On Deck with Mzi Dempers
The crew here at Meridian° are big fans of Mzi Dempers. He’s a rockstar on deck and overall, just a great guy! He’s been busy working hard all over the Mediterranean and has some exciting things in store for us to come. Ahead of his return to the states and to his role on Below Deck Med Season 7, we sat down with Mzi to get the scoop on how he got started in the industry and where he is going.
What inspired you to get started in the yachting industry?
I’ve always lived close to the Ocean and held the ocean close to my heart. At the same time as living close to the ocean, my brothers have been involved in the yachting industry for the past 20 years or so, one is a captain, and the other is a chief officer. They’ve both always been big role models to me, so I think have had a big influence in my decision making.
Why did you choose to go the deck route? Looking back, would you have chosen another department?
Working outdoors and being very hands on, plus the physicality of being out on deck, plays very much into the strengths. So being on deck has always been the most attractive route for me. I think the lessons one learns from being on deck, are right in line with where I see my career progression. All the knowledge gained from the courses en route to becoming a Bosun.
Tell us about your first job on a yacht, what was it like?
My first job in the industry was back at home in South Africa, on a 22m Motor Yacht that used to do charters out to Clifton and along the coast of Cape Town. It was free work which I did for about 3 months, so as you can imagine that starts to play on the mind quite a bit! But it was a great introduction into hard work and keeping a good work ethic. My roles included a daily wash down, and a bit of guest interaction with bits of line handling, but nothing major as we didn’t do that many charters because we weren’t in season. So, lots of time spent tied up in the Marina.
Do you have any REAL advice you can give to someone looking to get a job on deck?
The best bit of advice I think I ever received from my brothers is to stay true to yourself, and always maintain a strong work ethic. If you don’t know something, ask. Don’t try to be somebody you are not, because you’re not fooling anyone but yourself. As cliche as it sounds determination and hard work really will set you apart from the rest.
What is your favorite yachting destination and why?
I thoroughly enjoyed Malta, such a small unique place with so many different cultures and such friendly people. To me one of the best perks of yachting is getting to travel and explore these different cultures, so when you get into a place that isn’t predominately dominated by one culture, I find that super exciting, and that’s exactly what Malta offered. There still are many places I would like to see, but Malta has definitely been one of the highlights so far!
What is your favorite memory while working in deck?
Best memory for me working on deck I think, sometimes is just getting on through to the end of a workday haha. No kidding, I don’t really have one specific memory that comes to mind, but I think the best part of it all is the bond you form with your peers, just the constant nonstop banter and tom foolery that you get up to whilst working, really does make everything that much easier, and puts huge smile on the face at the end of each day. Doing this, all while learning and growing makes everything that you do that much more worth it.
Do you have a trick to avoid drama that is going on around you?
Haha, staying out of drama is a fairly easy one I think, just gotta stay in your lane and constantly respect others, unless it comes to a point where your respect in being taken for granted and undermined, then speak to your subordinates and address the issue in a formal kind of setting if possible. Probably best to try not getting into arguments when under the influence ha-ha, those can be harsh, very harsh!
What’s next for you?
I’ve been back at the home for the past couple of months instructing courses for people wanting to get into the yachting industry, so the next step for me is join a boat in the states, and then complete my Yacht Masters at the end of this year, and hopefully look to take the next step in my career soon. Also currently working on a project which aims at giving back from the knowledge I have gained over the years and experiences I have had, to giving people less fortunate, and minorities within the industry an opportunity to get involved. This is very exciting and has been something that plays on my mind continuously.
Any closing thoughts or anything you would like to add?
If you have to opportunity and the drive to get involved in the industry, I don’t think you’ll regret your decision, as it has the potential to open many doors that may have previously been closed, so if you can, why not?
Bonus Question: The boss is a big fan and really wants to know what happened in Split? 😊
Hahaha ahh, Split, I think Split has always been left very ambiguous. But we really just had a great time as a crew, off camera for the first time obviously, but nothing too spicy just the usual Tom Foolery haha.
Many thanks, Mzi for taking the time to chat with us! We are looking forward to watching him on Below Deck Mediterranean Season 7 and all the shenanigans to come! Follow his journey Mzi Instagram
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