One influencing factor of encouraging potential crew to join the industry is the image of yachting that is increasingly finding itself in the public eye. However Boyd is fast to remind us all that new crew can’t take the blame for the appearance of the existing industry. “The images of the industry are out there to be swallowed up by all young, excitable new crew. Continued epic good times is pushed as the norm; Facebook and all the banter in the bars suggests this too. So new crew have no choice but to hear about the money to be made in yachting, the huge tips and the fantasy lifestyle everyone lives, so it does all sound really glamorous,” Boyd explains.
“The people who care about the superyacht industry as a whole are passionate about protecting its integrity from the perception that it is just one big party. Quite rightly so, but the reality is that sometimes it is just one big party,” says Boyd. “Take the Fort Lauderdale boat show for example. We all love a show and it’s a great place to start looking for work. So if you were new crew starting out, what do you see? Free party after free party, night after night – ‘appreciate parties’ we call them. So how can new crew not get the impression that the industry is just one big party? It’s a bit of a conundrum and we can’t control everyone’s expectations, real or unreal, but we sometimes have to look and see how they get those expectations, and realistically it comes directly from the way we present it to them. It’s not their fault things are clouded.”
For Boyd, it comes down to us – those already in the industry – to provide an accurate depiction of life as a crewmember. “What we can do is better prepare them with the correct information and help manage their expectations so that they can make better informed decisions. If we can help crew see past the parties to the fact that if you’re motivated and want to make a career in yachting, the opportunities are endless.”
The source of the information provided to new crew is also crucial, and this is where Boyd believes HowToGetIntoYachting.com is a success. “There is a lot of good information on yachting out there, however HowToGetIntoYachting.com is coming from a non biased, current crew perspective. Because of this, we don’t have to be 100 per cent politically correct all the time, which helps us relate to new crew and makes us more natural. Sometimes you just can’t avoid telling it how it is and not beat around the bush.”
"Crew could actually save hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars before they start out."
One mistake Boyd is sure to warn new crew about is their social media presence – a number of crew still leave their Facebook profiles open to the world. Another is advising crew about the costs they need to bear, and those they don’t. “Ten years ago I landed in Fort Lauderdale with no idea about how to get a job and I spent loads of money along the way before I got employed. Crew could actually save hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars before they start out. Therefore the money they can save by following the steps during the period of starting out – and it is expensive – could then be reinvested into themselves for more training, creating a better experience which helps to create better opportunities.”
With more crew joining the industry than ever before, both the messages and information we as an industry put out to them is very important. A bit more effort into an accurate representation of what the industry is about will offer the industry the opportunity of ensuring the next generation of crew are exactly what the industry really needs.