Whilst there have been rumblings for some time related to crew training quality, a comment at the recent American Superyacht Forum (14-16 May) in Las Vegas seemed to bring everyone from trainers to captains out from behind closed doors to discuss the issues.

As a follow up to this discussion, The Superyacht Owner spoke with Captains about how crew training can affect not only their experience, but that of the owner and their guests as well. The full story will be featured in Issue 10 but a sneak peek at some of the responses are below.

TSO: How does crew quality affect the owner's experience?

Mike Hein, Captain M/Y Mea Culpa: Certainly, the more experienced and professional the crew, the better the experince for the owner. Are they better taken care of at the Ritz Carleton or the Holiday Inn? More training = better experience.

David Clarke, M/Y Laurel:
Most Owners graduate up into yachting from 5 star resorts, Private villas and 3 star Michelin restaurants, meaning they are used to and expect quality service. When an Owner has a bad experience on his own yacht he matches the cost of ownership with the experience he gets on board and wonders if it is all worth it.

Glen Allen, Fleet Captain, M/Y Harle: The practical experience of crew is minimal. As such, an owner looks at the paperwork, sees a license that says you are qualified and you are now running a yacht and managing crew. As a result of this process you now have many young and inexperienced captains that do not have the experience to manage owners' expectations, handle crew problems, deal with ship yards and all other aspects of running a complicated yacht.

TSO: Do you think crew issues and problems potential owners hear about are discouraging them from entering the market?

Hein: Yes, it also discourages some from moving to a larger vessel as more crew are needed. On that note, the boats must be crewed with enough personnel to actually run them effectively, meaning personnel are not spread thin and are able to provide the level of service necessary and wanted.

Yes and no. Firstly, yes, a superyacht requires a level of professional on board management as does any multi-million dollar investment and many potential owners (given what they hear about crew) are concerned with who will be in charge of their investment and how the operation will be managed. On the other hand, no, crew matters won’t prevent some potential owners from buying a yacht as many owners ego’s enter the room 10 minutes before they do and these are the owners that think 'I can do it better than anyone else because I’ve been so successful in my other businesses that I can do anything'.

The Captains Session at ASF sparked quite the debate

The American Superyacht Forum was held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas from 14-16 May. We'd like to thank our headline sponsors Awlgrip, MTN Satellite Communications and MTU. To access the complete transcripts please click here.

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