Editor Lulu Trask looks at the divide between the superyacht industry and its crew, and suggests how we can bridge the gap between crew and the rest of the industry.

All too often we talk about “the crew industry”. It’s time to stop.

The gulf between crew and the rest of the industry has always been wide – and we’ve all contributed to it. Even The Crew Report. Remember when The Crew Report was that small, brightly coloured magazine, so different to our other publications? Not only were we contributing to this cleft, but in doing we were damaging to the integral role crew play in this industry. And that’s one of the reasons we changed the format of The Crew Report to the magazine you see today – a magazine that now has its place firmly within the rest of our portfolio, just like crew should have their place firmly within this industry. 

There will always be different sectors of this industry, but by making the crew sector so far removed, to the point where we talk of it as a whole other industry altogether, is dividing and, quite frankly, damaging.

If crew are part of every sector of this industry, why are we putting them in a separate box? Or, rather, who is putting them in a separate box?

Crew have a role to play in every sector of this industry. When it’s time for the yacht to be refit, who influences which yard to go to and what needs to be done? When an owner’s working on a new build, who sees the construction through? When a yacht is for sale, who’s there at the shows, giving tours of the boats? When a yacht’s for charter, who’s taking part in table setting and chef competitions to promote the boat? When a yacht’s being designed, who’s there (or perhaps in this case, it’s more a question of: who should be there?) to ensure that service pathways and intelligent storage solutions are taken into consideration? The answer is the same for each one of these questions. So if crew are part of every sector of this industry, why are we putting them in a separate box? Or, rather, who is putting them in a separate box?

Here at The Superyacht Group we’re doing what we can to pave the way for improved integration of crew. In each magazine we’re including crew-focused articles that remain relevant to their respective target audiences. At our Global Superyacht Forum we are seeing an increasing number of captains in attendance and we hold crew-focused workshops, where both crew and members from other sectors of this industry are encouraged to attend. And at our upcoming SuperyachtDESIGN Week we have a ‘Crew Focus on Design’ workshop, where crew are invited to share the issues they experience with the design process.

But I think more can be done, and all it takes is a little bit of understanding of how crew fit into these various industry sectors. And the more we understand crew, the closer we get to achieving this.

Every Friday afternoon, with 30 minutes left of the working week, all our journalists pick up a copy of the magazine we work on least and spend those valuable 30 minutes reading and learning about an area of the industry with which we may not be as familiar. I challenge you to do the same. Whether it’s 30 minutes, an hour or five minutes, and whether it’s via a magazine, online or picking up the phone to a crewmember, learn a little bit more about the role of crew.

There is no condescension intended here. I have no doubt whatsoever that every professional in this industry is aware of the role of crew in relation to their business, but what about in relation to other businesses? What about in relation to the industry as a whole?

With the industry expanding at its current rate we will need another 14,000 crewmembers in the next four years. And I wonder, does the industry know enough about crew to manage this intake? The more we know and learn about crew, the more we know and learn about our industry.

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