Name – Natasha Ambrose
Age – 28
Present position – First Mate on board S/Y Unplugged
Years in super yacht industry? – Four
Favorite food? – Depends on what I fancy, some favorites are Thai, real Italian pizza and fillet steak with mushroom sauce!
Favorite beverage? – After work beer I love a beer and as we head into the evening Sailor Jerry’s and coke.
What are your interests? – I have a soft spot for the mountains and spend most of my holiday time in the winter snowboarding in the Alps.
Music you’re listening to now? – Right now I am listening to Naxxos – New Orleans
Books you’re reading now? – Studying the GMDSS GOC book as my course is booked for January.
Favorite country? – Has to be Italy for the people. We were on a charter in Italy off an island called Isola Del Giglio and the weather was terrible for August. We had heavy rain, 25-30 kts and a horrible swell rolling in. I had to collect the guests from ashore and whilst I was sitting in the pouring rain in my tender, a lovely old Italian man, who had seen me come into port a couple of times before bought me a hot cup of coffee and stood with me under his umbrella, good people do still exist!
Favourite marina? – I don’t think there can be just one! I love STP in Palma as the weather’s always good and there’s always a great atmosphere here. Then I also spent a lot of time in Oneglia in Italy which is less of a marina more of a dock which backs straight onto the paseo with restaurants and bars 30 meters away! It’s far easier to pick a marina you don’t like.
What is your role and what responsibilities do you hold in your line of work? – As First Mate on board I am second in charge which comes with a fair amount of responsibility. Myself and the captain split the watches which is usually four on four off and then we still have a full days work ahead of us with guests on board which can be incredibly busy. I am the primary tender driver and look after all of the water sports as I am the Jet Ski instructor for the yacht, which inevitably always gets used! On the other side of things I also am responsible for the chart corrections, passage planning, garbage log, maintaining the life saving appliances, mooring operations… the list goes on!
What qualifications do you possess and what qualifications do you need to have to work on super yachts? – I have my Yacht Master Offshore commercially endorsed, RYA PWC Instructor, RYA Powerboat level II, RYA VHF, Efficient Deckhand, H.E.L.M, AEC, Proficiency in First Aid, PADI Dive Master and STCW 95. I am working towards my OOW 3000 (Officer Of the Watch) which requires some more courses.
As an entry level into super yachts you must have your STCW 95 and ENG1 medical, it helps to get your powerboat level II and is a must if your are looking to work on deck. Other than that its about having experience, you can go and do a zero to hero yacht master course but when you turn up for a job it wont put you much ahead of the person who has their powerboat level II.
Can you describe your average day at work from start to finish? – Impossible as there is no average day in yachting :). On charter in the summer it’s morning set up where we make the yacht look brand new everyday before the guests wake up, rolling into tender runs and water sports, moving the boat to a new location, more tender runs and making the boat look great again! I was asked by my brother who was a Marine to explain what I do and I tired really very hard but its such a unique job where no day is really ever the same and there is never a plan as its always changeable. He has recently joined yachting and said now when people ask him what he does he knows how hard it is to explain! We work long days and its a tough job, its not a holiday but if you work hard you get rewarded by being in some of the most beautiful places with an amazing group of people.
How did you get started in the super yacht industry? – I have always loved the sea from a young age its in my bones ha-ha. I was stuck working in an office looking out of the window thinking this is not for me, spending my weekends helping a friend out on their dive charter boat. I had heard about yachting and I did some research and found that it’s actually a very hard industry to break into. With that in mind I went online found all of the yacht delivery companies, emailed them asking if I could come along on deliveries to gain experience. After getting some deliveries under my belt I actually met a lady who used to be a Chief Officer on a 62m motor yacht and she put me in touch with the captain, a week later and I was working on the yacht in Italy!
What is the funniest thing you have seen happen on a yacht? – Probably seeing my deck/stewardess completely miss the aft of the boat in the tender, bouncing off the tube and landing in the sea!
What is the scariest thing that has happened to you on a yacht? – I don’t know if I would call it scary, more humbling. I went on an Atlantic crossing on a smaller sailing yacht only 77ft and we were probably half way across at this point, one reef in the main, two of us on deck one on the helm and the other as lookout rotating between ourselves. It was about 10pm and as black as night can be with no moon and no stars, we had a large swell 2 meters plus and the weather was getting gradually worse, we went through a storm and the wind picked up to 42kts and we were sailing down huge waves trying not to breach, we woke up another crew member and had them watching the radar for the torrential rain that we were going through and looking out for more bad weather. We were in lifejackets but not clipped on and we took a wave over the side that washed all the lines out of the back of the boat it also picked up the eski (full or drinks) and smashed it into the jonbouy which launched it. Luckily we were holding on as its very easy for the lines to take your legs out and wash you out the back of the boat. In the conditions we were in you would not have been found and it would be too dangerous for the yacht to come back and look for you.
What is your most memorable experience? – I have them all the time, they are “yachting moments” where you are could be on deck doing morning set up and the there is an amazing sunrise or sitting in a bar watching the world go by with your crew in a new place you have never been to before or driving the tender in some bad weather and your adrenaline is going and you stop and think to yourself my god I am lucky… there’s not many other people that get to live this life!
What are the wildest conditions you have been out in? – Apart from crossing the Atlantic, we set of from Cannes for the film festival, it’s always typically horrendous weather that week, myself and the Chief Officer went to move the tenders whilst the boat moved to hide behind the islands as it became to rough to recover them. We were heading in the tenders towards Port Pierre Canto to hide, taking every other wave over the bow, about 25kts and a great sweep starting to smash into Cannes bay and my tender decided to have an electrical fault so I was getting shocked through the throttle. It would travel across my body and down my other arm onto the wheel!
All whilst trying to keep your eyes open in the spray, it definitely makes you feel alive when you are out in bad weather… I love it!
Of all the yachts you have been on which one would you choose to own and why? – If I was a billionaire? As that’s the kind of money you really need to own and maintain a super yacht I would have an expedition boat so you can do Greenland and Alaska. Something like Le Grand Bleu.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone looking to get into the super yacht industry? – Its tough, you can’t turn up in Antibes expecting to get a job. There’s probably around 200 people all thinking the same thing, trying to get a job and that’s just in Antibes. Don’t let that put you off, if you are determined and you have to be, with the correct attitude you will get a job. Also if you want to work on deck gaining as much experience on yachts prior to arriving will only benefit you as a person who has done deliveries or been sailing for years is going to be ahead of you. As a stewardess any previous experience in restaurants doing silver service will help or working in a chalet. One thing to remember, no matter how much experience you have, if it’s not on a super yacht you will have to learn this by starting at the bottom.
Would you recommend the yacht industry to others? – Yes I would definitely recommend it, for me it’s my career and some people come and they do a couple of seasons, save some money and make some amazing memories meeting great people from all over the world. Whichever you choose it’s an experience that you will never forget and one that will change your outlook forever.
If you want to change careers or enter the super yacht industry by training with us then email firstname.lastname@example.org