Take a moment to look at your team. When you built your strong crew team for this summer’s charter season, did you take on any green crew? If not, why didn’t you? Was it because you wanted to ensure that, for the upcoming season with charter guest who, quite rightly, expect the very best, you didn’t want to risk a lack of experience? We need to provide the best on-board experiences possible, so it’s understandable to be hesitant when it comes to hiring crew brand new to the industry, but when we need more crew to fill the yachts leaving the shipyards – approximately 15,000 new crewmembers will be needed by 2020 – where are we going to get these crew from?
"I’ve come across captains who like to catch their crew green and form them for that boat. They train them their way."
Fiona Maureso, president of MYBA and charter director at Northrop & Johnson, recalls a recent meeting with three green crewmembers during the Antibes Celebrates Yachting event. “There were three young, British guys, about 19 years old. They’d done their STCWs and tender driving courses and got their ENG1s. They were clean-cut and well presented. They had made a decision to come down to the South of France, rent an apartment and look for work on boats,” Maureso explains. “They’d already been there for a number of months in the winter season and hadn’t got anything – not even daywork. They were approaching summer season, when prices go through the roof, and they told me that if they didn’t get work they would have to go back to the UK and claim employment benefits.”
The crewmembers told Maureso the reason they couldn’t get a daywork, let alone a job, was simply because they didn’t have that first bit of experience, and were competing against other green crew who, even without experience on boats, had experience living by the water. “They said, ‘These other guys have grown up in places where they’re naturally surfers and they’ve got diving certificates. We come from the north of England, we don’t have anything like that’,” recounts Maureso.
Since meeting these crewmembers, Maureso has been speaking with a number of placement agents to see if there are any positions available, and reminds our readers that there is no bad thing about hiring green crew. “I’ve come across captains who like to catch their crew green and form them for that boat. They train them their way, which is great. And it means they don’t arrive at the boat with bad habits or anything like that.”
In my opinion, hiring green crew now will significantly ease the recruitment pressures that we can expect to see over the coming years. Next time you’re hiring a crewmember for a junior role, just bear this in mind. After all, everyone has to start somewhere.
Click here to download my introduction to issue 73 of The Crew Report, on the topic of hiring green crew.