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Time to stop pointing fingers at management

Complaints about management haven't changed in recent years, but is that down to the managers, or those complaining?

When a captain re-sent an article he submitted some seven years ago for what was then named The Yacht Report, I was – initially – concerned. Since the relaunch of The Superyacht Report, we’ve made a point of producing top-level journalism, that is always new, hard-hitting and insightful. So why would a captain re-send an article, about some of the key issues surrounding yacht management, that he sent in 2010?

But then I glanced back at the captain’s email, where he said, “In 2017, I still feel the same way.” And there it is.

When we get to a point where we seemingly haven’t progressed, to the point where, in theory, we could print a column addressing the same issues that needed addressing seven years ago, we’ve gotten to a point where there’s something wrong.

Yacht management is a key facet of today’s superyacht industry, particularly as yachts get bigger and more and more find themselves both over the 500gt and, now, the 3,000gt thresholds. And while I might sound like a broken record, it seems that no one has fixed the record, because the same discussions are still happening.

And before the industry’s yacht managers pick up their pitch forks and head for TSG Towers, I don’t actually think this is the fault of the yacht managers any more than anyone else in the industry. Is this just another example of people complaining but those same people not wanting to put the effort in, or simply thinking it’s someone else’s job, to solve the problem?

While I might sound like a broken record, it seems that no one has fixed the record, because the same discussions are still happening.

So I got looking at The Superyacht Management Report, published in Issue 179 of The Superyacht Report. The report, comprising data sourced and analysed by The Superyacht Intelligence Agency, conveyed a certain level of apathy when it comes to opinion on management. There’s a sense that captains and senior crew aren’t wholly satisfied, nor are they wholly dissatisfied; about half of those surveyed felt management companies offered value for money – the other half felt they didn’t; overall, senior crew did feel management helped operate the yacht – but not overwhelmingly so.

Perhaps this is the reason people are more than happy to bemoan the offerings of management companies, but far less so to actually do something about it. They’re content; they’re happy enough. But, if you want my opinion, this industry isn’t about being content. Would you see a broker or a shipyard saying, “Buy this superyacht, and you’ll feel content?” – of course not.

The question is, who’s going to take action and actually find – and deliver – solutions to this industry-wide problem? No problem should be too big, and no industry too complicated, to effect change where required.

What am I going to do? From now on, when I hear complaints about management, my response, quite simply, will be: what’s the solution, and what do you need to do get there?

The Superyacht Forum, taking place 13-16 November in Amsterdam, focuses on our industry’s 10-year blueprint, and is the perfect place for yacht managers to come together and find solutions to this problem, in the presence of the industry’s leading CEOs and figureheads. Yacht managers are entitled to a VIP delegate rate – for more information, please click here.

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Time to stop pointing fingers at management

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