With the festive season upon us, TheCrewReport.com approached the industry to find out just what crew want for Christmas and for an improved 2014. So, here's what we're hoping to find under the tree...

Captain Richard McGregor
I would like to see a more dedicated and conscientious attitude in the workplace that focuses on the good of the vessel and program as opposed to just personal gain. I think that these days there is too much “What can I get?” instead of “What can I give - to earn what I want?” Crew are starting to expect too much and think it’s a right to have certain things where it’s actually a privilege. Crew now, once they hear their boat is going to sit in a yard for a season or go somewhere they don't want to go, think nothing of throwing in the towel and going off looking for something more exciting. Fair enough to a certain extent – sometimes you have to look after number one – but at the end of the day that's yachting, that's what we have to put up with, or should anyway. Crew should spare a thought for longevity and loyalty where it’s warranted. Put in the hard yards, show some dedication and loyalty, put up with the not-so-desirable situations and eventually that positive attitude and conscientiousness will prevail.

Superyacht chef, 60m motoryacht
I suppose one thing that would make my life easier in the industry is better trained or basicly-trained junior stewardesses. Another answer could be better freight charges by the airlines for provisions in the Caribbean and other areas of the world, although they are now starting to slowly decrease!

Bryony McCabe, assistant editor, The Crew Report
Spending time at boat shows and talking to captains this year, a common problem emerged that there were not enough suitable crew to fill the positions on board. The demand for professional crew is there but perhaps what is lacking is the candidates to meet it. The industry is full of green crew wanting to get in so why aren’t the positions being filled? Perhaps the problem is that employers feel there is a gap between crew coming out of training school and having the necessary knowledge and experience to go and work on a yacht. One captain even told me that he was conducting his own search in New Zealand fisheries in order to scout crew that have sufficient experience. With so many potential crew coming into the industry keen and ready to work, and that have invested time and money in training to do so, it seems nonsensical that captains are having to resort to such measures in order to find crew.

Are captains not putting enough faith into the institutions that train their future crew? More likely, I suggest, is that the entering crew have a different attitude to what the captains prefer. Our industry has gained a huge amount of exposure and profile in recent years and perhaps, with that, many are getting the wrong impression. One captain told me the first thing the typical crewmember asks about in a job interview is salary and the second time off, and the third is how many times the owner comes on board. So what would I like to see in 2014? Crew focusing less on the high salaries and extended time off and making knowledge and experience the main priority. With captains at the forefront of instilling this attitude, the industry will hopefully increase its professional reputation and attract crew that are going to grow our industry in the future.

"So what would I like to see in 2014? Crew focusing less on the high salaries and extended time off and making knowledge and experience the main priority."

Captain Todd Rapley
Modernise the industry from implementing crowd surveying to updated charts and navigation information to updating and replacing ineffective and outdated training courses instead of continuing to add new ones as a reactive response.

Captain David Slee, Seaflower
I’d like to see rotation (of some description) for every senior crewmember become an acceptable norm. This industry looses too many good men and women because they are forced to choose between a family and a career. Why are so many owners disappointed with the way their yachts are operated and why do so many junior crew complain about bad captains? Perhaps because so many good captains have left yachting? Same goes for chefs, chief stews, deck officers and engineers.

Lulu Trask, managing editor, The Crew Report
2013 has seen the industry take responsibility for itself, with regulations overload under the much-discussed Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. Senior crew can learn from the industry’s proactivity, and in 2014 I think it’s time we saw captains and senior officers lead the way in improved on-board mentoring.

With high levels of crew turnover, a great many captains are resisting investment in their crew, for fear that within a month that crewmember will be on the yacht next door, with one superyacht captain this year telling me he limited on-board training due to problems with its continuity as a result of turnover. But if captains just shift their focus slightly, and pragmatically put into their crew what they want to get out (time and hard work), rather than passively putting in what they merely expect to get out (mediocre effort and a short-lived time on board), then the face of the crew industry could look very different in 2014.

Not only will crewmembers always remember that captain who put in that extra effort and went that extra mile, but that crewmember will stay with that captain for as long as possible, establishing a cohesive, harmonious and mutually beneficial on-board environment. Let’s hope we see many more of these in 2014.

Tell us what you want the superyacht industry to find under the tree in our comments section below. And... Merry Christmas!

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