Tomorrow is Careers Day at the Southampton Boat Show, and I'll be speaking to school children about the opportunities available to them in the superyacht industry.
Just yesterday I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and an article from The Guardian popped up on 'what it's really like to work as superyacht crew' - another article highlighting the same stories that always make it into the press (the maid who got a shoe thrown at her, the fact that celebrities come on board who couldn't possibly be named but, they promise, are huge stars - and it goes on. Despite this article actually being one of the very slightly more realistic and honest ones amid the myriad horror stories and 'here's what really happens' type articles, it still paints working on board as wholly exclusive, and until we change that image, we won't have the best pick of the bunch when it comes to recruiting new crew for our industry.
By telling stories about celebrities on board with their names blanked out, and focusing only on those superyachts to whom the press gives so much attention - Abramovich's Eclipse, for example, we're creating a world that seems so unattainable for young people thinking about a career in this industry.
We need to focus on the realities. It's not just about working on a 100m-plus motoryacht that Beyoncé is seen jumping off all over The Daily Mail. Did you know you can work on a 30m yacht? Or a 50m yacht? And you can work on a sailing yacht, too. Did you also know that most of the yachts out there aren't chartered by celebrities every week? You will get some used by wonderful owners every few months, some by owners less wonderful, and you'll find others where you're really just cleaning it while it stays in a marina for most of the year. And did anyone ever tell you what a refit is? Because chances are, if you want a career in this industry, you'll be involved in a refit at some point.
We've found ourselves at a point where this industry is no longer so invisible that all press is good press; enough people know about superyachts, to the point where we should be giving honest information depicting the realities of working as a member of a superyacht's crew. And this isn't the responsibility of The Guardian or The Daily Mail (thank goodness); this is the responsibility of the superyacht industry media, and the schools and education facilities with whom they should be working to give the youths of today what they need to consider a career in yachting.
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