I put a call out on the Yachties of Australia WhatsApp group for anyone wanting to contribute to Life of a Yachtie and Dave, an Australian yacht engineer, was the first to throw up his hand up and help out. This is for anyone thinking about getting into the engineering side of yachting.


What is your background?

I’m From Bronte beach, Sydney.

I have been sole engineer on past vessels and now currently a 2nd engineer on a vessel between San Diego and Mexico.


How long have you been in the yachting industry?

I’ve been in the industry for 12 years working on motor yachts. Spent a good 10 years in the med going back and forth from there and home. The last two years I have been in the Caribbean, through USA and also Canada.


Where did you start your engineering career? Was it on a yacht?

I originally started as a mechanic working in a small garage down in Bondi Beach, after finishing my apprenticeship my mate filled me in on the whole yachting idea. I quit my job and shot over to France thinking we would just fly over, party hard, earn great coin, save up and buy a yacht or something hahahaha. Well, he was wrong and bugged off home within a few weeks, while I decided to stick it out for about 4 long months of day working, scrapping coin together to pay for crew accommodation and food. Food in Antibes is expensive and so is the party life with all the employed yachties coming into port.


How did you find your first yachting job?

My daily routine whilst hunting for that dream job would be to make the rounds of the marinas, handing out CVs to every yacht that looked at me, then from there I would head over to the agencies and check in there as my theory was every day that they saw me I would go to the top of the list and be the first on the page, and I also wanted them to know I was keen as fuck to get out here.


Before joining a yacht, what training and certification did you have?

Before leaving the mother land I sold my pride and joy which didn’t end up being a whole lot.

So, I left with the basics of STCW, and the good old ENG1, which I had to fly across the country to get and then have some old bloke wanting to have a look at my balls haha.


As an engineer, would you say you have a good work / life balance?

Since the beginning of my yachting career, I’ve always made room for a good work/life balance. Yeh, it’s long hours every day but during your off time you find things that are nearby and you go explore or you find the closest beach bar packed full of drunk yachties and just rip in, either way you have fun where ever you go. You are visiting new countries every month sometimes. I’ve now mange to plant myself on a 3 month on off rotational gig with four flights paid for and a 13th month bonus every year. The unicorn boats are still out there.

Engineer in greece

What is a standout story or highlight you have from your career in yachting?

12 years in the industry and I can’t think of that many off the top of my head. I mean I’ve never had water pouring into the boat or flames shooting out so that’s good thing. Been a few hick ups but that’s always from the deck department, bunch of monkeys up there.


What are a couple of pros and cons of being a yacht engineer?

I don’t think I have any cons about being an engineer except dealing with human shit or dickheads that put to many things down the toilet or just dickheads in general haha. Na, I love every bit of the gig and it’s all part of it, you have to enjoy what you do otherwise you will just a be a grumpy old fart and there’s plenty of them out there already.


What advice would you give a young person thinking about becoming a yacht engineer?

My advice for the juniors would be to get the engineering tickets under your belt before you start anything, build that cv up with experience, start on a smaller boat if you have to and take what you can get. Ask questions before you fuck something up permanently or even worse injure yourself or someone else.


Thanks to Dave and his insight into the engineering department, how new crew can help their chances in finding work, and his thoughts on the deck team…

If you want to join the WhatsApp group to get the latest job posts, information or help, get in touch and we will send through the link to join.