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Crew Turnover
victoriaallman
Posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 8:37 PM
Joined: 17/05/2008
Posts: 19


The Hidden Cost of New Crew

The crew turnover situation has changed drastically in the last six months. It seemed that for a time, crew held all the cards, and were jumping ship at the drop of a hat, for the slightest hint of a better job. That has come to a halt faster than hitting a reef. This is a good thing for captains and owners.

Crew turnover is hard on a boat. Michael Schueler, captain of Linda Lou states that, “Frequent crew turnover hurts everyone and everything. The owners have to constantly introduce themselves to new faces, the existing crew have to train up the new guy in all the do’s and don’ts, and the boat gets damaged by all the honest mistakes that new crew make.”

Not only is it a hassle for all involved, but valuable information is lost with every turnover. There is always some disgruntled crew member boasting that he wiped the computer clean of his files so the yacht couldn’t live without him. Michael agrees that this is the worst aspect of crew turnover. “Each time, important information about the boat’s running and maintenance is lost. This means that new engineers damage machinery, new stews have to do a full inventory because it was not kept up, the galley must be re-provisioned because the last chef bought all the ‘wrong’ things, and everyone buys three of everything because you don’t know what you have. It becomes a massive waste of the boat’s time and the owners money.”

Michael adds, “It is easy to add up the obvious expenses like crew placement, new uniforms, and flights. But include the financial cost of the new guy’s damage to the boat, naively buying things the boat already has, and the weeks of time of training and the costs start really escalating.”

This fact was painfully clear on one boat that I worked. It had a complete change of crew; everyone from the captain to the engineer was new. When we started, the boat was ripped apart in a shipyard. As we setup for an upcoming trip with the owners, we found many essentials missing. We spent days shopping and thousands of dollars to replace what we needed. Two days into the trip the owners asked why we had new cutlery. It was only then that we were told about the storage shed that held all the missing items; a valuable tidbit of information that was never passed on.

But, money aside, the main reason to lower crew turnover is to keep the owners happy. “They feel comfortable coming aboard, almost like coming home. They see all the same faces and everyone already knows the owners needs,” Michael says.

Obviously not every crew member should stay forever, but the longer they do the better they will know their jobs and the easier life on board will be. Hopefully, the recent change in crew turnover will lead to better run programs, happier crew and increased owner satisfaction.
Debbie
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2009 12:42 AM

Thank you for posting this post!

I'm wondering if high turnover has more to do with individual candidates or in how they are hired and fired.

 

I've only freelanced in this industry, but I have met folks who have constantly been hired/fired or left permanent positions for whatever reason.   I've heard a lot of, "wasn't a good boat, crew...etc",  "well he/she didn't work out or didn't fit the crew."  

As far as people being "let go",  I've been told of drinking/drug issues a few times...but I've also been told that the person didn't have a nice personality, or was hyper, weird, boring, or didn't fit with the rest of the crew...stuff like that.

I've heard more reasons that are based upon one's persona than more serious issues such as drugs or the lack of workmanship or punctuality.  I don't get the impression that there have been any significant personality issues between crew and guests/owners at least from my conversations in the past with other crew. I'm sure there have been many people who have been fired by owners for whatever reason as well.   

The reasons for quitting or getting canned can be warranted of course...but since this high turnover seems to be getting worse, I'm assuming that it may have something to do with people's egos swelling [not just from the higher ups], which can be due to more networking in finding a better job or just being able to have the 'luxary' of hiring/firing people based upon personal reasons...especially when no one's watching the person who does the hiring/firing.  I'm typing fast, so I'm sure I left some grammatical errors, sorry !


