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You can stay, but you get no pay!
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 2:19 PM
Joined: 21/08/2008
Posts: 30

During the Miami show, I heard that a big yacht told all of its crew that after the show they could continue to live aboard and work for their room and board but that they would not be getting a pay check. Struck me as a really crappy way to tell the crew that they were out of a job and that the owner knew they would be desperate. I've heard lots of stories about owners taking advantage of crew in these hard times. They just sound so unbelievable I wonder if they are true. And if they are, what can we do to fight being treated like discards?
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 4:13 PM
Tiffany....I hate to add to negativity on this forum, but at this point, nothing about the yachting industry amazes me any more.  I've had psycho owners that were just nutcases. One guy had hidden cameras on the boat and the phones were bugged. Crew aren't much better. I love working as a captain, running a boat, but I've come to the conclusion that the yachting industry is just a "shit industry" in every respect.  My last job ended this past November. I was on for ten months and they just called me in one day out of the blue and said "your done".  I had joined the boat "sight unseen" in the middle of a major refit with no current captain aboard. I got the boat out of the yard ahead of schedule, and back into pristine conditon....I put together a professional, organized boat that the owners always had a great experience on while aboard. To be fair, and honest, the last three months I was very unhappy with the whole program as the boat hardly moved as it's for sale. There are 4 people I can think of that I made comments to to that effect. When the owners called me in, they had no "cause" as I had done an exceptional job. But it was clear by their cold, matter of fact demeanor, that someone, or a couple of someones had betrayed me. During the last three months, I had asked the owners if I could bring on a 3-day a week temp stew just to take care of the interior. The girl I brought on was referred by the mate as he knew her. There really wasn't enough work to justify her being there, but I "made" work because I knew she needed the money. A couple of weeks before the end, she called one friday to tell me her boyfriend was in jail after beating her up. She was going to stay with her parents for a couple of weeks. I immediately told her to come by and I would pay her one week early so she could have money in her pocket. I also told her that if she needed a place to stay, she could stay on the boat. At the end, when I had no more work for her, she just disappeared like she didn't even know my name any more. My point...after doing an exceptional job, the owners threw me away like a piece of trash, and everyone associated with the boat had betrayed me...people I treated well!   For me, it's a people issue, not a captain/crew issue. It has rocked me to my core because I am just a decent human being with everyone in my life. My experiences with  yachting has led me to question myself in terms of trying to do the right thing with people.

Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 5:04 PM
Actually I think that the captain was honest, didn't make any promises he couldn't keep and told the crew the truth.  I congratulate the captain and notify amateurs like you Tiffany that times are hard.  Read the newspaper.  The privilege to stay onboard the yacht free of room and board is very valuable.. As crew on a dead boat you   may not make money ,but you  are located on the inside of the industry, protected and have a better  first shot at any openings that go down in the marina. I have seen it happen several times during my career on yachts. Nice to see honest captains.
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 7:03 PM
There are worse things Tiffany. I just wonder how much work will be required to satisfy the rent.
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 8:23 PM
Joined: 21/08/2008
Posts: 30

First let me say that I am hardly a novice in the industry, Carole Manto placed me on my first yacht which was managed by Bob Saxon, so I've been at this for a while. I know things have been hard in the industry before, but I have never seen crew treated so poorly. I agree that working for room and board is better than saying pack your bags and go. But give your crew a little notice and leave them with a shred of their dignity. It just seems so harsh. I think a lot of owners are harboring some hostility about how much they have paid their crew over the past few years, and some of the stories I am hearing makes it sound almost like they are enjoying firing their crew. Like when someone stubs their toe and kicks the dog to make themself feel better.

I worry about precisely what the last post said. How much work will satisfy the rent? Will the crew be allowed to interview for other jobs or have they been reduced to indentured servants? And is this something we are going to see more of? It's bad enough when crew have to unclog the owner's toilet and spot treat the bedding stains and spend every holiday making sure the guests are having the time of their life while they don't even have a minute to call their own family. That's fine, we sign on for that, but at least acknowledge the sacrafices and the loyalty. It's not our fault their bank failed.

I don't think this is a "shit industry" . I have been on my current boat for 4 years, my boss is a good man and financially secure, I have nothing to be bitter about. But I think there are some shitty things happening to hard-working people and I think someone needs to open up the lines of communication to figure out what crew can do to be prepared for these things.

Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 8:43 PM
Tiffany its difficult to judge different boats and different situations.  The economy is bad, some of these owners have no money left...bankrupt.  As far as free crew for room and board, well this practice is as old as yachting.  I presently have a very talented FREE engineer staying in the port crew cabin.  I know the man, no need for him to burn 10 grand fitting out an apartment while he waits out the slump.  He stays with his mates on the water, lends a hand , stays connected and keeps a good attitude
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 9:52 PM
So, let me get this straight, you would rather the Captain/Owner just say "Sorry, we have to lay you off and you have to leave the boat"? It seems to me it was handled pretty nicely inasmuch as they could have just laid off the crew and put them ashore. Surely the working for room and board will not amount to 1-2 days a week which would allow them to seek out other avenues while also having a roof over their head and meals. All in all, I think it was a very nice thing to offer, considering the alternative.
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 1:50 AM

I was just talking about this with a friend tonight who said he knows a boat where the owner told the crew he was cutting everyone's salary by 30% and if they chose to leave there would be no hard feelings. But no one quit. They all agreed to stay.



Life is pain, get used to it.

Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 11:49 AM

Tiffany, you are right to complain.  It's a JOB. Not a lifestyle.  Its real easy to tell the anonymous captains here; PYA, Protect Your Arse.  You are pathetic; you look after a rich man's toy - servant; get used to it. 


Of course you should be paid.

Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 12:53 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Cool !  IBNA....   I havent met a BN in years......the good ole days
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 5:43 PM
The other issues of concern here would be: 1) what happens if you were to get injured while "working off your rent." Workmens comp? Jones Act? Who pays? Could be a big liability concern. and 2) Following the letter of the law bartering for shelter is considered a form of compensation by the unemployment folks. The first one is the biggie of course. I would sort this out because we all know that accidents happen on boats.
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 5:55 PM
Joined: 21/01/2009
Posts: 36

Huh ???   Tricky, guess Id have to gather up all the lawsuit happy Americans and make them walk the plank, then gather up the British crew and tell em that we are all in this together, Ill keep thier work visas valid, treat them with respect, promise not to hurt them.  Then we throw three cheers ,stiffen up our upper lips and  make the best of a bad scene.
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 6:51 PM
Monback, Lawsuits are usually the last resort. They are time consuming, expensive, and in the end you are fortunate to recover your losses. The vast majority of cases do not result in "win the lottery" sorts of judgements. Of course these do not make the headlines, they're not news. Hot coffee on the lap from McDonald's is. As you know, yachts can be dangerous things, and accidents happen no matter how careful we are. I just envision a fellow washing down the boat, slipping and breaking something. A crew person "out of work" could well be without health insurance. Who pays? What if it's a really bad injury, what then? What if a crew person died? How is the owner's liability affected if the crew is no longer officially working for him even though they performed services (that do indeed have a monetary value) in exchange for another service, namely shelter (which also has a monetary value.) It might be smarter for the owner to pay his crew part time wages, and then they reimburse him by paying "rent." Unfortunately often issues like this are not addressed until it is too late, after something has happened when it is too late to put in place, or structure a set up so that it protects both the crew and the owner.
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 7:42 PM
Sounds to me that you are intent on squeezing money out of this owner who has honestly told you that he does not have money to pay you any longer, you no longer have a job.  You volunteer to stay behind,  Just like you volunteer to help me sail my J22 on weekends. I don't buy health insurance for you on my J22.  Perhaps to clarify the situation I would ask you to sign a release form.  Perhaps I hire you as a subcontractor for 10 cents per month.   But your line of thought says that you think the owner owes you something.
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 8:08 PM
Be thankful for room & board... Meals & roof over your head is worth $1000-1200/month. Work for the boat a couple of days a week.. & look for your next gig..
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 8:14 PM
Joined: 21/08/2008
Posts: 30

