- Operations - Habits for a successful superyacht career


Habits for a successful superyacht career

Tim Clarke, director of Quay Crew, outlines his tips for crew…

Tim Clarke, director of Quay Crew joined the superyacht industry in 2006. After working as a deckhand on M/Y Sai Ram and M/Y Leander, he formed Quay Crew in 2013.

Many crew are shooting themselves in the foot at the moment and getting sacked in their first few weeks on board. Crew take note, these are just some ideas and habits its worth forming at work that will make you stand out from the crowd. They cost nothing and are relatively easy to implement. It just takes a bit of discipline and effort.

Be punctual
If your working day starts at 8am, be in the crew mess at 7.45 and make yourself a coffee and be on deck, or in the interior ready to go at 7.55. Not making your coffee at 8.01 and rubbing the sleep out of your eyes.

Smarten up
I understand one of the pleasures of no guests or owners around is not shaving. However, you should still make sure you have a trimmed beard, your hair is done and you’ve showered. Daily, if not twice a day.

Clean and tidy
No one wants to tidy up after you. All communal areas should be free from your clutter and bits and pieces. Make an effort to keep your cabin clean – for multiple reasons – not least out of respect for your cabin mate.

Team player
Help others at all times! Just because you finished at 5pm on the dot, don’t finish for the day. Go and help your colleague finish their tasks, help tidy the work area and put things away back in various lockers. Share ideas and knowledge and make other people’s life’s easier. This also helps you build trust with one another.

Simple. Treat others with respect. Don’t mock, belittle or be sarcastic with your colleagues. If they are letting the side down with their performance, let a senior member of crew deal with it. Treat others as you want to be treated. And don’t forget, no one likes a bully…

"Treat others with respect. Don’t mock, belittle or be sarcastic with your colleagues. If they are letting the side down with their performance, let a senior member of crew deal with it."

Work ethic
Work hard. Very simple and obvious. Too many crew are last on deck, first into the crew mess at lunch and last back to their work station. Or constantly on their phones and nowhere to be seen when there is hard work to be done, or a horrible job to do. Don’t be that person. Put in a good shift and work to a good intensity, especially if you are working to a deadline.

Being a positive, happy-go-lucky presence in a department is an amazing quality to have. It will make you popular on board and valued by your superiors. Equally being that miserable or whining will get you sacked quickly. If you are about open your mouth to say something negative, just don’t.

Listen to your superiors. If they want something done a certain way, don’t question it, don’t ignore it and don’t do it another way. More often than not they have the bigger picture in mind and know things you don’t.

Help other departments
This is pretty obvious. If you have some down time and another department is struggling help them –whether it is putting out fenders or washing glasses – just do it. Be considerate of the other departments, for example, don’t hold onto all your laundry for days and then give it to the interior crew to deal with.

Take a deep breath
Sometimes someone will do something that annoys you, don’t instantly react or shout or scream. Take a moment, and act like a responsible adult. If you are having an issue with someone, have a discrete word with them away from other crew to try and sort it out. The key thing to remember here is to act like adults.

"Take a deep breath. Sometimes someone will do something that annoys you, don’t instantly react or shout or scream. Take a moment, and act like a responsible adult."

Don’t get involved
There will often be things going on that have nothing to do with you, be it in different departments or with other people in your department that probably don’t impact your life in the slightest. Don’t get involved, don’t offer up your unnecessary opinion on the subject in the crew mess, don’t stir the pot, don’t gossip.

Know what your job involves on the yacht and take ownership of what your responsibilities are. It’s not complicated, you just need to take personal pride in your work and your standards.

Take initiative
If the bins are full in the crew mess, empty them even if it isn’t your specific job. Do things that need to be done and don’t always wait for someone to tell you to do something.

Develop yourself
Always be looking to learn and develop new skills on board. Assist with something you’re not familiar with. Being coachable and developing yourself will also mean you are more likely to be promoted internally.

Work etiquette
Don’t spend too much time on personal calls, e-mails, Whatsapp or Facebook during the day. Your phone shouldn’t even be with you on deck, it should be in your cabin and checked on breaks. The majority of crew don’t need their phone on them constantly.

All of this sounds obvious, but crew, have a quick think and see if you ticked all these boxes today. If you are missing things out then print this off and put it up in your cabin. Reflect on this list a few times a week and modify your behaviour accordingly. Not everyone can be a superstar who is brilliant at all aspects of their job. But… do the above and you will be a genuine asset, who gets a good reference.


At The Superyacht Forum in November, there will be a number of sessions on modern superyacht crew and their training, all relating to the perfect customer journey and ownership experience. For more information click here and to register for a ticket click here.


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