- Operations - Crew training budgets below par

By Conor Feasey

Crew training budgets below par

Tim Clarke explains how recent survey results illustrate that yachts need to improve training options if they are going to retain quality crew…

Less than a third of superyachts have a structured training budget onboard, according to results from a Quay Crew survey. The crew recruitment agency’s Managing Director, Tim Clarke, tells SuperyachtNews that whilst this is contrary to what he has seen with his clients, it highlights the wider issues surrounding crew retention.

“The industry is lacking in candidates for the volume of great opportunities out there. And for good crew, who are generally career-minded, having training support and budget is an important thing to them,” says Clarke.

The results of the survey suggest that despite the industry's desperate need for quality crew, initiatives aimed at upskilling the current workforce fall short of the mark. 


For Clarke, a contractual training budget of €2,000 per crew member annually should be an industry standard. But it is not all about the cash. “If you have two months of leave a year and you have that training budget, but then have to use two of those eight weeks [of leave] doing training, that can be a bit of a blow to their time.” This is especially applicable to crew from Australia and New Zealand who spend extended time away from their families, he adds. 

Some yachts are missing out on opportune moments to train crew. “If you offer crew the opportunity to train on the yacht’s time, like when we are side to in Monaco or whilst it is in the yard for a few months, that’s a really appealing little tweak. And it doesn’t cost the yacht any more money,” says Clarke. There is a caveat for yachts that are flat out, but for a lot of yachts, this is completely feasible. 

Clarke notes that some yachts Quay Crew work with have unlimited training budgets. “This is a huge incentive for crew to stay on board these yachts,” he says. “It’s the nuclear arms race that is going on with the top yachts. They are competing over the top 10% to 20% of crew, who want rotation, good salaries, training budgets, good working environments and to be mentored and learn whilst on board.” 

Recently, Quay Crew recorded a junior crew recruitment survey (not yet in the public domain), and respondents rated ‘training and career development on board’ as five out of ten. “Obviously this is an average, but this is a pretty damning statistic. Essentially, there is a substantial amount of yacht’s out there where crew think ‘The training is awful. We are not being developed on board,’” says Clarke.

What would be incredibly beneficial and appealing for crew, is having structured training on board, adds Clarke. “The most import thing for crew is money and leave. But things below it like training factor into it too, especially for the more ambitious members,” he says. “Yachts now need to make themselves as appealing to crew as possible, or they are at risk of losing their quality crew, and falling well behind the competition.”

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