Some might say the superyacht industry has done itself a disservice with its constant cry for its crew to be career-minded individuals here for the long term. While, like in any company or business, having those who have a career goal within the industry will always be of benefit, there is in most cases space for someone to join a company for six months or a year, to work on a particular project or support a particular team. So why is this so frowned upon in the superyacht industry?
So often a yacht will need a stew for just one charter, perhaps because the captain knows these regular charter clients are particularly demanding, or maybe two additional stews are needed for an all-out party the owner is hosting on board. The transient nature of yachting necessitates flexibility, and as an industry we should be offering opportunities to fulfil this requirement, rather than immediately dismissing any person who doesn’t exclaim at first meeting that they want to be in this industry until they’re 65 years old.
The crew sector has been so desperate to recruit career-minded individuals that it's forgotten the enormous opportunities surrounding the promotion of more short-term prospects.
The crew sector has been so desperate to recruit career-minded individuals that it's forgotten the enormous opportunities surrounding the promotion of more short-term prospects. In part, I think, because short-term jobs are so often associated with a poor work ethic, which is not the case. Who’s to say that hiring a bosun who openly admits that he or she would like to spend two years maximum in yachting, to make and save a bit of money and travel the world, before moving on land to settle down, would be any worse at the job than someone who has decided they want to be in yachting for the rest of their life?
The industry is already facing an oversupply of captains. Just imagine if our pressure on the necessity of career-minded crew meant every single deckhand who entered the industry in 2017, entered for the long term and within 10 years every single one of them became a captain. The current supply and demand issue would reach a whole new level.
A shift in attitude is needed. Yes, we still want career-minded people stepping into this industry, because those are the ones who are likely to offer longevity on board and step up the ladder, bringing their experience with them. But we need to be more welcoming of crew who, quite openly, aren’t here for the long term, because who’s to say they’re going to bring less to the table?