Deciding whether to work on a yacht

Ben Proctor  |  21st January 2015

Prior to leaving England on that cold wet day in September and embarking on my new adventure I spent about a year considering the idea of working on a super yacht. I even spent one week out in the south of France, chatting to yacht crews and meeting people looking for work, all to try and help me decide if this was something I wanted to do. I remember being sat on a beach in Antibes, just off the harbour writing out endless pros and cons lists…

The big problem with making the decision was I seemed to have two voices in my head. I had the one voice, that I deemed “Mr Sensible” and another, “Mr Adventurous” - both of which could seem equally logically and plausible depending on my mood and the people that I was surrounded by.

The “Mr Sensible” in my head would regularly tell me, “you are in a good paid job, that is safe and secure and have a nice apartment and all your friends around you…. Why risk it all for a job in an industry you have no experience in, to live in a small cabin, sharing with others and away from loved ones, plus you may never even get a job on a yacht.” All highly valuable reasons which would help move the reality of undertaking such super yacht adventure further away.

The other side was “Mr Adventurous”, his approach was much more exciting, maybe more risky but equally appealing at the same time. He would regularly say, “why stay in a job you don’t like, for security you don’t need at the minute… explore the world, travel, have new experiences, save more money than you ever will in your current job, meet new people, LIVE!!!”

Both would present highly convincing cases and my mind for that year felt like a high court case trying to come to the right decision; with the defendant and prosecution fighting to win the case with my jury aka my mind.

The people I mixed with also influenced my jury. My parents, naturally opted for the safe and secure option, staying in my current job, which was on the face of it a sensible idea and a highly credible option. My friends laughed at the decision of staying put, informing I had no decision to make, “go, go, go” “what have you got to lose”. My friends would see more of the fun side of the super yacht adventure (travel, hot climates) and they all added support to “Mr Adventurous”.

I spent a week in France to help my decision and on landing I headed straight to my place of work. I met with my boss and told him what I was thinking. When I talked through the options and pros and cons he rightly said “what have you got to lose.” He informed me that he knew my work would have me back if things did not work out, I had no dependents, no mortgage, no ties and informed that I should make the most of such an opportunity. With that in mind I spoke to my family, who agreed with his sentiments and were equally encouraged. After further mulling over I realised where my heart lay and the fact that I had been mulling it over for so long indicated to me a deep routed desire to give this super yacht industry a good go, to step out of my comfort zone and do something that I had not done for a long time in my current life, get out of my stayed routine and challenge myself on this exciting but unknown new path.

So the decision was made, the courtroom in my mind quietened, a calmness came over, before the magnitude of my undertaking dawned on me. My mind busied with excitement, thoughts of plans and things to sort before going, courses to do and actions to complete. The first task, letter of resignation… this was really happening…

I handed in my notice the following morning and gave my four weeks’ notice. The month flew by and before I knew it I was sat on the tarmac, at Bristol Airport on an Easyjet plane bound for Nice, in the South of France.

I wish I could say I never regretted the decision, but there were times, sat on the plane, entering my crew dormitory room for the first time, doing my first dock walk and many other times when my Mr Sensible voice in my head would question, “what am I doing…!” and I did have moments when I wondered if I had made the correct decision; when people were telling how hard it was to get work and how I had left it too late to come out to France. However, looking back on the whole time away it was certainly not the wrong decision and it has provided me with so many opportunities and memories that would never have opened had I not decided to take the one decision that turned my career and life in a completely new direction.

Decisions at times can be very testing, weighing up which option to take and trying to work out where a decision may take you. It is hard not to be influenced by people’s views, thoughts and opinions, in wanting to impress and please people, but this may not always take you down your right route.

Making the decision to come away to a new world on a super yacht I personally found extremely hard. Sometimes the easy decision is not the right decision, leaving us to become stale and uninspired, although an easy decision may be comfortable it may not always bring happiness. Often the harder decision can be the one worth taking, that one that takes you a little further out your comfort zone than you are happy too, that one the gives you the slight butterflies in your stomach.

The power of one decision over another can have enormous consequences and change the path of your life in so many ways. For me I often wonder what my life at home would have looked like if I had not chosen to take a chance on a new direction, a new path; it is hard to say, but I am sure it would not have included as many incredible sights, beautiful beaches, ports and towns, glorious sunsets and sun rises looking out over the sea, captivating wildlife, and friends and memories to last a life time.

I sometimes think about what I will look back on in my life as the ageing process evolves and see this often as a good indicator if I am on my correct path… I plan and hope one day when I reach my older years to dwell on some of the incredible moments from time working on a super yacht and the happy memories and experiences gained. As for my office job… well I think I will have enough to relive without dwelling on this.

There is only one life, sometimes I feel we trade too easily memories and moments at the expense of that pay check. Remembering time is finite and the need to appreciate every moment of each day, may just help you to create a future and past that you can look on with fondness and happiness.

Make the right decision; live, love, see, feel…enjoy a life you want to live and create your future as you want it.

For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor