Crew are the backbone of the superyacht industry. I’ve said this a number of times, because I really do believe this statement is true of our niche industry. Without crew, owners’ yachts would be defunct. But perhaps the crew sector has made a bit too much fuss of this fact, and hasn’t added the all-important caveat. That is, without crew, we have no yachts, but without owners, we have no crew. And I think some crew – and enough to cause a bit of a strain on the industry – are forgetting exactly who the owner is.

A captain recently phoned me up, simply to discuss his frustrations with crewmembers’ ingratitude towards their owners. While he raved about his crew, this captain had come across a number of crewmembers who, he felt, were asking far too much of their owners. When this is coupled with the fact that the biggest owner headache is so often crew, this becomes concerning. Owners are frustrated with their crew, yet their crew continue to ask for higher salaries. There’s something not right with this picture.

This captain told me he believed crew were too expectant of owners – to the detriment of both the owner and their own job security on board. “There is a tendency with crew always wanting more from owners,” he tells me. “Well, what are these people giving owners? How can you expect an owner to show loyalty and care for you if all you ever do is ask for more, more, more?”

Without crew, we have no yachts, but without owners, we have no crew.

This could be down to the fact that, based on my conversations with captains, a fair number of crew are accepting jobs without considering whether it is the right job for them. As a result, they find themselves dissatisfied with their role and ask for more money as a quick-fix solution. Either way, the owner loses money; if the crewmember doesn’t get the requested raise, they’re likely to leave the yacht and the owner and captain will be faced with the next set of recruitment fees, and if the crewmember does get the requested raise, the owner is out of pocket simply due to crew payroll.

“You can’t stand here banging the drum of, ‘I want, I want, I want’”, this captain tells me. “Because the owner will go, ‘Hang on a second. I don’t know you. What have you done for me? Why do I need to keep you? Show me you care, look after me and I’ll look after you’.”

It’s important that crew remember exactly who their owner is. The owner is the crewmember’s employer. “On this boat I remember one thing,” this captain concludes. “The boss pays my mortgage and no one else. My loyalty is to the owner and that’s it. As long as my mortgage is paid at the end of the month, I’m in the right job.”

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