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South African Need Not Apply
Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 8:36 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 12

I see it more and more in on line ads for crew and on web sites. "South Africans need not Apply", "No South Africans", and even "Please, no South Africans, you are too many".

So what's the story with this? Has the Great South African Migration shot it's self in the foot?

Seems to me that an industry that once prided it's self on diversity has become a bit bigoted. Or, is it that karma has finally caught up with South Africans?

Still, the growing trend of posting an ad for crew and specifically eliminating South Africans is alarming.

anyone care to ad a thought or comment?

Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 11:26 AM

I’ve worked many nationalities, experience shows those who come from less affluent countries are more willing to work hard and take less. That being said language, numeracy and literacy can be a problem.  

Eventually people need to do more than just clean and work hard, yachting is becoming more and more professional, training and education standards are on the increase consequently certain nationalities plateau, because they fail examinations and grow very large chips on their shoulders.

Log books, written instructions, technical drawings, manuals and so forth all need attention and if you want to be viable in yachting you need more than STRONG RUGBY HANDS and a super cocky can bash the square peg in a round hole attitude.  


Rusty Wrench
Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 2:06 PM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207

The main reason is South Africans are a visa nightmare. 'Persona non grata' in all countries around the world, except perhaps North Korea.
Soaking wet
Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 4:36 PM
Joined: 19/01/2011
Posts: 68

Yes the visa thing is a key issue
Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 6:50 PM
Visas are certainly an issue.  I have laso noticed that many South Africans who want to work on yachts come from wealthy families.  Some do not even know how to use a washing machine.  So, they do one Atlantic crossing on a catamaran and get their yachtaster but have never actually washed a boat or applied polish.  Does this make any sense?
Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 10:00 PM

    I have worked in the industry for over 10 years now and though out that time I have worked with South Africans and had them work for me. I always try to give every one the benefit of the doubt and hate generalizing but when it comes to South Africans, I do generalize! I do this because of my experience with them and not through prejudice. If I get a C.V given to me and they are of South African nationality then it goes straight in the bin, I can't be bothered and won't entertain the idea of even reading any further. I, along with many of my colleague's find many S.A's Arrogant.!  There is a saying that there is a fine line between Arrogance and confidence but unfortunately South Africans are on the wrong side of the line and this rubs every one up the wrong way. 

    I have had a friend who worked on a boat where the crew were predominantly S.A's, he left after 4 months and swore blind he would never put himself in that situation again. He was alienated as they all spoke Africans and not once did they give it a thought that this was causing an uneasy atmosphere between them and they other crew, even after being told by the captain not to. Believe me this is not the only case I have heard about. 

   The Visa thing is also quite a big issue when S.A crew expect the boat to pay for visa's and also to give them payed time off which is unfair to the rest of the crew. 

    I have a hand full of South African friends who are some of the nicest people I know but they also agree that Arrogance is what they see when the next S.A's get off the plane. 

     After re-reading this, it seems as though I have a real dislike for SouthAfricans. I don't at all, I have just had my fingers burned too many times when trying to give one more a chance and once again having egg on my face. 


Posted: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 4:58 AM
I am a Saffa... worked in the industry for 9 years... All comments above are true and true... Such a shame... and I have on numerous occassions told Saffas off for their bad behaviour and for dragging our names through the mud... But we've all seen the same thing with the English, Aussies and although less so, Kiwi's too... Visas is def a big issue too...!!! But it shouldn't, I have a passport where I have no Visas in, only stamps by using an employment letter and a seaman's book... Lack of education on both Saffas and Captains... Merry Xmas All!!!
Posted: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 10:11 AM
In general visas should not be the problem. If so, then it's the lack of knowledge of both saffas and captains/management companies. There is no need to for a seaman to hold a 6month/ 2 year multiple entry Schengen visa, although this is what most yacht crew aims for. A seafarer, that has proof of employment on a vessel and his seamans documents(Discharge Book, Seamans Passport, Letter of employment) in order, will in almost 99% of the cases be granted a Transit Visa for up to 5 days. Which is enough to travel to the yacht from the airport. Then his documents will be taken to the customs and accordingly stamped out of the country. In most cases he will receive a shore pass that allowes him shore visit the port of call. This is a common practice in the merchant navy, done for Phillipinos, Ukrainians, Indians...etc, and it is absolutely the same for South Africans.
Posted: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 5:34 PM

I hate to think that all the Safir resumes get thrown in the bin.  I would say some of the best crew members i have ever had are Safirs.  ----  some of the worst too, but I think it is worth sorting through the people to get what you want.

