Kristina Hogg got her first taste of the yachting industry back 2011 when she secured a role as a deck steward on a superyacht. But not content with just making up the numbers, she set her sights on achieving deck officer certification.
‘I did my day skipper and a few other basic courses to be a deckhand in the yacht industry,’ Kristina explains. ‘When I had that, I packed my bags and went to Palma looking for work and I found a job onboard a 52m motor yacht called Legend.
‘I joined as a deck stew (steward) and after a year and a half of being onboard I was promoted to the position of bosun. I decided to knuckle down and take my courses and make progress on my Officer of the Watch as there are a lot of modules to do and it can be quite difficult fitting them in around the itinerary of the boat.’
Leaving Legend in September 2015, and having started her course by funding herself, financial pressures were causing a distraction to Kristina. Preparing for the final wave of her studies, she discovered that the Slater Fund might help ease the burden.
‘I had completed the majority of the modules and had paid for them myself,’ she recalls. ‘I just wanted to concentrate on that last push of doing my exams and not the financial cost. I knew there were things out there and there was help for people who were more on the Merchant Navy route, but I wasn’t aware that it was also there for people working on yachts. As soon as I found that out, I got my application in.
‘It was a great help, even for just my final few months, as that’s when you need to knuckle down and concentrate freely on the task in hand.’
Kristina gained her CoC in March this year. ‘Had I not had the scholarship I would probably wouldn’t have bothered to do the courses for my chief mate until I was working again and could afford to pay for them but, as I had the scholarship, I had the time to just do them all in one go and not just stop at the Officer of the Watch,’ she says.
Kristina’s boyfriend is currently completing his OOW training and the couple will then seek a job alongside each other. ‘We worked together on the previous boat so we know we’re a strong team but we just need the opportunity from someone to run a small boat,’ she adds.
She urges others in the sector to follow in her footsteps. ‘You don’t have anything to lose by applying for the Slater Fund. Although there is no certainty you’ll be accepted, it could be a massive boost to help with the financial burden of getting you where you want to be in your career.’