In issue 83 of The Crew Report, out later this month, we explore an interesting concept: the idea of having two ‘sets’ of crew, a guest-facing service team and a smaller maintenance team. A huge problem within our industry is longevity of crew and there are many varied reasons for this, but a large number of ex-crew cite the work hard/play hard lifestyle as getting the better of them. Could this be the solution?

The concept is to have two crews, a ‘service crew’ that are guest-facing, much like a restaurant’s maître d', and a ‘maintenance crew’ who are in charge of the cleaning and operations of the vessels when guests are not on board. “The scheme is simple,” says Captain Dario Savino, M/Y Regina D’Italia, “If the management has at least three or four yachts, the managers can employ some key figures (such as a master, officers, chef, chief stew and a chief engineer) and have them to rotate on the different yachts, allowing a very busy yacht to perform at its best on a double charter season and giving the crew some quality time off.”

However, many crew featured in the article argue that this could lead to a lax attitude to accountability. As an ex-deckhand explained to me, “As deck crew, because we knew we had to maintain the deck if there was a chip or a scratch, you would have to take responsibility for it and fix it and it would all take a long time, but as a result, you would be more careful when you are carrying out the operations. Whereas if you have a deckie that knows they don’t have to deal with it and the other guys have to pick up the slack, they can do whatever they want and duck the responsibilities.” A chief stewardess echoed this sentiment, and also explained how the hand-over between the two different ‘teams’ would have to be extensive, in order to keep up the same high standards.

It is an accepted practice that crewmembers have dual, or multi, roles in their day to day life. This is a common part of crew life; a stewardess will be expected to offer a first class waitress service, but also work within the laundry room. This is part of the appeal for many crew, who enjoy the variety of roles. Further, what would the ‘service’ crew do when the boat is in ‘maintenance’ mode? Rotation  of certain roles on board is a fairly standard on superyachts, and this concept is an extension of this. In practice, however, it may not be adopted by yachts.

Read this, and more, in Issue 83 of The Crew Report - download here. Or, pick up a copy from The Superyacht Group's stand at FLIBS - Superyacht Pavilion 617.

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