Marlin
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2009 2:47 AM
Joined: 04/03/2009
Posts: 12


The problem starts with the Captain or the owner. Hiring based on a pretty face or nationally. Someone that is what I call a backpacker just looking for a fast and quick buck for a season or two.Crew more worried about the destinations. Someone that is not local to at least an area the boat cruises. If you increase the age of crew you are looking for by at least 10 years per position. Throw in some married teams. Change the meaning of the term longevity from 6 months to 2 years. Look to hire only crew that has shown loyalty to at least one boat, owner or Captain of at least 5 years. The cost to own the boat goes down dramatically. Let the inexperienced Captain hire the inexperienced crew. Look to work for a Captain that has been a licensed Captain and working as a Captain of 10 years at least, 15 to 20 years is better. The number of inexperienced Captains out there is shown in the increase cost of yacht insurance in the last 15 years to 20 years of about 400 % per dollar coverage.
Anonymous
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2009 3:22 AM
Longevity can sometimes be a case of luck. I know captains who have not worked for one owner for longer than 18 months, not because they weren't any good, but because the boat was sold. Owner didn't buy another because the boats were sold because there was a divorce, owner died, owner went kind of broke (broke to him, rich still to us), owner was arrested. I also know of a few lucky captains who have worked for owners for longer than a decade, and yes, they are excellent captains but the owners had a lot going for them too. Made the captain part of the corporate program and were often very flexible with their programs. And Debbie, I wonder if you even read these posts before you comment. Victoria's post couldn't be more clear. Her very first sentence states that the crew turnover situation has changed, then she goes on to say that it has ground to a halt. Her theme here is that the economic crisis is saving yacht owners money and aggravation in this respect. It is an unintended positive (for the owners) consequence of the economic situation. Good post Victoria
Marlin
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2009 3:48 AM
Joined: 04/03/2009
Posts: 12


I bet that if you looked at the experience of the crew on the yacht in belize that caught a line in the props and had to drop anchor on or near the reef you would find lower level crew with not much experience. A yacht that size should not have crew aboard without 5 years(not seasons) or more experience. It is going to cost the Captain his freedom and the owner a lot of money. That yacht is worth what $100 million?
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, April 24, 2009 1:24 PM

Longevity is easy to say, but not to achieve. I’ve come to learn that all bad and unhappy crew eventually leaves.

 

Outlasting that annoying individual or difficult time period does seem insurmountable when fatigue and stress influence your judgment.

 

Digging deeper and finding that extra ounce of patience and strength requires you to validate the reasons for being onboard in the first place and obviously today’s employment situation has inspired people to stay and tolerate those niggling problems which make crew jump ship.

 

When you find a solid crew there is usually an equally solid package behind them, good pay, conditions and a pretty stable leadership structure.

 

Communication, tolerance, respect and a genuine team spirit will enable a crew to stay together.

 

In my experience life on board emulates the life cycle of a fruit bowl, cleanliness, freshness, smart fruit selections and the immediate removal of bad apples assures a healthy environment and continuity.


TiffanyS
Posted: Friday, April 24, 2009 2:06 PM
Joined: 21/08/2008
Posts: 30


Oh yes, and don't forget to keep those "bananas" out of the "fruit bowl" in the first place or else everything will be full of "soft spots."
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, April 24, 2009 2:49 PM
Crew turnover ?  Well...first off, this business is  dominated by transient people who's basic qualification is that they are free and available.  Many times to be FREE, you are not the most motivated, brightest person around. Tell me what kind of bright spark, motivated person would take a job as a stewardess then push a vacuum cleaner all day or sign on as a deckhand and spend their days removing water spots.  Very, very few of the crew that I have had in thirty years as captain had the right stuff to make a career of yachting.  Very few of these crew would I ever trust with my boat.
  Second...if you think you can motivate people with money you are wrong.  We pay upper end industry standard wages.  I just lost a deckhand this week.  He is in jail, soon to be deported..  Drunk driving and he decided that it was a good idea to argue with the police officer.  Dam fool.  Crew turnover ?   On the yachts we  consistently work with dam fools.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, April 24, 2009 7:42 PM
To the annonymous that said that ....to be a stew or a deckhand you are not the most motivated or brightest person around. I find your post to be quite insulting. Perhaps you are hiring the wrong crew.
An Owner
Posted: Friday, April 24, 2009 9:22 PM
Joined: 15/01/2009
Posts: 53


Anonymous wrote:
  Crew turnover ?   On the yachts we  consistently work with dam fools.





Please speak for yourself. We do not now, nor have we ever had the problems that you claim. Not with turnover, going to jail, job dissatisfaction or internal friction. Perhaps it is your own disgruntled and demeaning attitude toward crew that lies at the heart of your problem?

