As yachts get bigger, so do the budgets, not to mention the number of crew. Managing a yacht is becoming more akin to managing a medium-sized business, with budgets running to tens of millions per annum, so the need for senior crew to have appropriate experience and training in order to manage this effectively is hugely important. Budgeting, accounting and payroll are all critical skills for those working at the highest levels on a yacht.
However, the one area we believe that training would make the most significant impact across the industry would be one that imparted the skills of management, communications and conflict resolution for senior crewmembers within both the deck and interior departments.
‘Soft skills’ training is often overlooked, or blatantly ignored, within the career development plans of many yacht crew.
‘Soft skills’ training is often overlooked, or blatantly ignored, within the career development plans of many yacht crew; however, living and working in a restricted, high-pressure environment puts a strain on every relationship. Whether it’s a 28m or a yacht over 80m, many of the same pressures apply. I put this issue to Milica Seguela, senior head hunter for The Crew Hunter, who responded: “Too often we see yachts continually replacing members of their team because there is one individual on board acting as a catalyst to conflict or because the senior team is not skilled in conflict resolution and lack the awareness and training to manage the team it is responsible for on board,Senior crew need to be able to operate in pressurised situations, without passing this directly onto members of their team; they need to be the buffer, to enable their teams to continue with their work unimpeded. For example, we recently met a fantastically skilled candidate for a chief stew position, but all of her references suggested that she was not able to manage the stresses of working on board and was unable to retain her interior team as a result.” Management training may have been the missing link in this situation and it is all too easy for the yacht to replace the individual, rather than to work with them to improve their working relationships and management skills.
The introduction of HELM (Human Element, Leadership and Management) by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in 2013 sought to provide students with awareness and understanding of the factors influencing effective resource management. However, these types of skills are needed not just within the senior deck crew, but within the interior teams as well. They may not always reinforce safety on board, but they would impact significantly upon the professionalism in the industry and aid career development for all involved, which could only be a positive development.
Find the article on what can be added or amended in the crew curriculum in issue 70 of The Crew Report - click here to download.