What is dockwalking?
Dock walking involves walking along the dock, approaching a yacht and speaking to the crew aboard with the goal of securing either day work, permanent employment or leaving them your CV.
This was one of the nerve-wracking experiences I had in finding a position on a super yacht. Read more now on yacht sales mallorca
Monday morning, 0630 am I awake early to prepare for the day ahead. I live in a crewhouse with other “wannabe” super yacht crew. We are all trying to get a job, and we all compete for the same limited number of yachts. I wake up early to get in the shower first (before the queues start) and shave my face for my first day on the docks of Antibes. In this business, presentation is key. My clothes are ironed the night before. My appetite is low and my stomach is filled with unease as I shower, shave, and eat my breakfast. I fill my bag with essentials like sun cream and water before leaving the crewhouse. I also have a folder of CVs and references that were recently printed. I’m the first one out of the house to the dock, in case there are any crew members who arrive early.
The morning air is calm and fresh, with a salty scent of the sea. It surrounds the cobbled streets of Antibes. The sun is rising, the sky is clear, with white aeroplanes leaving a trail on the blue background. There is a slight coolness in air, indicating that autumn is approaching. As I leave the cobbled streets, I am met with a large selection of yachts that are moored. A beautiful golden fort looks down at the harbour of Antibes. The rising sun highlights the golden color of the fort. While I am walking along the dock, a scavenging fish scurries up a hedge and drags some leftover pizza from a torn garbage bag. It is 730 in the morning and the port and water are calm.
I walk to the International Dock. This is the dock that houses some of the biggest super yachts on the planet. I pass the smaller yachts which are still impressive yachts by our standards. As I walk towards the main dock entrance, my anxiety grows. My heart is racing faster and my fear of rejection increases with every step. I look like I’m about to start school. I have my rucksack, clean clothes, and CVs with me. I am a complete novice. As I enter the International Dock, I am welcomed by a large yacht whose side is adorned with large silver letters spelling out ‘DI L B A R.’ The reflection of water ripples on the yachts hull, and the front of yacht stretching far into the distance, make my heart race. I try to convince myself it’s not the best day for dock walking and that I’ll try again tomorrow. I know I have to continue.
The dock is empty, the only person around is the security guard who seems uninterested by my intentions this morning. I’m sitting by a flowerbed overlooking the long stretch of yachts in front of me. They are all moored with the backs of the yachts facing the dock. I can’t believe the worlds that have changed in two days. Two days ago, I was sitting in an office, watching the rain fall on a busy street… Now, I am unemployed and I admire these incredible yachts with the blue sky, sea, and the old golden fort as a backdrop.
Some dock walkers are seasoned and confident, and they walk with an air of confidence. I speak politely with them and others briefly. Others seem to be focused solely on the yachts, and pass by without a word.
The time is 0745. I walk to the other end of the dock to begin my dockwalk. I hope to catch the crew before the others are disturbed. The bigger yachts are in the front, and I expect that they will attract the attention of dock-walkers. I choose to start with the smaller yachts. As I approach the end of dock, the yachts begin to come alive. Deck crews appear from the side doors of yachts, and walk down the sides to the stern. As I walk to the end of the dock, I can see deck crews walking out. This is a moment that I’ve been waiting for, and it increases my anxiety. My heart is now beating so fast that I can feel it pulsing around my body. I haven’t felt this since I stood up to give a speech as a best man a month earlier. I can feel my mouth drying and sweat building under my armpits. I approach the first boat, and the crew member stares at me. I smile and think that I’ve caught his attention. He then looks down before heading up to the second level to raise the flag behind the yacht. I am certain he noticed me but I don’t want to disturb him. I decide to look at other yachts. As I leave, I realize that I’ve failed the first step in my quest for work aboard a yacht.