Ben Proctor left to work on a super yacht aged 28. Through his experience he has written a book, available online titled, “Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide” and developed a website www.workonasuperyacht.co.uk with the aim of helping potential new crew learn about working on a super yacht and how to secure that dream job.
Why did I escape?
Prior to my escape I was in a successful job as a case manager, earning a good salary, but deep down I was not content. I found work in an office mundane, it lacked any excitement, change of routine or dynamism. I often found my mind and eyes wondering outside, looking at the grey rain falling onto the grid locked road outside. I realised I was stuck in a rut and no longer living life to the full. Alongside this I had an uneasy feeling that I was not ready to settle down, maybe I was going through my first very early mid-life crisis!
Prior to making the leap I fought on a daily basis with what to do; with Mr Sensible saying “stay in your secure 9-5 job” or Mr Adventurous saying, “get out of your rut, explore, just do it”. I knew in my heart which was right, but it is strange how much weight we put on a mundane, safe existence in today’s society, even if that course does not make you happy or feel alive. So in what some would describe as a moment of madness or as it felt to me a moment of clarity I handed in my notice and embarked into a new world, new career and a completely new lifestyle…. and world I was a complete novice in.
Finding a way into the Super Yacht world
I completed a couple of professional qualifications and caught a plane to the South of France, heading to a port called Antibes; a beautiful fortified town, home to some of the largest super yachts in the industry. With no job prospect, no experience of working on a super yacht and just a ruck sack of belongings I booked in to a crew house and my dormitory room …… quite a change from my secure job and harbour-side apartment I left some 24 hours earlier. Doubts of my uprooting were strongly ringing as the reality of my move abroad set in.
Finding work proved a full time job for nearly two months; meeting with crew agents, networking at social gatherings, and walking miles of docks handing out CV after CV. It was a hard step down coming from a profession where I was nearing the top of my career, to now essentially cold calling to secure a job I had no experience in. At times it seemed relentless, with nothing developing from what I hoped would be so many positive leads. Persistence and hard work eventually paid off and I slowly made inroads and started to get some interest.
I secured day work on a couple of super yachts, leading to two weeks work and eventually I achieved my goal; working on one of the top super yachts as a deck hand (available to hire at close to half a million per week, a price which I still struggle to comprehend.)
What did my new life consist of?
My work varied but when guests were on-board I would tend to their requests, such as teaching water sports and ferrying them around on high speed tenders (small speed boats) to beautiful ports and beaches. The work also involved a great deal of cleaning and maintaining the yacht to an extremely high standard, a new skill I had to develop as cleaning was not a natural forte of mine! The view from my office was quite a contrast to the grid locked road of my previous job…..one day I would be working with the backdrop of Monaco, then looking onto the Amalfi coastline the following day, one day could be spent whizzing around on jet skis, the next day up a mast polishing stainless steel.
During my time I was fortunate to experience four Atlantic crossings, and saw most of the Caribbean and Mediterranean. I saw some incredible sights; from the most amazing sunsets, dolphins bow riding the yachts wave and whales breaching in the yachts wake, to the most brilliantly bright stars I have ever seen, in the middle of the Atlantic. At times the hours were long, especially when guests were on-board but the negatives were massively outweighed by the people I met, the sights I saw and the memories I treasure, it was an incredible time.
What has my escape taught me?
In hindsight, the day I handed in my notice was one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. Sometimes it seems easier to continue life unchanged, with the security around us in employment, home and friends. However stepping out of your comfort zone can open up a whole new world, endless exciting opportunities and create memories to last a life time.
Looking back and reflecting, there are so many potential opportunities thrown at us each day and changing one decision can have consequences that take us into a whole new direction and life. I wonder how many opportunities like this I have closed the door on through fear, doubt and a will to keep to my safe existence. I have learnt to say yes more and not be afraid of embracing new experiences; we only have one life and it is up to us to make it a journey to remember.
I wish you all the very best with your next career moves and Escapes.
POST EDITED BY CELIA
(check out Celia’s blog “Dared, Determined, Done!” about making big career and life changes here)