With a predicted 14,000 crewmembers needed in the next five years, there is the possibility that the industry will be short of crew, so what should we do? Five captains voice their opinions on how the industry should cope with the forecasted crew shortage.

Captain Paul Kelly, S/Y Borkumriff IV

I think ‘crew shortage’ needs to be defined a bit more. There will never be a shortage of young, eager, willing crew – you only have to walk around the docks and bars of Antibes to see this. What we will have, however, is a shortage of skilled, experienced and qualified crew.

Captain Charlie Rentoul, M/Y Amaryllis

I’ll add ‘qualified’ and ‘experienced’ to the question which has been asked for quite some time now. You only have to do a quick Google search to see it being asked back in 2008. Maybe I have been fortunate, but since 2008 I have seen very few problems with recruiting the ‘right man/woman for the right job’. Admittedly, if time isn’t on your side then recruiting good candidates usually poses a problem.

If the shortage was predicted seven years ago – and I haven’t seen any sign of it – then regrettably I can’t really answer the question. Or maybe I can: the prediction in 2008 was inaccurate! So who’s to say this latest crew shortage prediction will come to fruition?

The prediction in 2008 was inaccurate! So who’s to say this latest crew shortage prediction will come to fruition?

Captain Graeme Riddle, M/Y Princess Too

In my current position, I do not see the shortage of crew the industry is experiencing as I receive 20 or more CVs a day from young, enthusiastic people, especially during the first few months of each season. Additionally, the dockwalking and distribution of CVs is seemingly becoming less seasonal and a more constant activity among the unemployed looking for that first step aboard. I do, however, see people unwilling to fill the vacancies on offer. Among my circle of colleagues and friends in yachting, I regularly see and hear of people being offered jobs but holding out for their dream job, or simply refusing to do the job, once it is offered and explained, due to the candidate’s misperception of the role generally.

Captain Fernando Vallmitjana, M/Y Tales

I think that we are seeing crew shortage already. It is hard to find a stewardess or a deckhand, and once we find who we believe is the right person for the job, they want to know the yacht’s itinerary, nationality of the crew, get a photo of the yacht and, of course, a big salary with benefits. In cases where the position requires advanced skills, this gets even more difficult.

In my view, there is a shortage of qualified people. This makes the industry less safe and causes many frustrations for the owners, allowing the crewmembers to set the rules of the game. Adaptation from owners, managers and captains will be necessary again. Many years ago, people used to work on yachts for little money, suffering all kinds of abuse for the privilege of being on board.

Find the full article in the Monaco Yacht Show issue of The Crew Report (Issue 75), out mid-September, and available at The Superyacht Owner stand, QE9, at the Monaco Yacht Show.

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