RSS Feed Print
Sexual harassment
Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 2:16 PM
Joined: 03/06/2014
Posts: 1

Hi all. my first post and am hoping someone can enlighten me. I captain a small charter boat in Australia with 12 pax and 6 crew. one of the crew members who has been employed for about a year shows extreme predatory sexual behavior towards female crew and female passengers to the point that people are intimidated. I have mentioned this numerous times to the operators but despite all their councelling he only seems to continue with this behavior. I am wondering If he commits a crime (which I believe he invariably will if he hasnt already) am I as Captain liable in anyway since I am aware of his behavior?
Heli-Yacht International
Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014 7:10 PM
Joined: 12/10/2008
Posts: 3

I have been in this industry since 1994 and have seen pretty much everything. You are obviously dealing with a delicate situation. With that being said you have openly admitted this problem so now you must act. 

If a crime is committed aboard your vessel when you knowingly knew there was a problem will ultimately result in serious implications for you. You must act on this now before something terrible happens. If you are unable to act then you need to walk away from this job and save your face, reputation etc. 

If you are able to pull this person who is being harassed to your new job then you have won!

Good luck as these are the difficulties of being captain. 

Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014 7:48 PM

Regarding your question on firing a crew member due to sexual harassment. I've seen people get fired for much less, so I am a little confused as to why you cannot fire this crew member. I can only assume that the management company is in charge of firing? If you have firing capabilities, absolutely fire this person. Or, like the other person suggested lay down the options to the management company that you have no choice ethically but to leave the boat if action is not taken.

 I briefly skimmed through this forum and what I read made me sick. Yachting is rampant with sexual harassment. Yes, I have thus far decided to stay in the industry. I have been fortunate to work with some wonderful individuals, and unfortunate to work with some borderline individuals. Meaning, my safety has never been at stake, but I do have a good sense of humor and have brushed some things off that some wouldn't. I have never had physical advances, but emotionally and verbally I have been in situations that over time wore on me. Sexual harassment in yachting is a difficult topic because we work in close quarters and often become close to the individuals we work with. We often begin to think of them as family and begin to take more harassment than we would from others because we think it's in the name of yachting and we think, we're friends. Part of the problem is that many women in yachting are very attractive. Part of the problem is that our main task in yachting is very much "degrading" in the sense that we are looking after the boys and doing maid work. To me, I know this is my task as stewardess, however the way I am approached affects me. If the boys I work with talk down to me and expect me to be submissive, this is completely different than working with boys that are appreciative and work more in a team setting rather than acting like the girls on the boat are their concubines. It's about respect and teamwork. I respect coworkers that do their job and are respectful toward me. In return, I do my job and respect my coworkers. No matter that this is, "yachting"and a male oriented field. It's absolutely absurd that anyone (male or female) should be treated anything less than a human being simply because of their looks and the nature of their job. We're all here because we want more adventure than sitting at a desk, not to be sexually harassed. No one should have to be afraid to lose their job because of a backward industry.  

Posted: Saturday, June 7, 2014 12:49 AM
Joined: 13/10/2013
Posts: 6

If you can't fire him, document it all to cover your ass. That being said, Australian males do seem to display this type of behavior world wide, so you are not alone.
Posted: Saturday, June 7, 2014 3:57 AM
Surely you have a contract with procedures all laid out ??   If not - verbal warning, written warning final warning and goodbye. End of problem.
Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 7:45 PM

Oh really. As an Australian male, your comments are offensive. 

Tell us readers more about your experience with Australian males. 

Where are you from?

You claim to have a broad knowledge of us Aussie males, do tell how you came to the conclusion that we have this “worldwide” reputation as you term it.

Maybe you are a dour Kiwi with a chip on her shoulder.

Like your post , I am just generalising, fair enough?




Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:50 PM

Stews/Captains, I need your advice!

I am a Junior Stewardess on a large yacht and the Captain is a highly-respected man. We have alot of common ground and have aways had long conversations. He has never 'harrassed' me. However, his attentions have increased, favoring me in subtle ways, much to my discomfort. I, and the rest of the crew, can sense that he has me in his sights in a fairly serious way. I should also add that there is over 20 years difference in age. 

I grew up on a sailing yacht and became a Stewardess straight out of school. I am here to stay and take my job very seriously. I am a confident girl and always make myself clear when i receive unwanted attention. However, this Captain is not someone I want to risk offending. So the more I politely retreat, the more he chases, and that is a game i don't want to be involved in any longer. To be clear, I dont feel scared or threatened in anyway. I just want to avoid drama that could affect my career. 

I have absolutely no idea how to cool the situation down without getting myself fired. There is nothing in my body language or tone of voice that could even mildly be considered flirting. I wont talk to the other girls about it onboard because thats the start of every good drama. Has anyone else had this experience and how did you deal with it? 

Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 3:09 PM

Tyzack-Australian men have a reputaion for sexually predatorial behaviour worldwide?! Maybe you should rethink that wording mate. 

Im a young Australian girl and I can EASILY say I have never felt less safe sexually around men than when i came to the oh-so cultured cesspool that Europe. I have been clawed at, followed, had my body and face openly and loudly analysed by every oily italian, sunburnt english boy. 

Australian men are strong and protective. They are also masculine in a way other nationalities are not. They pursue girls the old-fashioned way, by being confident and forward and flirtatious. That does not make them predatory. It makes them better at getting women than you.

Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 3:28 PM

Anon stew, that sucks. I've been there. The only advice I can give is to write it all down. With dates and details. Make a note of who else was there. Make a note of exactly what you said/did in the situation, whether you changed the subject to your job list or left the room or whatever.

And equally importantly, create a second document where you write down all the positive feedback you get from him, from the chief stew and chief mate, the owners, whomever. Same thing- dates, what was said, etc.


If you continue to deflect this creep's advances and he decides to criticize your performance unfairly you'll be able to back yourself up. I don't think there's any easy way to confront a creep who has authority over you, but by keeping track of it by writing everything down you retain some control.  I'm sorry I don't have a magic bullet. This is a lousy situation; good luck.

Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014 1:19 PM
Joined: 10/11/2011
Posts: 35

Dear Anonymous stew.

Firstly, I want to start off by saying that I am sorry that you are in the situation. It really, really, REALLY sucks.

Secondly, I just want you to know that you shouldn't have to deal with this alone. 

It is the captains JOB to protect his crew, not to creep them out.

Due to the nature of the industry and the standard average  looks of crew members, it is safe to assume that you are probably above average in looks, so this is something that (like many other attractive females) that you are going to have to deal with, all through your career.

Now for the part that you are not going to like… You need to stand your ground with him, this is not a game.

If and when he makes another unwanted advance or comment, you need to politely say:

  • What do you mean – make him clarify his innuendos
  • Tell him that it makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Try to avoid situations where you know your captain is likely to flirt with you

You also need to keep records, dates, time, location and if there were any witnesses.

If his inappropriate behaviour continues, you need to tell the chief officer and ask him to log the complaint in the ships log and you must sign it.

Try not to tell too many crew members as it can get weird really quickly, however you should tell your Chief Stew so that she can take action if need be.

Also, you may want to speak to a recruiting agent who is proficient in HR matters and in dealing with sexual harassment, they will be able to give you professional advice.

If all of your efforts to cool the situation fail, then email me and I will be able to guide you with an alternative plan:

Finally, So many women on this forum can relate to your situation, but like I said you need to deal with it. It's your life and your career.

Wishing you all the best


Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2015 11:07 PM

Just to let you females know that not all of us men will tolerate any sexual harassment by our crew. Period. On my watch I would give one warning to the offending male (or female) and then I would terminate them on the spot if I had seen this myself. So many times now it's a she said, he said. 

On our boat we have a pre employment agreement, real simple. No talking about the owner or boat, no drugs or drinking on the boat and no sexual harassment. Consensual is fine in my book.

I patently refuse to mix genders in small crew quarters (should be called dimes as they are so small). I have given my cabin to a stew and slept in the wheelhouse.

Maybe I was raised differently than the rest of the salty horny dawgs but these women are someones daughters and sisters. Think of your crew as sisters and treat them accordingly.

Mike Biggers
Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 4:11 PM
Joined: 12/03/2019
Posts: 1

Some big guys with big boats thinks they can do anything they want. It's sad, but it's true. Of Course it can be someone from crew, some sea dog. But i think true fault on always on boat owner.
Posted: Monday, September 14, 2020 2:10 PM
Joined: 11/09/2020
Posts: 1

Dear Dockwalk community, for the investigative Youtube channel “Y Kollektiv”, I am researching about the topic of this discussion. Some women have shared their stories with me—like many of you have in this discussion—and are likely to also share them with the public later. With a movie released, I hope that transformation will be fostered in the industry. I am trying to measure the structural dimension of the topic, which is why I am looking for more people speaking up. Everything in absolute confidentiality. It does not matter if you are still in the industry or not. You can reach me best via my e-mail address: I have also created this survey where you can leave your story: About Y Kollektiv: We are an investigative channel for a young audience made by German public broadcasting. We have uncovered neo-nazism in the elite troops “KSK” of the German army ( Our informant is anonymous and safe; the troops are now being reformed after a series of scandals. I am looking forward to talking to you. Feel free to contact me for any further question or concern; and to share the survey with others. Best wishes from Bremen, Germany-Fabian Stark