My Captain's program and policies are specifically designed to encourage longevity through cross training, sponsored education and upward mobility opportunities that make the temptation to "jump ship" an absolutely absurd idea for a minimum of at least 10 years. This is specifically by design. While my monthly payroll exceeds what the industry standard scale seems to acknowledge, my ROI and overall reduction in expenses more than compensate for the immediate outlay or the cost of a revolving door.


Anonymous
Posted: Friday, April 24, 2009 10:22 PM
such a premadonna industry. I was interviewing for a chef a few years ago and during the interview being held onboard the boat I asked the prospective employee if he / she had and questions. He / She asked if we could possibly put the boat into that yard to redo the galley to their ideas, the dishwasher was on the wrong side of the sink and the trash compactor was where the oven should be? I guess that the previous chefs onboard had over looked these problems.   People need the tools they like or are used to but please lets not rebuild the boat
victoriaallman
Posted: Friday, April 24, 2009 10:27 PM
Joined: 17/05/2008
Posts: 19


That's a good point. Crew leaving a boat also hurts their own wallets. Two months between jobs means two months without a paycheck.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, April 24, 2009 10:38 PM
Chefs have, at times garnered a reputation as being Prima Donna -like, often well deserved. The request to put the yacht into the yard to rearrange the galley takes the cake! (sorry, no pun intended, I swear). I am laughing.
Debbie
Posted: Saturday, April 25, 2009 12:00 AM

And Debbie, I wonder if you even read these posts before you comment. Victoria's post couldn't be more clear. Her very first sentence states that the crew turnover situation has changed, then she goes on to say that it has ground to a halt. Her theme here is that the economic crisis is saving yacht owners money and aggravation in this respect. It is an unintended positive (for the owners) consequence of the economic situation.

 

Oh there- there, little one. Calm down, no ranting now. 

 I did not agree or even respond to the first part of her post, because as if any of us need to agree or comment on every part of what someone posts.

Yes, there have been some changes, but only for a few months. Crew Turnover is STILL an issue, and I still believe is on the rise..at least with firings and by now, more cpts letting crew go based on lack of funds.  I constantly meet people who have changed from boat to boat, whether they seem to be good quality crew or not...even if there are more skeleton crew on boats now a days.   


Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2009 8:03 AM

A Crew Turnover ?

Try this recipe from my new Silence of the Lambs cookbook for yacht chefs !

....Caramelized Crew Turnover

Method:
1 Preheat oven 220°C fan-forced.
2 Heat butter and sugar in a frying pan over medium heat, add crew and cook for 5-7 minutes or until crew starts to colour.  Remove from heat and cool.
3 Cut sheet pastry in half on the diagonal. Place crew on one half of each piece of pastry, fold over the remaining pastry, press edges together to seal. Transfer to a lined baking tray, bake for 6-8 minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp. 
4 Slice in half, diagonally and transfer to a shallow bowl, drizzle with caramel pan juices and serve with ice cream.


Debbie
Posted: Monday, April 27, 2009 1:32 AM

Sorry Mr. "Owner", but I think you may need come down your high horse...or say, donkey. 

Your "owner" narcissism and attempt at being "well versed" is kind of annoying as it is.   There will always be crew, especially on this forum, who will display attitudes and concerns over issues like this.  Dealing with people who act up, i.e. with drugs and bad behavior toward others is RAMPANT.   I've been a stewardess in the industry, I can't say that I haven't bode well with adversity at all times [i.e. throwing my food at someone who threw food at me first, which was still wrong of course], but I have CONSTANTLY seen bad behavior especially when it came to drinking.   It's been tough for me and other crew members to have to put up with it while keeping to ourselves and doing our jobs. 

If it's true that your yacht hasn't dealt with crew issues/high turnover, then I think you are one lucky owner...or like a lot of other owners "who see no evil, hear no evil" while you're away somewhere, say hanging out on DW forum.


An Owner
Posted: Monday, April 27, 2009 6:22 AM
Joined: 15/01/2009
Posts: 53


Debbie wrote:

Sorry Mr. "Owner", but I think you may need come down your high horse...or say, donkey. 

