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How Couples Make It Work On and Off Boats

Feb 24th 11
By Louisa Cowan

By land or by sea, there are bound to be ups and downs in any relationship – it’s not just restricted to those slightly complex yachting partnerships.


You would be very lucky to be a couple in the yachting industry that has a simple ride. After all, working in the yachting industry means living a unique lifestyle in which everything varies from the norm…including relationships. Whether you and your love are both aboard the same yacht, both working in the industry on separate boats or your better half is shore-based, each relationship comes with its own challenges. The good news is that you can make it work. What's more, often there are considerable advantages to this type of life – and love style!


“Don’t exclude yourselves from the rest of the crew,” says First Mate Jase, who lives and works with his stewardess girlfriend. “We have been together for over five years now and working together for three years. It’s so tempting to be in your own little ‘couple’s bubble’ when you’re on a boat together, but it’s so much healthier to fully mix with the rest of the crew. We all hang out as a crew a lot of the time but we [my girlfriend and I] do go off for date nights when it’s just the two of us.”


It isn’t just about making sure you are a fully integrated crewmember. Try to give each other some space, have your own friends and make sure you respect one another professionally.


Another top tip: Don’t air your dirty laundry in the crew mess, nobody wants to hear it. And remember, during work hours you are colleagues first and foremost. The relationship bit has to wait until later. If you are working together, boundaries must be in place. Clear distinctions between work and downtime are extremely important.


Making a relationship work when you and your beloved work on different yachts can be a real challenge. With separate cruising schedules, scheduling time to see one another can be trying. However, if you both understand the industry, and as long as you are prepared to be impulsive, you can find ways to manage some awesome get-togethers.


“My boyfriend and I have spent the last couple of years meeting whenever and wherever we can,” says Stewardess Kay. “Sometimes we find out at the last minute that we have coinciding weekends off and we’ll just jump on a plane, train or into a car to see each other. Our boats have ended up in the same place several times, which is really fun."


I do miss him,” mentions Kay. “One day, I hope we’ll work together, but at the moment this is exciting and fun and we are both pretty happy!”


There are some terrible skeptics in the industry about yachties having successful relationships if one half of the couple is shore-based but, believe me, with a little planning and flexibility it can work wonderfully.


“We are together a lot of the time,” says shore-based wife Bethany. “I am the first to admit that this means I have to move around fairly frequently, but I came into this with my eyes wide open and I love being a part of the yachting community.”


We all know that the crew don’t have much, if any, power to change a boat’s schedule, so the emphasis is definitely on the shore-based partner to be as flexible as possible. Accept this, and the fact that most of your holidays will be in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean (such a hardship), and you have a great chance at having your very own Happily Ever After as do all you loved-up yachties!



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