When businesswoman Margaret Banks caught a glimpse of life as a stewardess on Below Deck, she decided it might be time for a career change. So two years ago, when she joined the industry aged 51, she was in quite a minority.
“I’d seen the first season of Below Deck and I saw Adrienne Gang, and I thought, ‘I like her, I want to do what she’s doing’. So I started researching. I read Julie Perry’s book [The Insiders’ Guide To Becoming A Yacht Stewardess] and I contacted Alene Keenan at Yacht Stew Solutions, and a year later I was in Fort Lauderdale and that was it.”
In an industry so openly superficial when it comes to its on-board employees, many might approach their first steps with a sense of trepidation, perhaps with a sense of entitlement or even resentment (after all, just three per cent of junior crew are aged 50 and above), but Banks did the opposite. Determination paid off and she got herself a job.
If Banks’s first yachting steps weren’t different enough, one of her first jobs on board adds a whole new chapter to her story – on board 44.5m motoryacht Sorcha she was the youngest of the interior team. The maturity of the crew was something that affected the quality and tone of the working environment.
"For people coming into the industry at my age, they will have researched it fully and come in with expectations that are more in line than with those of many others."
“Things were much easier because there were no egos,” Banks admits. “Nobody was there because they wanted to travel or had these glamorous dreams. We knew the job, we all enjoyed the job and enjoyed providing a great service to the family. You reach a point in life where that becomes very important, especially if you’ve already been successful and achieved your goals. You calm down a bit and you really want to take care of people. It’s not all about you anymore. It’s a different phase in life. You know it’s going to be hard work, you know it’s not going to be all fun and laughs and you know you’re going to see places out of the porthole. For people coming into the industry at my age, they will have researched it fully and come in with expectations that are more in line than with those of many others.”
Read the full interview with Margaret Banks in issue 77 of The Crew Report, out now - download here.