At the first boat show I went to I remember a deckhand of a 37m motoryacht telling me he was sick of the reputation that was surrounding him as a junior crewmember. Too many crewmembers who are brand new to the industry are stepping into this world of yachting without the first idea of the job involved, he told me, and as a junior crewmember himself, he too was being tarnished with the same brush.

There needs to be a public acknowledgement of the work involved in being a superyacht crewmember, and this is something that existing crewmembers in the industry are pushing for. In The Crew Report’s recruitment survey (sponsored by Nautic Crew) a number of crewmembers shared this view.

“It’s not the glamorous lifestyle some people make it out to be. Yes, we have a good time, but we work damn hard too. If you think that you will drink five o’clock cocktails and go ashore everywhere then wake up and smell the coffee. It’s 5 o’clock washdown,” said one superyacht chef. The first mate of a sailing yacht advised new crew to, “get your attitude right from the start. Know what it is you’re about to undertake and be prepared to work harder and longer than you ever,” while another crewmember cut straight to the point, advising: “Roll your sleeves up, get stuck in and shut up.”

But can today’s training courses do more to prepare green superyacht crew for the job ahead? According to chief stewardess Katy Davies of Feadship’s Go, “We need to talk more”.

“There are so many junior crew coming in with a five-day superyacht course, but what is a five-day superyacht course?” Chief Stewardess Katy Davies

“There are so many junior crew coming in with a five-day superyacht course, but what is a five-day superyacht course?” she said. “There needs to be more. And especially for us, when we take a third stew who’s often a junior stew, and when we get someone with all this experience, it doesn’t always mean they have any idea what the industry is about. I think it would be good to have some kind of thing that informs – especially stewardesses – that you are going to be working twenty hours sometimes, you are going to be tired, you are going to be cleaning toilets sometimes. We have some junior crew who tell us, ‘I’m great at service,’ but we need that realisation for the girls that it’s not glamour all the time. We have great opportunities we’re in beautiful places, but we need people who are going to know that to be realistic.”

So when it comes to today’s experienced crew giving advice to those stepping aboard fresh off the dock, it’s all about honesty. Honesty about the hard graft that comes with being a crewmember on a superyacht.

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