  I do agree with one point though, I overloaded the crew balance with almost half the crew Safir and they would gravitate into their own world with their own habits. They would speak africanse (sp) which alienated and annoyed everyone else on board, especially me ….  I banned the language on board but it made no difference..  so I changed it and cut down the number and now we do not get that group mentality.   ---  much better.

   I have seen similar things in almost all nationalities, it's just more pronounced in Safirs. They will evolve just fine in yachting.


Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013 10:22 AM
Poor, poor South Africans. Try being a citizen of the USA. Unless the Captain or Owner is from the US, you hardly stand a chance. But we don't need to complain about it....
Posted: Friday, December 27, 2013 10:14 PM

Yes, without a doubt the South Africans are generally the most disliked of all nationalities. They do tend to possess an arrogant abrasive attitude. This is borne from their imbalanced social culture where they had a lower social class doing the menial tasks. Now it's reversed on boats and it's them who are the maids and window cleaners. Call it Karma.

Sure the Aussies are a bit unrefined, the poms a bit pompous, we could generalize all day. But having worked for 10 years with crew from all over the world, Saffas are my least favourite.


Posted: Saturday, December 28, 2013 1:29 AM

 The reason why South Africa's have visa issues is obvious. 

Having said that I'd say 10% of them are awesome. 

Profiling crew by nationality is not a good thing to do, especially when good crew are hard to find.

Regardless of whether your looking for entry level or senior crew a case by case ethos is healthy. 

My old boss dumped the South African Captain and his favorite crew because they were too much. 

Every boat has a click, cool kids and old farts or whatever. But when a nationality dominates the vibe of the boat is affected.  

Gabriel Poirier
Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 6:10 PM
Joined: 21/05/2008
Posts: 31

Been in the yachting and the service industry for more almost 18 years, I can tell you that it is not only the yachting who will say or do " no South African".

Yes the visa can be an issue. For what I experienced, the attitude is the main reason for this situation.  Of course, not all S.A. got bad attitude and there is people like that from all the countries. On they other hand, when a yacht ( captain or owner) got few bad experiences with people from a country, they will not hire again form the same place. It is sad but it is a fact. I experienced few crew house situations with S.A., not all pretty.


Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:57 PM
Joined: 03/06/2009
Posts: 14

I am a South African, and a captain for many years. I currently have a crew comprising mostly South Africans, however this was not by design but rather just the way it worked out after hiring the best available crew at the time & place. But I digress. The point I would like to make is that the visa issue is a non-issue. For most foreign crew (including EU passport holders) we all have to have visas to visit the USA aboard a yacht, as the visa waiver program is only applicable to travelers aboard commercial airlines & cruise ships. And for those SA crew visiting Europe, obtaining a schengan visa is actually very easy and only needs a bit of planing ahead.


It seems that the bigger issue discussed here is arrogance and work ethic. It is difficult for me to comment on this without sounding biased, but I must concede that I have experienced similar problems with crew before. But not just with SA crew, but various nationalities. It is sad that a few black sheep can so badly taint the perception of a nation - come on guys, lets turn this around.


And finally, I do agree with the comment above regarding USA crew. It is sad that in an industry heavily supported by the US $, American crew are so badly prejudiced by legislation and perceptions. Perhaps similar generalized perceptions that now seem to be associated with SA crew?


Perhaps it is time for our industry, and us as employees to take a serious look at ourselves and consider ways that we can all improve, make ourselves more marketable and offer an even more professional service to our employers.

Happy sailing

Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 3:45 AM
Joined: 15/12/2013
Posts: 39

I have a very serious problem with the stereotyping of any group of people or any nationality. I've conducted business around the world, hired people of all nationalities, and it's my personal belief that if someone says "all anything are bad employees or difficult to get along with" they're speaking more about themselves than the group and need to reexamine their own approach. If they go in thinking that, then it will be a self fulfilling prophecy. I wouldn't hesitate to hire anyone based on their nationality and would never consider it other than any legal restrictions. I've also met people I wouldn't hire from all countries. 

Now, I'm not going to argue these points and won't respond to arguments back because either you are prejudiced or you're not. And I'm not prejudiced against any group of people. But if you are, I know there is no convincing that you might be misjudging. 

 Average 4.5 out of 5