How to Land Your Dream Water Sports Summer Job Abroad
We’ve all said it: “I’m so tempted to pack it in and work abroad for the summer”.
It crosses everyone’s mind at some point. There’s nothing like a rainy day to inspire you into thinking ‘next year I’ll get away’. Even when there’s great weather, it gets us dreaming of a beach or being in the water.
I’m a water baby. I loved swimming growing up and anything related to the water, I got involved. Water-skiing, water parks, wake-boarding, you name it, I gave it a shot when I had the chance. But I didn’t grow up next to the ocean (in fact I was in the centre of the UK), or have a family which grew up loving water-sports. It was something I picked up myself, as it was something I liked.
Having a passion or a hobby is half the battle. If you do, you’ll have the determination to find ways of making it work. It doesn’t matter if you grew up in the countryside, or you weren’t brought up water skiing from the age of 6 months. There’s loads of opportunities out there to build yourself towards a new path.
For those of you who love the water but haven’t had the chance to get into it, I’ll break down my path into becoming a qualified water ski instructor and how to work abroad for the summer.
1. Decide what your passion is
There’s loads of water based activities to get involved in, so what would you love doing the most?
If you’ve been out on a yacht a few times and loved it, then you should look at progressing that. Loved that time you body-boarded on holiday and wanted to keep doing it ever since? Go for it. Everyone has to start somewhere, but knowing where you want to start is important.
You can’t go blind into working abroad. It’s important to work out what your route will be to this summer job. Where is there a need for these jobs? What countries could/should I work in? Are there companies that can help me get into this work? What do I need to get an interview?
These questions are super important to ask, especially the last one, which leads on to our next point...
3. Get trained up
Understandably, you have to have some sort of formal training to move into these roles. Most of these need specific knowledge, and rightly so, as you’ll be responsible for other people’s safety and/or training. It’s important to put some of the hours in before, to make sure you’re the right candidate for the role.
Luckily, there’s some fantastic organisations out there. They provide in-depth, specific courses which will set you up perfectly for success. Being a water-ski instructor goes hand-in-hand with being a powerboat driver, so that was step one; finding a suitable course.
In the UK, The RYA (Royal Yachting Association) offer a fantastic 2 day course called the RYA Powerboat Level 2, which takes you from beginner to a sound overall understanding. The same organisation offer loads of different courses for different disciplines, so it could be a great start for you checking them out. They have centres all across the UK where you can take these courses.
If you’re in another country, there will be a similar association where you can gain the right credentials. There’s also no harm in looking at strengthening your case with other qualifications. If you’re on the water, you’ll know you’ll have to be a decent swimmer. Why not look at doing an entry level lifeguard, or even swim teaching qualification? Make yourself stand out against the crowd.
4. Look into work experience
If you’ve gone out of your way to get trained up, you’re now way ahead of loads of people. You’ve turned your passion into something concrete, so now it’s time to try and get some experience. There are loads of water-sports centres in every country, most of which are run by volunteers. This in exchange for time on the water, or credits towards qualifications. Look at even doing a day a week, if time allows. If you've trained as a lifeguard, roles can open up at swimming pools, activity centres, private gyms and more. Check it out, because it all gives weight to your water CV.
5. Find relevant roles and agencies
After doing this, you’ll be in a great position to find a role and work abroad for the summer.
When I sat down with the Camp Leaders team for my interview, I knew I had prepped well and gave myself the best chance to smash the interview. I knew what was expected of a powerboat driver, and I made sure I ticked the right boxes. The best thing about Camp Leaders from here is that they could talk me through the entire process, and put me in front of relevant camps that may need me. They found out about all my skills, and noted my passion was on the water. I was put forward for a water ski position, whilst being open to other roles, such as a lifeguard.
I was at university at the time, so another great thing about the Camp Leaders programme was the timings; it fell perfectly between my studies and I was back in time for my final year. I got an offer almost immediately without hassle, and it went on to be my summer of a lifetime.
So, there you have it. If you want to work abroad for the summer, you don’t have to be a championship level water-skier to start. You don’t have to own a boat, or even grow up near one. But it’s super important to have a hobby or a passion that you’re serious about developing. If you’re ready to put the work in, you’ll be able to make sure that anyone you teach will have an incredible time, meaning you’ll have the trip of a lifetime as well.
About the author
Mike is the Editor-at-Large at Smaller Earth, and the founder of The Lost Lot, a self-development platform helping young adults find direction when feeling lost in life.
He focuses on the bridge between travel and growth, highlighting how both can be a catalyst for positive change in your life.