Following a column on TheCrewReport.com written by Captain Guy Booth, one engineer contacted us with his answer to Captain Booth’s question: where are all the quality crew? In issue 77, this same engineer elaborates and asks whether the superyacht industry’s employers are justified in bemoaning this so-called lack of quality crew. Here, we bring you a preview.
The following paragraphs aren’t aimed at Guy Booth, the author of the article I'm referring to (he genuinely seems like the type of person most crew would like to work for). But the answer to the question, ‘Where are all the quality crew?’ I think is unfortunately another question: ‘Where are all the quality employers?’.
It used to be the case that yachting paid fantastic salaries compared to shore-based industries. I left a career as a professional engineer in the oil and gas industry because the salaries in yachting were amazing and the career looked far more exciting. However, due to the regulations mentioned by Captain Booth in his article, it now takes quite a lot of investment on our part to become qualified enough to progress in the industry. In a lot of cases, this is at our own expense. I had a degree in marine engineering when I joined the superyacht industry and now have a second engineer’s Commercial Unlimited CoC, yet my salary hasn’t changed in five years, despite this substantial investment.
Once your honeymoon period in yachting is over, the allure of yachting isn’t what it used to be.
These past five years, if spent in my old position, would have yielded far greater results with a far smaller investment on my part. The incentive for quality people who used to be willing to take the leap into yachting and leave their life behind is now considerably less than it was. The incentive for quality people who are already in the industry to stay and develop their skills is equally affected.
Yachting salaries have stagnated somewhat in the past five years and really haven’t been in line with inflation since 2010. I’m not going to make the case that the salaries are ridiculously low, but in terms of incentives I’d probably have chosen to stay in my old job based on the terms I’d be offered today compared to back then. All things considered, I’m not better off now financially and see my friends and family far less than if I had stayed put. I’m not trying to imply I’m some sort of victim; I’m making the case that once your honeymoon period in yachting is over, the allure of yachting isn’t what it used to be.
Find the full article in issue 77 of The Crew Report, out now - download here.