Your "owner" narcissism and attempt at being "well versed" is kind of annoying as it is.   There will always be crew, especially on this forum, who will display attitudes and concerns over issues like this.  Dealing with people who act up, i.e. with drugs and bad behavior toward others is RAMPANT.   I've been a stewardess in the industry, I can't say that I haven't bode well with adversity at all times [i.e. throwing my food at someone who threw food at me first, which was still wrong of course], but I have CONSTANTLY seen bad behavior especially when it came to drinking.   It's been tough for me and other crew members to have to put up with it while keeping to ourselves and doing our jobs. 

If it's true that your yacht hasn't dealt with crew issues/high turnover, then I think you are one lucky owner...or like a lot of other owners "who see no evil, hear no evil" while you're away somewhere, say hanging out on DW forum.




Please forgive me Debbie if I don't quite comprehend to the extent I should with your thinly veiled  attacks on those who have done you no harm. You are apparently correct that I must not be well versed as I am sure you have some belittling intent with your assault, but it's purpose passes me by. I will however consider my annoying you as a badge of honor as you seem to be happiest when you are insulting and slandering others. The hate and discontent that seeps from your every post deserves a little gas on the fire even if it was not intentional. In fact, I fully regret ever having defended you in the past. You have a way of making a champion of free speech, and anti censorship revisit their position.

I have no doubt that certain boats have the very problems that have been addressed. Especially in the Charter Industry where cost cutting can be the difference between sink or swim. My point is and was, that they are entirely preventable if you have a program that is designed to address or prevent these very sorts of things. Our hiring practices are absolutely contrary to those that are considered accepted practices and they are costly but very successful.

I am most certainly a very lucky owner, there is no doubt. You are absolutely incorrect in assessing that I may be a, "See no evil, hear no evil" type of owner, but you may have something about my posting here on DW. In fact, my Chief Stew said that I was nuts for even bothering and sited two of your posts as proof.

Needless to say I disagreed in hopes that some of you could occassionally get a perspective from an ower that cares as much for his crew as he does for his own family. I believe that I am more representative of the majority of owners than those depicted here. Despite your best/worst attempts to prove otherwise, I see more people here that I would be proud to know than not. Unfortunately, the "nots" are like bees. They keep pumping venom even after the stinger is removed.

You have a good evening Debbie. I honestly wish you the best and hope you learn to channel your anger in a way that will allow you to overcome it. You seem an intelligent person so the odds should be in your favor. Sometimes it just takes a little longer for some to realize that confrontation and condemnation are matters of last resort, not first.

Chef
Posted: Monday, April 27, 2009 4:49 PM
Joined: 17/04/2009
Posts: 2


I just want to say to Owner that it is great of hearing of someone like you. I have worked for amazing employers before my yachting career started, real, caring people of whom I am still friends with. After 3 years in the yachting industry, it is still my dream to find an owner like you. Well done on how you care for your crew. With more owners with your attitude there would definitely be less crew turnover. Crew feel and appreciate it when an owner does care and that is care from the heart. When crew are cared for, they will go out off their way looking after the owners toys and will stay with the company for a long time.

Anonymous
Posted: Monday, April 27, 2009 10:48 PM
absolutely, well said, there are amazingly good owners out there, and not so kind ones, that have BIG crew turnover, there are also, amazingly brilliant crew, and not so nice ones. As a crew agent, I have to say I was saddened today to be told by s 22 yr old, that her ambition was to "bond" (read much ruder) with an owner, if that didn't work, his important celebrity guests, and failing that, a captain! When I asked, what she would do if she found herself on a yacht, ( I meant duties) with a married owner, his guest were not interested, and the captain had a shore based wife and maybe children, she stated, that she WOULD get any man she wanted, married or not. Lets get real here, good owners and good crew, quite a few of both, and hopefully they deserve/ and find each other, the rest............... DO YOU WANT TO WORK WITH THEM?????
Debbie
Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 2:36 PM
Anonymous wrote:
absolutely, well said, there are amazingly good owners out there, and not so kind ones, that have BIG crew turnover, there are also, amazingly brilliant crew, and not so nice ones. As a crew agent, I have to say I was saddened today to be told by s 22 yr old, that her ambition was to "bond" (read much ruder) with an owner, if that didn't work, his important celebrity guests, and failing that, a captain! When I asked, what she would do if she found herself on a yacht, ( I meant duties) with a married owner, his guest were not interested, and the captain had a shore based wife and maybe children, she stated, that she WOULD get any man she wanted, married or not. Lets get real here, good owners and good crew, quite a few of both, and hopefully they deserve/ and find each other, the rest............... DO YOU WANT TO WORK WITH THEM?????


