Living the life… Unexpectedly | Working on a super yacht

Of all the jobs and industries I thought I would ever work in, the yachting industry never even crossed my mind.

To this day, I still can’t believe the experiences and places I was fortunate to visit during my years at sea.

My entry to the industry came together a little bit like destiny. Back in 2008, I was, in hindsight, fortunate enough to be given a redundancy package from the investment bank I was working for as a result of the GFC.

At the time it was pretty disappointing, however I took it as an opportunity to follow through with my dream of doing more travelling while the global economy calmed down, with the intention of returning to the industry in due course.

By chance, I ran into an old university friend who heard about my situation. She recommended I talk to a friend of hers working and travelling around the world working on a super yacht.

Curiosity and the desire to see the lifestyle of the rich and famous, led me to email and ask the girl working on the yacht a little bit about the industry and tell her my background.

By chance, the yacht she worked on was looking for someone with some financial acumen. They needed to sort out their accounts payable and establish a budget for the ship. I managed to score a three-month contract to work on board sorting out their finances.

First stop – Saint Barth’s in the Caribbean!

Words cannot explain the moment I flew over the top of the yacht as I approached the tiny airport runway. In my naivety, this was the first moment that I had no idea what I was in for. The ship was huge, over one hundred metres in length, a helicopter, a swimming pool and a giant aquarium were just some of the amenities on board.

Needless to say, it took me some time to realise where and what the hell I was in for.

In order to keep the yacht operating, at a time when cash conservation was crucial, it was a necessity to slash costs. We needed to create a budget that needed to be strictly stuck to. Initially, this didn’t make me popular with the staff on board. They had the propensity to spend carelessly with the owner’s money!

Gaining their trust and educating them on the options of not having a job in a month or two or reducing costs drastically while maintaining service standards and the general maintenance of the ship, took some time. Eventually it sunk in.

The owner of the yacht appreciated the progress I had made on the cost front. He offered me a permanent position to keep the work rolling along amongst other work he handed me.

Not many jobs in the world could compare to the role I managed to score. In the three years I worked on board, I travelled extensively. I sailed throughout the Caribbean and Bahama’s, the east coast of the U.S, the U.K and Scandinavia. As well as spending half a year in Germany having repairs and major maintenance work done.

I met numerous celebrities, tended to their demands and organised concerts and parties for them. I feel extremely fortunate for the opportunity to see this industry and the lifestyle of the rich and famous first hand.

Moral of the story, you never really know where you will end up.

Author: Mat Kemp