In May 2014, crew recruitment agency Nautic Crew International was purchased by Paul Heymann. As the new face of one of the companies in the people-focused sector of crew recruitment, Paul Heymann speaks to The Crew Report about what’s next for the company and the level of professionalism his business background hopes to bring.

“I grew up in South Africa and I was in the South African Navy, but I’ve been boating and fishing ever since I could walk,” Heymann tells The Crew Report. Heymann’s background lies in the realm of financial operations and the purchase came about via becoming aware of the recruitment agency through his business broker. Yachting has always been his passion. “I’ve always just loved anything to do with water, I mean I am so enthralled with anything that floats I even turn my head and look at a kayak when it goes by. To me I look at a superyacht like a work of art. Everything about it; the lines, the shine, the furniture, the engineering. I just love every part of it and I’m really fascinated with them.”

"It seems like a lot of the recruiters [in yachting] are sometimes at the mercy of the crew, who it seems have more opportunity to pick and choose where they want to go."

The niche nature of the superyacht industry means that its recruitment sector works differently to that on land, and this is an area where Heymann hopes to improve with the use of his business background. “In my dealings with recruiters in my past professional experience and in executive recruiting in the financial sector, it seemed like it was a lot more formal and a lot more rigid than what I’ve experienced in yachting. It seems like a lot of the recruiters [in yachting] are sometimes at the mercy of the crew, who it seems have more opportunity to pick and choose where they want to go,” he explains. “I don’t want to sound negative, but the level of professionalism doesn’t always seem as high as it does in other business sectors. I want to provide professional services so that my company gets a reputation of representing its clients and its crew in a very professional and customer service-oriented manner.”

The close-knit nature of this industry, however, where new presidents have often been the result of sideways steps from tangent companies, has been interesting to step into for Heymann. “I feel that there’s a little bit of skepticism towards me because I’m new to the industry and I don’t have an extensive of yachting background, so I think people approach me with a different view than they would somebody who’s been in yachting for many years but this will change in time as people get to know me and see how passionate I am about the industry.”

With this in mind, I ask Heymann what his goal is for the future and for the crew industry. “My goal is to be customer-service oriented and to embrace all crewmembers. For example, new crewmembers, two or three years down the road will be captains and chief stewardesses and chief engineers [with hiring responsibilities]. I think that if you treat them well when they’re trying to break into the industry and help them and coach them, down the road it will serve your business well.”

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