For a 22 year old to behave that way, even at that age,  is pretty jarring.  I almost find it hard to believe. I don't believe most candidates act that rediculous especially during an interview.  If I was her crew agent, I would assume there's a deeper issue [besides immaturity] with this woman's expectations. 

There are definitely better crew than others,  that's just life and part of competition.  I for one don't believe most crew are "bad" or below "average."

[comment removed by moderator]


Anonymous
Posted: Thursday, April 30, 2009 6:06 PM
It's very encouraging to hear from An Owner in this forum, and one that has the sort of values that makes working for someone very much worthwhile. After 5 years in the industry, and having worked for some very inappropriate people (those who have used the floor and bathtub as a toilet), or the owner who thought that it was in his rights to make drunken grabs and passes at the stewardess, to the people who don't want to have any downtime or budget for routine maintenance, compromising the safe running of the yacht, I am reaching the point of wondering why it is that I chose this as a career and why I have spent so much time and effort in upgrading certificates? It is a very depressing place to be. I came into the industry after having done a lot of research and was prepared to put in a lot of hours, with sometimes difficult conditions, close living quarters, etc, etc, and quite enjoy putting a smile on the face of that difficult guest and surprising them with their favourite food/drinks, activities. I am trying to keep faith that there are more interested and caring owners out there, and that one day, I may find one such person/family that I can spend the rest of my career happily working for.
An Owner
Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 3:57 PM
Joined: 15/01/2009
Posts: 53


Anonymous wrote:
It's very encouraging to hear from An Owner in this forum, and one that has the sort of values that makes working for someone very much worthwhile. After 5 years in the industry, and having worked for some very inappropriate people (those who have used the floor and bathtub as a toilet), or the owner who thought that it was in his rights to make drunken grabs and passes at the stewardess, to the people who don't want to have any downtime or budget for routine maintenance, compromising the safe running of the yacht, I am reaching the point of wondering why it is that I chose this as a career and why I have spent so much time and effort in upgrading certificates? It is a very depressing place to be. I came into the industry after having done a lot of research and was prepared to put in a lot of hours, with sometimes difficult conditions, close living quarters, etc, etc, and quite enjoy putting a smile on the face of that difficult guest and surprising them with their favourite food/drinks, activities. I am trying to keep faith that there are more interested and caring owners out there, and that one day, I may find one such person/family that I can spend the rest of my career happily working for.








To Chef and Anonymous es,

 I thank you for the positive responses. To be honest it was pure joy to interrupt my Chief Stew's inventory and show her your posts. It allowed me to declare victory and justify, "wasting my time."

While she didn't admit defeat, she didn't give me my desk back and continued to read DW and later confirmed that there is an abundance of, "seedy" characters that have entered the industry over the past few years. I suspect that after two successive stretches of prosperity, growth and easy credit many doors were opened for less than savory characters in every facet of the industry. The price of prosperity? I don't know, but it pains me to hear these stories day in and day out.

As far as finding owners that strive for longevity and appreciate their crew. We're out there, I promise. Longevity, however, brings it's own downside in fewer opportunities for new crew and the ability to be very selective in how new crew are selected. You can follow conventional wisdom on the best way to get hired and never even see a boat that would fulfill your dreams. We don't generally follow the beaten path, so the popular ports that are "in season" are likely to be the last place you might find  a family owned boat shopping for "keepers." (you)

I can't speak for others, but we don't use crew services or management companies, we recruit. You would never get a referral or interview simply because we're not on their list. You need to contact these people directly.  We tend to hire people already working that have proven themselves and are highly regarded among their peers. Getting to know someone already employed on a good boat is probably the best way to get such a gig. Having an advocate already aboard is a very valuable tool.

Whatever you do, don't stop getting your certificates. In fact, get as many as you can possibly get your hands on. There is much to be said for percieved expertise, and nothing says it like a piece of paper declaring your qualification.

