Following the case of Costa Concordia, where the management company cut ties with the captain after the accident, the subject of conducting better auditing and appraisals for superyacht crew has been raised. The Crew Report has heard from captains calling for more attention to this area, with one captain commenting: “I would like to see a lot more training, appraisals and auditing of bridge and engine-room teams.”

Credit: Justin Ratcliffe

Ongoing support and training from a management team is essential for both management and crew to their jobs properly and ensure that they are operating in the safest way possible. "Appraisals are a way of monitoring performance and keeping transparency front and centre." Simon Harvey at Neurons 2 people skills (N2) commented. "Not using some form of appraisal system within your management is like not checking your oil and hoping all will be well. If you wait for something to go wrong it’s too late.”

Furthermore, these methods of performance monitoring are of great benefit to crew. “Appraisals help hone skills and keep captain and crew engaged and growing,” Harvey adds. “If you are a loose cannon then appraisals should show this and create change, or at least create a paper trail back to an issue that was never dealt with.

The Crew Report
heard from Adrian McCourt, yacht manager at Watkins Superyachts, about his experience as a captain and the responsibility of the management company to implement and auditing process and his belief that is essential to showing that the support will be there if things do go wrong. “As a captain-in-command there was no one between me and God,” he explained, “But I was subject to annual appraisal, training and performance monitoring like anyone else.”

"None of us are infallible and a manager should be there for more than just squabbling with you over your costs and collecting a monthly fee." - Adrian McCourt

“If your manager does not carry out appraisals, monitor your performance and, if need be, challenge you,” continued McCourt, “Then what are your chances of having them stand next to you in the dock and advising a court that you had taken all reasonable steps to ensure you had the right training, resources and procedures to properly command your vessel? None of us are infallible and a manager should be there for more than just squabbling with you over your costs and collecting a monthly fee.”

In order to avoid similar fates to those left with no support from a dis-loyal management company, crewmembers must make sure that their management is taking a proactive approach in implementing performance monitoring. Instances such as the Costa Concordia are the worst case scenario but they exemplify the role that a management company can play in offering support, or lack-there-of, to their crew in incriminating situations. Management will play an influential role if things go wrong so it is important to know that they are with you from the start.