I’m lucky with the crew on my boat, but there is a tendency for some crew to always want more from owners. But we need to ask, ‘What are crew giving owners?’. How can you expect an owner to show loyalty and care for you if all you ever do is ask for more? There are a plenty of owners, and I’m certainly aware of it with my owner, who you can only push so far before they start pushing back.
It seems to be a common trend in some positions to want and expect more and to think that getting more from owners is the solution to a crew shortage. I raised this recently with a bunch of friends – we don’t necessarily believe there’s a crew shortage, but we believe there’s a shortage of good crew. There are a lot of engineers out there, but there are also a lot of not very good engineers; all those not very good engineers think they’re great engineers and should be getting a pay cheque, but in reality that’s not the case. It’s a difficult one because how do you tell somebody that? And who can be the judge of it?
With our crew on this boat we are trying to work on some form of reward, so if you stick around and look after the boat and the owner, then it will be reflected in how you’re looked after. But you can’t stand there banging the drum of ‘I want, I want’ because the owner will simply go, “Hang on a second. I don’t know you. What have you done for me? And why do I need to keep you? Show me an amazing time, show me you care and look after me, and I’ll look after you in return.”
There are a many shortsighted crew out there who think the grass is always greener and too many crew can be greedy in that respect. On this boat we pay an industry average salary, but in the interview process it’s about understanding what the crew want from the boat and from the other crew. So if the first officer I’m interviewing says he wants to drive the boat, the question is ‘Can I let him drive it or can’t I?’. If the answer is no, I would be duty-bound to be honest and say, “I can’t let you do the following things you want, so maybe this job isn’t for you,” rather than me hiring them anyway, not letting them drive the boat and then having them asking for more. Many of these expectations can be dealt with at an earlier stage. How many people have got a job because of a false promise?
Find the full article in issue 76 of The Crew Report, out mid October and available at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and Global Superyacht Forum.