Dockwalk - Crew Confidential? Untitled Page

Crew Confidential?

Aug 21st 09
By Janine Ketterer

If loose lips sink ships, then spilling the beans about a guest or owner could have you off the yacht and looking for work before you can send the photos to Celebrity gossip is always in demand; when even family members are willing to rat out their kin for a few bucks from a gossip rag or website, it’s no wonder owners and guests want crew to keep their mouths shut about the goings-on on board.

Sailing away on a multi-million dollar yacht is certainly one way to avoid the prying eyes of the paparazzi, but if crew are “tweeting” about the clientele, privacy is compromised. For this very reason, many yachts have enacted confidentiality agreements either in or in addendum to crew contracts.

To get the real scoop on confidentiality, recently surveyed crew and the results proved to be very interesting. About 70 percent of crew who participated said that they have had a celebrity guest and owner, but of those crew only 39 percent had a confidentiality agreement. Forty-four percent of crew said that previous vessels required such an agreement. (Numbers are based on poll results as of 21/8/09 -- they are subject to change as more responses come in.)

Ian Pelham, director of The Crew Network, says that all of the crew coming through their doors must sign a confidentiality agreement. “[The confidentiality agreements] are very simple, [crew] can use any information that they learn on how to do their job better anywhere they go, but anything specific about the yacht, owner, guests or that particular job, they have to keep to themselves.”

Pelham also says that crew may be asked to sign another contract while on board, which would take precedent over the agency's.

In the March 2007 issue of Dockwalk, Capt. Mike French tackled this very subject in the article titled Loose Lips Sink Ships. In the article, French maintains that if you as a crewmember are asked to sign a crew confidentiality agreement, keep in mind that it is a legally binding document, so be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, just in case you have a habit of running your mouth.

Even mentioning the name of the yacht you work on is sometimes taboo as several Dockwalk staff members have learned while taking dockshots. One celebrity owner in particular allows his crew to be photographed but the name of the yacht they work on is not to be mentioned.

So, even if crew have a contract, are they keeping their lips sealed? Almost two-thirds of the crew who answered the poll said they feel their job does not require a confidentiality agreement.

Does that mean crew are chatty kathys? Well, perhaps not. The overwhelming majority of crew who have a contract, say they abide by it and most of those who do not have contracts say they are still discreet. Is this because crew are simply too busy to bother with those vacationing on board?

Still, some crew enjoy dishing the dirt. While only four percent said they have been reprimanded for opening their mouths when they shouldn’t have – and none of the crew who answered had been sacked for not abiding by their confidentiality agreement – 26 percent of crew who have ever worked under a contract said they’ve just never been caught. So perhaps crew are just good at gossip.


Vote in our poll


What do you think about the results? Let us know below.



Rating  Average 0 out of 5

  • Charter guests have a right to a measure of privacy and any competent Captain will reinforce that with crew before any charter begins. No one likes a paparazzo or big mouth. In a very competitive market, saying or doing anything that might be construed as invasion of a guests privacy is wrong.

    It can be difficult - ask anyone who's stood passarelle watch. Many folks walking the docks pause, ooh and ahh, and then ask: is anyone famous is on board; who owns the boat; where are you going next; and sometimes, the cheeky ones, ask for a tour.

    The best answer for the above is either "I'm not permitted to answer that question." or "No."

    In an effort to provide a memorable experience, many yachts take pictures, videos, and collect memorabilia to present to the guests at the end of the charter. The Captain has to be firm and clear that all digital recordings are property of the vessel and may not be used for personal or monetary gain.

    One important requirement for crew is that they not impugn the reputation of the yacht, its crew, or the owner. Publishing "candid" or "compromising" pictures of guest will certainly do that. And that will affect your career, salary, and career of your fellow crewmembers.
    Posted by dabbott 25/08/2009 14:35:22

  • Funny enough, I was recently called about a freelance job on a charter yacht, and I had heard stories about the captain, so I googled him, just to see who it was that I would be interviewing with. Lo and behold, one of the links that popped up on google was of a blog that this captain had with some unknown. And guess what, as I read the entries of the blog, I could feel my jaw dropping open further and further due to the fact that said captain was ranting and b**ching out the other person in a most unprofessional and indiscreet manner, giving all sorts of personal details of the owner of the yacht that he was captain of!!! Names, ports, the business the owner was involved with and the amount of money that the owner was worth! I was shocked. It was pretty bad. Needless to say, it did not give me a good impression of the man and it certainly did not give a sense of professionalism.

    If anything, yacht crew should be discreet. Hell, I would be angry if someone was putting basic information about me up on a blog in such a manner, and I am a nobody, with no wealth and nothing to protect.
    Posted by cancook 24/08/2009 16:01:37

  • Imagine your freinds or family asking "what do you do for work these days" and you say well I work at a place in the finacial industry. Try telling them you can't say that you work for an investment firm, or what city the branch you workin is located, heaven forbid. Imagine thier response, freak. Not easy. You have a great job, travel to great places and you can't say a word about it. Yeah right.

    Now the simple fact remains, the signing of an agreement of non disclosure is an agreement. If you want the job working for the investment firm and they do not want you to talk about your job, if you sign, you agree. Then just do it. Make sure the terms and directions are clear as to what information can be disclosed. Follow your orders. If you don't don't coming crying when your bags are packed on the dock with no vacation pay or severance and the cancellation of other benefits, because when you break the contract, you broke the law of the boat. Plan to suffer the consequences.

    One of the key reasons those who can afford to either charter or own yachts is to gain some privacy which they no longer can enjoy staying at a hotel, resort, or private villa. If they wanted everyone to know their business or pleasure they would just let their publicist take care of the details.
    No,most of them want some sense of seclusion. Some right to privacy. Tehy don't need someone in their employ Twitting or Facebooking their ownership nor their comings and goings. They have paid professional on staff for that job.
    As for yourself and divilging certain facts. Well anyone can stand behind most any boat and wait all day to see who comes and goes. Plain and simple. I could have a big lense and sit at the dock and take pictures of all the crew coming past the name of the boat and post it on every website know to mankind.
    I can track down the registed ownership of almost every yacht around and if I really wanted to I could get through most front companies wi
    Posted by Herb_1 22/08/2009 18:43:06

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