Following the editor's column on bad practices in the superyacht industry, we received the below response from a stewardess in a confidential email - not intended for publication. After an ongoing dialogue with the stewardess, we have been given permission to publish her initial email. Our view in publishing the below is not to place blame or the guessing game of who's who, but to highlight that bad practices are continuing to happen across the board. Any advice for this stewardess is welcome, and we ask you to share it in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Dear Lulu,

I recently resigned from a year-long position. I left the yacht of my own free will and I had no bad feelings involving, or from, the crew on board. After resigning and sorting things out back home, I started looking for new jobs and had contacted the boat asking for my written reference, which the chief stew had promised me. I never received this reference and so after not hearing back from the vessel in regards to this, and being constantly asked for this written reference by every crew agent, I drafted my own reference. I admit, it wasn't the best thing I could have done in this situation, but after being promised one in the first place and having so many agents telling me that without this one reference I could not be put forward for jobs, I was stuck in a situation that I didn't know how to resolve.

I think you may be aware of this situation due to the 'Faking it' article. I know that the vessel is aware of my 'fake reference' and they have supposedly informed all agencies that it is fake and not to put me forward for jobs. They even told the management company of a different yacht that I was temporarily working on that I did not work on board the yacht, as if I were non existent.

This is completely jeopardising my career – one that I know I am successful in. I have no idea what I did so wrong to never receive my reference, as it's not as if I was fired from my position. The only thing I can think of is that the chief stew refused to give me a reference due to her personal opinions of me. She didn't seem to like any of the stewardesses on board, and often treated us like dirt, a lot like the rest of the people of higher positions.

I had my job held open for me to return to and was promised a written reference, but now I'm having my whole career ruined just because I took matters into my own hands and did what they were too busy to do for me.

The vessel is very split up in regards to hierarchy. The people of the highest rank stick together and seem to want to ruin the lives of those beneath them. They don't care about what happens to anybody that is of the lowest rank, especially after they leave the vessel. People I am still friends with who also worked on board this boat have not received references either, and it shocks me considering we are all in this industry and we all know how important written references are in order to progress and move on.

Also, there are many bad things happening on this vessel. The lead stew abused her position and was caught stealing the owner’s alcohol and cigarettes from our bond store, which she was selling off to contractors that we had on the boat while in the shipyard, not to mention she was often drunk while guests were on board, which was also against the rules. I don't understand why something that is such a breach of rules can go unpunished but they will treat somebody who did nothing wrong on board so badly once they have left the vessel (even though I admit faking my reference was the wrong thing to do).

I had my job held open for me to return to and was promised a written reference, but now I'm having my whole career ruined just because I took matters into my own hands and did what they were too busy to do for me. I know that what I have done is not innocent or a good thing to do, and I have apologised to the captain of this vessel and, again, been completely ignored. I just don't know how to get my career back on track and clear my name in order to continue a career that I am good at and want to progress in.

If you have any advice at all or know what I should do regarding this, I would really appreciate your guidance.

Thank you for your time.

Kindest regards,

A concerned stewardess

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