanding orders.
  • Followed by the lower ranks to carry out the orders.

This diagram broadly represents the chain of command on board a superyacht (please keep in mind that this example is a general summary and yachts will differ in the organizational structure.).

The horizontal specialization of the crew is again quite obvious, with each department specializing in their relevant departments:

Superyacht Crew Hierarchy

  • Engineering: Safety and smooth operational running of the vessel and hotel services.

  • Deck: Passage delivery, Safety, Outside housekeeping/maintenance, guest outdoor activities.

  • Interior: Guest wellbeing, guest control in an emergency, housekeeping, hotel management, activity planner, accounting and guest liaison.

  • Galley: Guest food preparation, crew food preparation, galley and store stock control, hygiene and maintenance.

Super Yacht Crew Hierarchy

 

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How to Reduce Plastic Use

HOW TO REDUCE PLASTIC USE

As superyacht stewardesses, we see the damage caused to our oceans and waterways by plastic daily. Moreover, its no surprise to know that plastic pollution is a global problem that threatens aquatic life.

Therefore, it is necessary for everyone to take small steps to reduce plastic use as well as take good care of their environment.

This article is written for the superyacht stewardess but can be applied to all walks of life. Further, it aims to highlight some steps to follow to reduce plastic use and pollution.

Cutting down the Daily use of Plastic 

 Avoid using plastic straws.

These straws are a massive problem in ocean contamination; they are also among the most picked up trash on beaches.

To stop straw use is straightforward: As a consumer, simply do not order a straw, and as a superyacht stewardess do not offer a plastic straw. If you guests asks for one, offer a bamboo straw instead.

Make use of a reusable tumbler or a no-go mug when you order coffeeAs a consumer, take your own insulated coffee cup along to your favourite coffee shop. The use of insulated tumblers will also keep your beverages hot or cold a lot much longer.

Moreover, You also need to know that paper coffee cups are mostly coated with plastic resin, so you need you to avoid these as well and go for reusable containers.

Avoid dry-cleaning in reusable bags.

Avoid making use of the dry-cleaners’ one-time-use plastic bags and nasty coat hangers. Instead, provide your dry cleaner with your own coat hangers and reusable bags.

Avoid chewing gum.

How would have thought that chewing gum was so bad for the environment! However, according to Planet experts, it is.

The gum was initially made from natural materials like sap and rubber, but manufacturers now make use of a type of synthetic plastic instead.

Therefore instead of mindlessly grabbing the first of chewing gum, you see look for a biodegradable natural gum or eat mints instead.

As a superyacht chief stewardess who does all of the provisioning’s onboard, this is one area that you have complete control over and one tip that can be extended throughout  all of  your product purchases

Biodegradable Vintage Retro Floral Drinking Paper Straws

Check out these romantic biodegradable straws

Make use of eco- friendly shopping tips

 Use reusable bags to carry your groceries.

Yearly, billions of plastic bags occupy landfills. In order to help reduce this number, use your tote bags when you go grocery shopping.

  • Reusable bags are much sturdier for moving groceries and will make a large impact on the number of plastic bags used.
  • It is easy to get reusable bags at most grocery stores and if you are using a provisioning company, ask them not to use single-use plastic bags.
  • Buy food from bulk bins and store them in reusable containers. Purchasing foods from the bulk section will save you money as well as lots of plastic packaging.
  • So instead of bagging your bulk foods up in plastic bags make use of your reusable bags or containers.
  • Waste-free storage options include cotton bags, glass jars and stainless-steel containers.
  • You may consult the customer service desk if you are worried about how your containers will affect the weighing and paying.
  • This is because most stores have weighing options for personal containers. Cotton bags have their weight printed on the bottom which makes the weighing process easier.

Avoid purchasing bottled beverages.

Stop your use of plastic bottles by getting alternatives, i.e. by using a reusable bottle to fill up with water, by making your own soda with machine-like Soda Stream, or you purchase fresh fruit to make your juice.

I acknowledge this is a hard thing to do onboard a superyacht, but as we are all citizens of this planet, this point is for everyone, so please just do your best.

Purchase secondhand toys and electronics.

This is because new toys and electronics come with excess plastic packaging. This may not be an easy tip to adopt onboard the superyacht if you are shopping for the guests, but it is easily done in your private life.

Shopping secondhand helps you eliminate waste and high price.

Reduce Plastic onboard the Yacht.

 Keep your food in glass containers or jars.

This is a super easy thing to change onboard. And if you are worried about breakage, then there are other alternatives, such as wheatgrass containers, or upcycled plastics. Also, check out the beeswax food wraps.

Produce your own multi-purpose cleaner.

The vinegar and water cleaning solution for example.This help to prevent the purchase of cleaners in plastic bottles.

Try recycling your plastic products. After you might have used all plastic products make sure to recycle instead of disposing of them.

