I entered the world of yachting three years ago as an engineer. I came straight from the Royal Navy after almost 10 years’ service, with a view to making a career out of yachting in order to provide for myself and my children, and also for a better our quality of life that a UK-based job could not offer. I also, foolishly, entered the industry with a misguided sense of loyalty, trust and respect.
My first yacht, I can honestly say, despite the dramas unfurled by egotistical, megalomaniacal and narcissistic chief engineers and stewards alike, was a good boat and a happy boat, with a good crew among whom I have gained some truly wonderful and genuine friends. The owner, too, was a great guy who treated his crew very well. I’m sure there are owners out there who are even better, but as far as my first shot in yachting went, I was impressed.
However, I got my first glimpse of what I call the ‘disposability of crew’. Perhaps it was my yachting naivety, but to witness firsthand, and after only a few weeks on board, the culling and swift removal of crew deemed simply to not fit in (deemed so by who? The people with whom they worked and got on well; their only problem being that perhaps they were prettier than the chief whoever or that they didn’t clique in the correct clique) was unnerving to say the least. “Is this normal?” I would find myself asking. “Am I next? Am I doing a good job? Which clique should I join?”
In no shoreside contract will there be a clause that states the owner reserves the right to basically sack you at no moment’s notice.
I know there are many readers, crew and captains and owners alike who will be saying, “But that’s normal; it’s part of yachting and, it’s how we have always done it”. In the real world, outside of this surreal billionaire-funded industry, it is not. In no shoreside contract will there be a clause that states the owner reserves the right to basically sack you at no moment’s notice for any reason he/she feels, and only has to pay you two weeks’ wages without appeal, disciplinary procedure, or warning system.
Find the full article in issue 72 of The Crew Report – download now.