As John Milton famously said, “opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making,” and as the superyacht business is brimming with diverse perspectives, Superyacht Events reached out to captains to explore contentious issues surrounding the industry to drive the content of the breakout sessions of the Global Superyacht Forum, held 17-19 November in Amsterdam this year. The captains spoke freely when asked what they would change about the superyacht market and covered a range of topics, from management regulations to the treatment of the crew.



Numerous captains criticised the role of yacht management within the industry. “Owners are being conned into believing that it is ‘law’ to have a manager,” proposed one captain, adding that the owner’s ignorance of the industry is to blame, which leads to unnecessary expense: "[the crew] all know that administrative managers are not law and indeed generally not needed … the poor owner who incidentally pays for absolutely all of us, is not aware of the difference."
 
Many of those interviewed called for new guidelines for yacht management companies, arguing they “are in desperate need of a minimum form of independent regulation,” while another accused managers of ‘twisting regulations in their favour”. One captain, who has spoken out in the past, lamented the backlash against this topic, “I cannot put my head above the parapet because the industry is now ruled by managers, [while] we are regulated at every turn, who regulates the managers?”
 
Further frustration at the lack of knowledge amongst yacht owners was also revealed by a captain, suggesting owners and their representatives are “not quite grasping what it takes to own and operate a large yacht” and must put more faith in their captains and crew. One captain’s shrewd observation revealed a double standard, suggesting owners “should trust [the crew] to run their multimillion dollar business as they do with their CEOs on shore, and give them the same respect and leeway to do the job they were hired for.”
 
Finally, one captain voiced the opinion felt by many female yacht employees, “yachting should be more human, why can’t stews have babies and keep their job? We train stews and chief stews for five to 10 years…they are excellent at their work then disappear.” Another captain also touched on the issue of longevity, arguing crew jumping between jobs causes more-knowledgeable staff to be pushed out, “due to others negotiating out of market prices.”
 
These topics, and many others, will be focused on at this year’s Global Superyacht Forum. Superyacht Events would like to thank the captains for their participation and candid responses.

These topics, and many others, will be focused on at this year’s Global Superyacht Forum. Superyacht Events would like to thank the captains for their participation and candid responses. To register for this event, visit www.globalsuperyachtgroup or contact Suzie Hine suzie@thesuperyachtgroup.com