You should have a recycling service stop by and have the plastic products picked up at your home, or you take plastics to the facilities.

I have written an article on this matter for Dockwalk magazine, which you can check out here:

  • The Superyacht Stewardess and Going Green

CONCLUSION 

Reducing plastic use involves everyone taking small steps which all amount to a solid solution.

These steps as listed above include replacing single-use plastics with reusable options, when shopping, shop secondhand and purchase in bulk to reduce plastic packaging.

Each step seems small, but small steps will add up to significant change!

Lastly, I encourage everyone to do there homework on this issue. The following websites are a great help:

How to Take Care of an Orchid

How to Take Care of an Orchid

As a Superyacht Stewardess, you will be required to take care of many flowers and plants onboard.

The orchid is a  humble yet exquisite flower and it will be right on top of the list of plants to take care of, as many superyacht interior designers and stewardesses just love them.

This may be because the beautiful orchid can complement any colour scheme and it will bloom for weeks on end.

Caring for the delicate orchid flower may look like a challenging task, but taking care of Orchids is not that complicated, in fact, it’s quite easy. And Just because it’s different from traditional potted flowers, many stewardesses think that they are far too delicate to have on a yacht, however, in my experience, this simply is not the case.

But people are afraid of them. So, if you’re looking for the best orchid care there are a few important tips you need to know to help make it easier to care for the indoor plant.

Orchid Care Tips to Keep Them Alive and Healthy

What are Orchids?

Orchids are epiphytes or “air plants”. This means that the Orchid flower doesn’t grow in the dirt but rather by clinging on to tree barks and roots. They get most of their nutrients from detritus which gather around their roots.

Orchid flowers aren’t rooted in soils in the wild. So, if you want the best Orchid flowers these facts are important to consider. With the right care, Orchid flowers can blossom and live virtually forever.

Most Orchids die mainly because of overwatering due to the misconception that plants only need water to survive longer. This is, in fact, the opposite when it comes to Orchid flowers because, in the wild, they don’t sit in wet soil because the flowers’ roots will rot and die since it cannot absorb water and nutrients.

So, when it comes to Orchid flowers, the less the water the better.

Orchid Flower - Superyacht Stewardess

Orchids are tropical plants and need four things to thrive on the yacht, these are:
  1. Partial light
  2. Consistent watering
  3. Warm temperature
  4. Fertiliser
Watering tips

Place 2-5 ice cubes around the roots of the indoor plant at least once a week and allow them to melt into the pot.  Many stewardesses place the ice on the crown (on the top of the leaves in the centre).

This is a fundamental error because wone the ice melts, it can pool around the leaves which in turn will rot them over time.

To test if there is enough water in the soil, dip two fingers into the soil, pull them out, then rub the fingers together. If the soil is dry, then you can add more water, but if it’s moist, then there’s probably enough water for the Orchid flowers.

Temperature and Lighting Tips

Air conditioning can dry the soil, so it’s wise to keep checking from time to time to ensure proper moist levels.   Spraying the flower with water is bad since spraying the plant with water turns the flower brown and rot.

In case of dusty leaves use cotton wool dipped in milk to wipe the leaves. The leaves will feed on the milk and as a bonus, will make the leaves glossy.

Don’t place the Orchid flowers close to direct sunlight, a fan, or air conditioner. But once in a while, get them outside for some moments near the sunlight but not in direct sunlight, away from the air-conditioned yacht for a fresher flower.

Some Orchid flowers bloom in humid areas like restrooms.   Orchid flowers flourish in humid areas, like out in the sea or a bathroom. But remember that too much moisture with little air movement can make the Orchid flower vulnerable to rot. You must achieve a decent balance of airflow and humidity for optimum Orchid care.

Most orchids need moderate to warm temperature constantly. For the best Orchid Care, you should ensure the temperature doesn’t fall below 15 degrees Celsius. During the day, the best temperature for the indoor plants is between 22 to 25 degrees Celsius for the best Orchid Care.

Ceiling lights in the superyacht will undoubtedly not have enough light for the Orchid flower so you should place the plant near a window for natural sunlight but ensure the plant isn’t exposed to direct sunlight.

Other Orchid Care Tips

You should never let the Orchid flowers touch anything. If the Orchid flowers touch something like a wall, it completely harms the delicate flowers’ leaves and petals.

Orchid bark is most probably the best the best material to plant the Orchid flowers in. Remember that Orchids should not be planted inside the soil to avoid root rot and to allow the root to have enough oxygen to live.

Since some superyachts Orchids are potted in moss you should ensure the moss is dry before rewetting it since it’s so easy to over water the flowers in the moss. If you’re not sure, you can just go with bark instead.

Orchid plants can live for a long time but it depends on whether they have roots or not.

Good luck with taking care of the of the beautiful Orchid flowers, and hopefully, you feel more confident when handling these amazing flowers.

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