Dockwalk - The Essential Site For Captains And Crew - Blogs Dockwalk - The Essential Site For Captains And Crew - Blogs

Soaking wet's Blog

Rotation, are there enough crew?

 Permanent link   All Posts

Shared employment on a 50/50 split requires twice as many qualified crew, and anyone employing yachties know crew can pick and choose the jobs their offered. 


Rotating crew accumulate experience, sea time and qualifications much slower than full time people. 


Rotation comes with salary sacrifice in most cases. Employers need to pay extra to cover logistics, insurance and not all owners are ready for that. Therefore rotations not offered on all boats, and not for all positions. 


For rotation to be sustainable there must be;


1.Sufficient crew

2.Overlap between rotations for handover

3.Crew work more than their off, even if that's off the boat in a supporting role

4.Contingencies for those times when rotational crew leave or get injured

5.Clear operational standards, with checks and balances

6.Proper logs and records

7.Realistic expectations 

8.Revalidation and further education plans


Rotation is wonderful if you can make it work, but it quickly becomes a nightmare when people fail in their duties, suddenly leave and employers see zero benefit. 


At the end of the day rotation must be mutually beneficial for employees and employers. 




Crew do not and will not have to leave a boat unless the conditions are bad. If I was offered a rotational job with appropriate time off/salary balance and the conditions on board are great, why would I want leave? I only see benefits of this system and I think those permanent jobs are not desireable. The crew gets tired over time and become stressed which will most likely result in reduced performance and tension. Nobody really wants to work permanently. People have their own lives to a certain degree. I choose to be at sea for the contrast. I don't like nine to five jobs. I like to be on a mission (time at sea) and then I like to be back home with enough money to enjoy all the things that were absent while at sea. I will appreciate small things even more after some time at sea and everything is exciting. To my mind everybody needs time off to recuperate, with the assured return to the work environment one likes to return to after some time off - for the sake of contrast.
Posted by: Leif at 28/02/2017 17:51

Permanent jobs on yachts are fine when you are young and looking to gain experience. I enjoyed permanent work on the yachts when I was in my 20's and early 30's. I had no interest in going home. But now in my 40's with elderly family to look after etc. I can't spend 11 months of the year away. I have passed all my exams and have enough experience and qualifications to deserve a rotation job. In the commercial and offshore world, jobs are mostly rotation even for junior crew. On the rigs you are not allowed to do any more than 5 weeks. After intense work 12 hours a day 7 days a week you start to make mistakes which can be fatal out at sea or operating heavy machinery.
Posted by: John Pierce at 28/02/2017 19:10

Majority of owners won't go for the high cost of rotation. Crew won't like the lower salaries and will have to work on days off.
In the oilfield working 4 weeks on and 2 weeks off creates a 28 day prison with windows and you lose two travel days so your stay at home is 10 days or less. It's a young mans job away from family and friends for extended periods. If you want a life find a local position with limited scheduled travel time.
Posted by: Capt Rick Rahm at 28/02/2017 23:49

It would be difficult to attract older professional marine crew i.e. senior Deck and Engineer officers without rotation. These guys have the qualifications, experience and skill to get good salaries and time off in other sectors of the maritime industry and they likely have family responsibilities.

From my own experience offshore is time on time off. As mentioned above you do lose 2 days of your leave travelling. The reason people work offshore with the 12 hour shifts and the constant danger is that if you are careful with your money you can do 5 years on the rigs and pretty much retire. Unlike on yachts where money is good but you can spend 15 euros a pint in Monaco and empty your wallet! Yachting is much more fun though!
Posted by: John Pierce at 01/03/2017 06:36

Rotational schedules are utilized in the commercial industry. Yachting and Commercial are two completely different animals and must be recognized as such.

Hence you have freelance crew.

In my years I've only seen (1) one yacht adapt a rotational schedule and that was for only part of the crew. The rest were permanent. And for the part, it wasn't working out that great from what I witnessed.

Why rotational scheduling is even being brought up or considered in yachting only leads me to believe the schools are pumping out too many paper crew. And attempting to bring rotational schedules into yachting to accommodate the hundreds of new paper crew being pumped out by the schools is not a solution to that issue. Which is one of its own.

The cons rotational schedules present to "yachting" far exceed any benefit one might perceive. Especially to busy charter yachts where a day or two to get up to speed isn't available. Private yachts don't need it, they're not busy enough.

Combine the cons of rotational schedules in yachting with the chance of losing crew while that member is on their off time to another vessel is why rotation is better left to the commercial industry.

Imho of course.

Posted by: Chase at 01/03/2017 13:59

It depends greatly on the boats schedule. If your boat has a home port asking rotation is a bit much. Even if its not berthed in the town you live you can move and resettle as many people do in many other industries. I am on rotation now because our boat is doing a circum navigation and so after only seeing my wife and kids for 2 months of 2015 something had to change. But it is true that to make rotation work you MUST have a solid manager that both captains report to on an equal level or 1 captain who is the lead captain and everything MUST be kept very well organized otherwise things will fall through the cracks. Time off the boat isnt necesarily time off you are still working only having the opportunity to do that work from home.
Posted by: Stefan Czuplak at 03/03/2017 21:20

Leave a comment
Name *
Email *