Best of wishes to each and every one of you and for those of you who may work for crew services, please don't think I am criticizing your business or what you do. Nothing could be further from the truth. You provide a valuable necessary component to many in the industry.  


olipan
Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 7:15 PM
Joined: 01/03/2009
Posts: 1


Dear "Owner",

 

To echo what some of the others on here have said, there are indeed some great owners on the yachts for whom it is a pleasure to work for and there are indeed some awful ones whom I have seen partake in all sorts of barely legal and debaucherous behaviour. It has been a real eye opener for me.

 

This is the first time I have seen an owner directly post on here and it is great to see you take such an active interest. I can understand why you manage to keep your crew for longer than most. In fact if you do happen to lose a stew in the near future I am available and an experienced stew!!

 

Haha, on a more serious note it is refreshing to see how things look from the "other side" and I look forward to seeing more input from the owners point of view on more crew/yacht topics.

 

All the best

Olivia


Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 8:33 PM

""  We don't generally follow the beaten path, so the popular ports that are "in season" are likely to be the last place you might find  a family owned boat shopping for "keepers." (you)   """    ???????????

An Owner, I'm the captain on that type of ,   off the beaten path,  family owned yacht and I find   " off the beaten path " private yachts  a  big problem for the crew.  For instance, we have done 9 Mediterranean seasons  and the yacht has never  been to the South of France. 4 summer seasons in the Baltic Sea and Norway and have never  seen another crewed yacht up there. .  Two years ago we stopped in Antigua for 24 hours enroute to Central America...the crew was bummed out, only 24 hrs !!!! no party, no friends, no Shirley Heights.   Ive done several  North American seasons and the yacht has never been to Florida.   Never.  We do different things.. North America means Maine, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Quebec , The Labrador, Greenland , Iceland.....
   My crew find  " off the beaten track "  difficult.  They cant network with other yacht crew, they never see another yacht, they can't introduce themselves to another captain, they never meet a crew agent, they dont know the personalities around the water, they feel isolated and leave no matter how well the owner treats them.  I can still remember a conversation with a stewardess who sailed with us for two years...I'm never going to find a boyfriend if I'm always out in the middle of nowhere with you...... 
  I ask you An Owner, How do you keep your crew in the yachting loop ?  Crew need to network and crave hanging out with other crew..I just talked to a prospective Decky  and mentioned that we will be in the Black Sea  and then spent the winter in Den Helder....... he said NO way ....to far away from his girlfriend who is crew on a South of France charter boat.  
   Its so difficult  that this year I think I carry no crew...thats right NO YACHT CREW and will go with young yachtmaster  students looking for sea time.   So an Owner....whats your secret  to keeping off beaten path crew.?


Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 9:34 PM
Can it be safe to just have trainees onboard, especially in the areas where you cruise? What if something happens to you?
Marlin
Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 11:07 PM
Joined: 04/03/2009
Posts: 12


If you hire married teams you will not have a problem with being off the beaten path. You will already know that they know what comentment means. It sounds like you are hiring young and inexperienced crew anyway. For the Captain it ends up being a parenting job. Try older more experienced crew and you will cut your maintance cost and your crew turnover cost. So of us teams would be happy to be in the Baltic. To me short term job is over 1 yr. Medium term job 2 1/2 yrs. Long term 9 years.
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, May 3, 2009 12:18 AM
Dude hire different crew! There are plenty of us who don't need yachties for company and get off on "out there"cruising. That said I didn't know Iceland and Greenland were part of the US till now. Is the Arctic Circle american too? Oops, implied criticism of the US there so I can feel Debbie's xenophobic aura loudly approaching.
An Owner
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2009 11:53 AM
Joined: 15/01/2009
Posts: 53


Olivia and Anonymous Cpt.

Olivia, I believe that there are more owners on here than you might think. They might not post or might do so anonymously, but many are sharp enough to know that if you want to find out what is going on in any given field, listen to those that comprise the backbone.(without someone looking over their shoulder) It has opened my eyes, but there was a given point I was compelled to say wait just a minute, there is another side than just Capt Bligh and the ruthless owners.

