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Breaking into Estate Management— My first placement & giving notice

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

So, you've decided to jump off yacht charters and transition your skills to Estate positions. Congratulations on your next step! You might be feeling a bit unsure where to start, who to reach out to and how best to get your foot in the door. Remember, this is normal. Change is not easy especially when your connections are sea-based. You are not only breaking into a new industry, but also transitioning to living back on land.

During my third year in yachting I was eager for something new— I was tired of having a roommate and living in a small space. The yacht owners I was working for gave me an opportunity to work off-boat to help with their estate. During this time I realized how much I missed living in a home. I missed little things like having a commute, jamming to music in my car and being able to organize my own day.

One night, I started doing some research and came across the staff agencies. I filled out several profiles on various sites. In December 2017, I received a call from the Charles McPherson agency. The agent told me that I was a good candidate for a survey position (which is not quite butlering). The duties included having breakfast and coffee service. Each morning I would have the table set and be ready for full service. To be honest, this wasn't my ideal position and I told the agency that. The agent said that there was room to grow. Within three weeks I was promoted to Assistant House Manager— pay raise included.

Room to Grow

A month after the initial promotion, I was promoted to Estate Manager. This was a huge role, one I had been working toward and was ready to take on. The job description included— 

  • Managing a staff of 10—plus their schedules and payroll

  • Managing all house provisions (exterior, interior, food provisions)

  • I would take care of event management and guest services (invitations, accommodations, travel)

  • Overseeing and arranging the family schedule

  • Hired and managed vendors (landscapers, window washers, appliance services)

  • Handled all household accounting

  • Oversaw and scheduled summer projects (when clients were away taking care of; big deep cleans, roof patching, painting, dock reconstruction, beach grading)

  • In charge of all car-related services (routine maintenance, detailing, registration, insurance, garage maintenance).

There's a lot more to share... but we will leave it at that.

Fully Transparent

Whether you're working with a staffing agency or working directly with a new owner, it's important to be transparent and clear on the locations you can work and the time in which you can start. Not every estate position offers moving packages. Are you ready to start tomorrow... next week? Do you have an apartment lined up and a means of transportation?

I had a friend who worked in yachting for 7 years. He decided to transition to work as an Estate Chef and trialed a position during the month of January. By the first week of February the estate owners wanted to hire him. The issue was he needed to give his yacht proper notice. In the interim my friend didn't have a place to live. He dealt with this by speaking honestly with the Estate about how best to move forward. He asked if he could trial for another month to make sure it was the right fit. They agreed, which not only gave him a chance to be sure, but also gave him time to look for an apartment and purchase a vehicle.

When putting in notice with a yacht, keep in mind the following things— No matter what the circumstance, it's important to be professional when giving your notice to any yacht. Be professional and have a sit-down with your captain or management company, present them with the plan you have.

Do you have a contract? If yes, refer back to it. Giving your notice will be addressed within one of the clauses. The time frame could be anywhere between 2-4 weeks.

For yachties without a contract, this is a bit of a grey area. Some Yachts might boot you out immediately. If you handle communication professionally this can help buy you some extra time. Also try to have back-up plan if this is to happen, maybe a temporary couch to crash on.

I hope this insight has been helpful for you. I am here to serve as a resource for you in your upcoming career transition. Reach out or reply in the comments if you have any questions, or even successes!

Ta-ta for now,



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