US crewmembers are subject to some problematic stereotypes, as Mike French investigated in issue 62 of The Crew Report in ‘Stars and stripes’. And this year’s American Superyacht Forum confirmed French’s statement that US crewmembers were the subject of unjust criticism, and potentially discrimination, in the superyacht industry. And, in the words of Martin H. Redmayne, “The rumour mill is becoming out of control”.

During the Las Vegas event a number of superyacht captains voiced experiences of limits being placed by the insurance companies on the number of American crewmembers the captains were allowed to hire.

“Our insurance company told us we can’t employ Americans on board,” said Captain David Clarke of motoryacht Laurel. The reason being, he continued, was the payment of a higher policy to insurers when employing American crew on board.

The captain of motoryacht Harle, Captain Glen Allen, declared that on a previous boat, “I had twenty-two crew and I was allowed to have three Americans.” But for Captain Allen, “[the US crew] didn’t cost me any more to hire.”

Captain Teddy Garsva of motoryacht Freddy shed some light on the situation, acknowledging: “An American will always ask you for more money because he has to declare IRS [Internal Revenue Service].”

To this, Captain Mike Hein of motoryacht Mea Culpa added: “If you go to MYBA you’ll find US crew and you’ll find them for an increased price.”

The Crew Report put this to the insurance market, and the words of these captains were unfortunately confirmed. “There is absolute truth in that, depending on the type of insurance you have,” explained Mark Bononi, director of MHG Insurance Brokers. “There are carriers who do charge more for Americans straight up. This especially impacts the vessels that don’t travel to the US because you can get a policy that excludes cover in the US, but if you hire an American you’ve got a whole new ball game, because typically you’re going to have to offer coverage to him in his home country, so that’s when the price goes up.

"If you’ve got three Kiwis, three Australians, a South African and two Americans, the cost of the two Americans will probably be as much as four or five of the other crew.” - Mark Bononi

“It’s an unfortunate fact of life. If you’ve got three Kiwis, three Australians, a South African and two Americans, the cost of the two Americans will probably be as much as four or five of the other crew.”

Elaborating on the cause of these monetary differences, Bononi added: “This all started when several of the Lloyd’s syndicates decided they would pull out and not insure Americans on the health side. Because several plans are underwritten by the Lloyd’s syndicates they sent out an advisory stating as such, which caused a lot of owners and captains to go ask what this was all about. It was all based on ignorance and it was a knee-jerk reaction, but it’s just gone down from there.”

Transcripts from the American Superyacht Forum are available to download here.

Later this year Superyacht Events will be hosting its Superyacht Management Meeting: Insurance, which will see a day of candid discussion and debate in London. To reserve your place at the event please email Suzie at or call a member of the Events team on +44 (0)207 924 4004. Online registration for the event will open shortly.

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