Captain, you're off the beaten path quite a bit farther than we are but, if there is a secrect, the solution is identical to what we use to insure longevity. Something to always look forward to in the short term rather than months in between. We pay no holiday pay, the crew cannot accept tips and must report all attempted kick backs. Instead of Holiday pay they recieve Bonuses on these days. They can take the day off if they wish, but they forfiet their bonus unless it is an emergency. Bonus days are seen as Xmas several times per year and it makes up for the tips that charter crews get. I believe that I make up a portion of the cost in savings on the cost of kickbacks.  

 It would be unheard of to stop in any port of interest and not give the crew at the very least a weekend to enjoy themselves. Longevity doesn't suffer with us for a number of reasons, first and foremost, my Captain. I asked her to develop a program that would insure a low turn over rate and when she did, I have to admit, I rolled my eyes and got a headache.

She  included certifications and continuous education as a perk instead of a hurdle to over come. Things like the Berry Brothers Wine certification courses in I think London, Dive Master certification in Panama, Flight School in Houston etc. They get a working vacation, and I get a boat full of Scuba instructing, Wine and Spirit experts who can fly higher than a kite. Online college courses and degree programs are all paid for by us, including transportation for testing etc.Education and Cross Qualifications are a key incentive, not a club.

She designated one room for Crew Family. The crew rotates inviting family members (and sometimes friends) to join us for a week or two at a time. The crew member is still working, but they are serving their own family as guests. Transportation is not an additional cost as we charter a certain number of hours regardless of who the passenger is.  This I believe is the most effective tool that she implemented as I cannot think of a greater advocate than a crew member's family. I know of one crew member that remarked that he couldn't quit if he wanted to for at least six years because he had 9 brothers and sisters. 

There are probably a dozen different things that she does where others would not, but she is unconventional and I am better off for it. Most incentives actually cost little or nothing. The best part, while my monthly payroll is higher, it serves me in the end as I have someone I can place within my organization in another capacity should they choose to move onto land after a few years. Someone I know I can trust.

It might not work for everyone, but, our basic approach is that our Captain and her crew are our greatest asset, not the boat. There is no acceptable reason they should ever look at another boat and say, "I wish I worked there."


Captain Rocky
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2009 1:04 PM
Joined: 09/05/2008
Posts: 5


An Owner, I want to work for YOU!!!
An Owner
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2009 2:27 PM
Joined: 15/01/2009
Posts: 53


Captain Rocky wrote:
An Owner, I want to work for YOU!!!


Ha! Thank you Captain, I have read several of your posts and  you appear to be a credit to your profession. Maybe someday we can justify a fleet!

Anonymous
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2009 7:32 PM
 An owner...one thing is certain. You or your captain think that the best crew can be bought with perks.  Flight school ??  Wine tasting ???
     I don't care how much money you have, I wont work for you. You can not buy my loyalty with extras.  I have never worked for money or benefits, I work for respect. 
  As a captain , I only respect crew who develop special interests by spending their own hard earned money and  on their own precious free time. 
  I cant even imagine the crazy world that you propose.  The Soviet Union ?  good party members sent on exclusive foreign holidays ?
An Owner
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2009 8:21 PM
Joined: 15/01/2009
Posts: 53


Anonymous wrote:
 An owner...one thing is certain. You or your captain think that the best crew can be bought with perks.  Flight school ??  Wine tasting ???
     I don't care how much money you have, I wont work for you. You can not buy my loyalty with extras.  I have never worked for money or benefits, I work for respect. 
  As a captain , I only respect crew who develop special interests by spending their own hard earned money and  on their own precious free time. 
  I cant even imagine the crazy world that you propose.  The Soviet Union ?  good party members sent on exclusive foreign holidays ?


There isn't a thing in the world you have to worry about. Your intuitive thinking skills would disqualify you immediately.   Not one single word was ever spoken about buying loyalty, but you somehow make that claim without any basis for your accusation. It is about creating an atmosphere conductive to longevity.

Respect and Loyalty are qualities earned over time and through experience. If you can't understand the logic behind supporting continuing education and how financing it is mutually beneficial to the owner and the crew then perhaps a business course or an administration class or two would benefit you as well.

