Adventures in Bikini Boat Washing – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Bikini Boat Washing in Fort Lauderdale Florida

Only one week after being soaked, freezing and fighting for basic survival on a doomed sailboat heading to Bermuda, I found myself in an altogether different situation. Scrubbing a multi-million dollar motor yacht… in my bikini.

My friend and fellow Bermuda survivee, Marc, had gotten a job delivering a sailboat to the Caribbean island of Antigua. One lovely Italian dinner and a tearful goodbye later, and I was completely on on my own again. Just me and my bikini in a strange Floridian city.

I was excited about my new work as a Bikini Boat Wash girl (no judging!). Really, I’d have washed boats dressed in a soggy paper bag if it got me closer my goal of being a deckhand on a sailing yacht.

It was time for the International Boat Show in Fort Lauderdale so the other bikinis and myself were assigned various roles on several of the attending mega-yachts. I showed up the first morning, excited to whip out my deck gear and “wax on, wax off” for the day. But it was not to be. I was assigned to be one of the models.

How horrifying!

As a backwoods girl that had spent the previous three years living in a camper in the woods, I was already a tad bit uncomfortable with the excessive showiness of the yachting world. Now I was expected to show off the yachts to the hoards of wandering millionaires. And you know… talk to them.

At the beginning of the day, I think I would have preferred to take on a herd of zombies with nothing but my toothbrush, but it ended up not being so bad. The prospective buyers were nice enough, and no one (not even one person) tried to eat my brain. All I had to do was smile, show them each room, and then get their names and emails, etc. Good bye!

Still, it wasn’t the kind of work that was going to give me my coveted deckhand experience. I contacted the head Bikini Boat Wash lady and got myself transferred to the cleaning division for the next day. The pay was worse and it meant I would have to wake up at an obscene pre-dawn hour, but on the plus side, I would finish earlier, giving me time to roam the docks, searching out those elusive sailboats where I might be able to hustle a deckhand job.

And I almost got one!

There was a gigantic catamaran sailboat near the dock where I cleaned, and I was determined to get on it. I showed up with my biggest smile, eager to display just how amazing I would be to work with. There were at least a dozen crew members, running around wrapping things up for the day. The captain handed me a cold beer and invited me to hang out with them a bit. That was the interview process apparently.

I stood around, unsure what to do. Everyone was working but no one accepted my offer of help. So I just drank my beer and asked questions, probably annoying them more than anything. Then word reached us that one of the mega-yachts was about to leave. This supposedly would be quite a spectacle as maneuvering in the crowded marina was no easy task. So the captain gathered the crew (and me) together and brought us down to a dock nearby, a strategic vantage point from which to watch (and make fun of) the yacht’s attempts to leave.

Little bumper boats surrounded the mega-yacht, pushing it this way and that, keeping it from ramming the docks. I watched with the others but didn’t join in on their laughter. It just felt so mean spirited. I felt completely out of place and when I was invited back for the party on the boat later that night, I declined.

Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. I was feeling more disenchanted with the yachting industry by the day. In the evenings, I went back to my quiet crew house and dreamed of real adventures at sea, away from all the glamour and displays of egotism.

The next day, I finished my allotted time polishing already-perfectly-clean-windows, and as usual, went out to lunch with some fellow crew members. Others joined in and soon we had quite a sizeable group, most of whom I didn’t know.

We sat in the shade around a large white table, our plates full from the buffet. Free sugary drinks in hand. An older stewardess with a loud voice monopolized the conversation. She told us that she had had a realization, “that everyone working in the yachting industry has a power complex.”


She said that “we all work hard and put up with shit so that we can rise the ranks and eventually have power over others.” This statement surprised me but it was what followed that nearly made me choke on my glass of sugar. Every other person there either nodded or verbally agreed with her!

I looked around the table, and for the first time realized that I must be surrounded by aliens. Smiling, laughing aliens, adorned in perfect human suits. What nightmare had I gone blundering in to?

At that moment all I wanted was to get away. Away from the group. Away from the boat show. Away from Fort Lauderdale itself! I was not ready to give up on my sailing dream but I understood then what should have been perfectly obvious; fancy yachts (whether or not they happened to have sails) were not for me.

So now what?

Antigua. That was the way to go. I didn’t know if I would look for a boat job when I got there or not. Perhaps I would simply volunteer on someone’s crappy (and so much better) little boat and travel that way. But one thing I did know was that I missed Marc and he would be there in just a few weeks.

So I turned in my bikini (figuratively speaking) and said goodbye to Bikini Boat Wash. A few days later I was on a plane, heading to the Caribbean!

Miss Miral

Note: I just want to say that there are a lot of great people working in the yachting industry and just because it wasn’t my thing and my experiences tended to be negative, doesn’t mean there aren’t great adventures to be had there 🙂

Click Below To Check Out My Next Post!

Operation: Surprise the Pants Off – In Antigua

Operation Surprise the Pants Off Adventures of Miss Miral

Or If you would like to read about my previous adventure, click below!

Sailing to Bermuda (And How I Nearly Died At Sea)

Sailing to Bermuda how I nearly Died at Sea

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16 thoughts on “Adventures in Bikini Boat Washing – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

  1. I found this highly entertaining, and somewhat disconcerting, so well done.
    But, speaking as an ancient Scot, I think your blog needs more bikini photos!
    Thank you for visiting Sound Bite Fiction, a bikini-free site.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t know if you’re still reading these comments on earlier posts, but I really enjoyed it. I was (federally) assigned to Dade and Broward counties from ’85 – ’88 to deal with cocaine issues. It was horrendous. But it was also the height of the Spring Break crazies and bikinis – and less – were everywhere. I did have a close friend who often motored her 48′ yacht to the Bahamas, and that was fun. But overall, I did get really turned off by the crass people who bought mega-yachts just to display their money.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I will be in Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break. I am looking forward to warmer weather and seafood but not the crowds. I did not choose the timing but will make the best of it. Your post was fun to read. Looking forward to reading more about your adventures! Lori

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting–who would have thought!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with rehab up there. It’s funny I almost did the EXACT same thing (going to FT. Lauderdale for the int’l boat show to try and get a job on a sailing yacht), but plans changed. Fair winds!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a funny story! Didn’t take you long to see the light… Thanks for following my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have some humour! keep going 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post! Love the positive energy even during a negative experience. Keep posting my fellow Canadian!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is very cool! I love your writing style 🙂 makes me laugh and feel involved in the story. Thanks for following my blog. Yours rocks!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love reading about people traveling to my city! Well, I live in Miami, which is about half an hour from Fort Lauderdale. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. LOL, some people have all the fun. Have fun in the Caribbean

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh my gosh, what a different kind of experience than the week before. And you sound like you enjoyed the storm more – lol! Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, weirdly yes. The storm was way better!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sounds like you’re doing a good job of finding out what you don’t want to do. Sometimes that’s half the battle. Good luck in Antigua!

    Liked by 1 person

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