As far as the rest of your comment I am afraid I don't understand. Maybe something is lost in translation? Soviet Union? Good Party members? I am sorry, I don't even know how that could be incorporated into the conversation.

Best of wishes to you and best of luck in the future.

ExpeditionYacht
Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 7:52 PM
Joined: 30/09/2008
Posts: 7


I'd love to get a copy of your crew policies . While my HR experience hasn't been on yachts, I have found that it's crucial to have clear policies and definitions on the kind of crew (type of people) you want to hire, the qualifications and experience, incentive policies, training, careful selection process, etc. you will still end up with donkeys on occasion. So employees look and act totally normal until something triggers the donkey gene! I would also think that giving meaningful work is very important. Spending all day polishing away stains on the hull or superstructure or on silverware must be a turn-off for any intelligent person. It probably requires hiring a donkey!
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 9:13 PM
Want to cut down on the high cost of turn overs? Have a good employment contract. And hey owners, if you pay peanuts - you get monkeys!! Charter tips are NEVER considered part of salary. They are GRATUITIES and never guaranteed.
14Freedom
Posted: Monday, September 28, 2009 5:37 PM
Joined: 16/04/2009
Posts: 155


Just two cents worth... After a month of E's and phone calls with the Captain we met and agreed upon a plan of action for the yacht he runs. I was hired as Mate/Stew and was to go to CT for a formal tryout last Friday. I took care of my business which included closing a retail outlet for this opportunity.
Turns out the Captain (as owner's agent and despite his repeated statements that he did the hiring/firing) he reneged on the deal. I didn't even rate a phone call.
I have a couple of decades in this business and was prepared to fulfill my commitments. Where is the integrity these days? I am at a loss and I should have gotten it in writing. To say that I am disappointed is an understatement...this was my final E to Captain Kevin...

Good Day Kevin,
So what really happened?
I'm a big boy and been through a lot in my life. Bad news isn't the end all, it's figuring out what went wrong and making adjustments for the future.
When anyone has assets as he does $700 a week is chump change, especially when large assets are involved. I am really upset that you couldn't pick up the phone to let me know the situation. If he really intends to run one crew, being yourself, I hope you got a $700 a week raise. You have earned it.
How are you going to get the boat to FL without crew?...or is he going to staff the boat with his commercial crew? Is there a snowballs chance in hell I'll be on board?
I really would appreciate a phone call. If there is anything owed that is it. I do mean what I say and follow through on what I promise. I had relayed to me a heartfelt compliment from a former employer the other day. He said in all his years and all his experience the people he could count on were numbered on one hand. I was one.
Best Regards,
Dan

and he still couldn't bother to call. POS

Henning
Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2009 9:14 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


"An owner...one thing is certain. You or your captain think that the best crew can be bought with perks. Flight school ?? Wine tasting ??? I don't care how much money you have, I wont work for you. You can not buy my loyalty with extras. I have never worked for money or benefits, I work for respect. As a captain , I only respect crew who develop special interests by spending their own hard earned money and on their own precious free time. I cant even imagine the crazy world that you propose. The Soviet Union ? good party members sent on exclusive foreign holidays ?" LOL, This is comedy right here. I work strictly for money and benefits because respect is a prerequisite, without it (both ways, I have to respect the owner, and they have to respect me) I don't even show up. Perks are an excellent way of showing that you respect and just as importantly, appreciate your crew. "Thanks for your effort." You see, that's the definition of a "professional", someone who provides a service for their income, and we appreciate when we get more than we contracted for. In professional parlance, it is a sign of respect.
tubby
Posted: Monday, March 15, 2010 5:43 PM
Joined: 19/02/2009
Posts: 11


a ship of fools captained by a fool?

Kulta
Posted: Monday, March 15, 2010 7:08 PM
Joined: 02/11/2009
Posts: 79


We burn through crew because they either have the wrong idea about yachting or can't handle working the hours.
kiki
Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 8:59 AM
Joined: 12/03/2010
Posts: 8


An owner, you sound like a fantastic employer! I wish there were more employers like you not only at sea but on land as well! When employees are respected like that - they will always give their best. These days most people are smart enough to appreciate this kind of effort and respect as its not easy to come by! I wish you the best!
 
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