I don't think this needs to be about who can sue who, but the last post kind of touches on the main point. If you are staying aboard and not getting paid, are you an employee and do you have any rights? I have never had any dilusions that as crew I am anything more than a skilled servant, but where does the line get drawn between being a servant and being (for all intents and purposes) a slave. If you are not getting paid, and the owner gives you no rights other than food and shelter. I think you might be the latter. You know, maybe the crew ARE better off cutting their losses and walking away. I had hoped that by now someone on that boat would have made a post. I don't know what the right answer is, but I am glad to see some relatively intelligent dialogue about the dilemma.
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 8:38 PM
I hate to tell you this but I sail boats because I love to.  I would never be able to afford the 15 million dollar weapon that the owner has allowed me to sail.  I would sail his boat for free if he asked me.. I'm not a servant Tiffany, I'm the luckiest man on earth
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 8:54 PM
Good for you, anonymous. If sailing someone elses yacht is all you need in life, it would appear you are all sussed and sorted. No need to go where you want when you want, just do as the boss asks and as long as it is under sail, you are happy...good on you! Most of us do our jobs to earn a paycheck because we have goals and plans of our own.
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 9:34 PM
Even when I hire crew I look for people that want to do it so bad that they will sail for free.  To be surrounded by crew with this fabulous attitude is a treat. I say to you that if you like money and need a job then GO GET A JOB and stay the hell away from my program.  We pay top industry wages as a reward for crew enthusiasm.   Once this enthusiasm cools I will send these burnt out yachties your way and you can  go to the bar together and contemplate what you want in life
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 10:03 PM
What on earth are you talking about? You're not making any sense. We only hire people who will sail for free, but we pay top dollar. Make a decision. Do you care about your salary or not? You sound like that mouthy nut-case Blaise.
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 10:13 PM
I guess my point is missed here. I am not denigrating the owners offer of a place to stay onboard his yacht in exchange for some work. I am suggesting that this arrangement might expose him to a great deal of potential liability. Conversely the crew person might also be left without a safety net should an accident occur. I think it is wise to discuss these things in advance, before they happen; though hopefully nothing will. We all know, as careful and experienced as we may be: accidents can and will happen.
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 1:33 AM
What is IBNA?
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 1:59 AM
International -Boat- v.bad word used by southern plantation owners -Association The IBNA was established in the 70s (maybe earlier) and enjoyed popularity throughout the 80s until the name became nonPC. At one time there were tshirts sporting the IBNA logo, and end of season balls that were quite the to do.
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 7:08 AM
IBNA   " In us they trust "  Arrr matey... the good old days, back before MCA paper tickets, back when men were men, back when crew coiled sheets now they iron them........anybody out there old enough to remember the BN bus at Derektors and monkeys ?  BN mega parties with a half dozen chopped oil drum barbeque's and tables set up against the Travelift.    Imagine complaining about free room and board on a mothballed yacht....bunch of dam poof's. 
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 7:51 AM
With a hammer and a grass leaf in USSR style
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 7:57 AM
Forgot (how is that possible?), the motto "in us they trust" but as I recall the symbol was a mop and a leaf??? does that ring a bell? Remember, "we're not cowards, we work on Browards?"
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 8:08 AM
Image was a mop crossed with a winch handle superimposed on a globe
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 8:15 AM
I remember winch handle and mop....those were fun times.  Imagine a world in which crew ,to find work, had to stay in contact with the scene, without mobile phones, email.  No silly crew agents.....being part of a gang of BN's was the only way.
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 8:17 AM
Strange how memory can trick you.  Does anyone have a copy of that?
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 8:36 AM

J22 bloke - actually you do pay for health insurance for your volunteer crew.  Or at least you should do, otherwise your boat isn't insured and you're playing a game with another's life.  3rd party liability insurance covers accidents onboard too.


I had a really, I mean really bad accident 10 years ago and if the boat didn't have accident insurance I would be dead today.


PYA captainz  (small "c" on purpose)

Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 8:44 AM
Joined: 11/01/2009
Posts: 22

Ive got and old beat up INBA, in us they trust  tee, right now...cant stretch it over my bloated beer belly.... modified 1984 issue, same mop and winch handle but with the globe morphed into a huge steering wheel, with a topless stewardess holding on.  and Yah,     Derektors was the place.  Don't know the scene these days but Browards and the marinas were dead ends...full of domestic stuff, yank tanks, doing dinner cruises. The international fleet only visited Lauderdale for yard work at Derecktors.   Never have met a foreign owner who enjoyed the Lauderdale social scene, all full of used car lots and fast food.  A bit of an American ghetto. If you wanted to go trans Atlantic,  Derektors was the place...stay in the bus and swat mosquitos or sniff around Riverbend for empty boats....three cheers for the BN bus.
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 9:41 AM

Join us; our name is Legion, for we are many.

Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 10:39 AM
All my mates today were BNs in the 80s or early 90s, I joined.
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 11:30 AM
Think that the Globe backround in the IBNA tee was a taken off the transom logo  of the legendary  Kialoa.  Might have been K3.  Gotta Ask Leadbottom or Pork Chop, they were both crew on her....Dirtball might know, you out there  Dirtball ?
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:26 PM
Good Question.  Where are you Dirtball?  Dude you were the first person to congratulate me on getting a captains job and also the first person to answer me when I got my first drive.  Stealth '97
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:29 PM

It was K3




Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:35 PM

you walked up to me in the street and asked me if life was good with jade at your side. I remember that bit!

Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:41 PM
please, somebody find Dirtball!
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:42 PM
but don't hurt him!
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 2:09 PM
Last time I saw Dirtball he was on the other boat Exrta Beat.  He might have submerged or gone to ground,  ask Happy Dayz down in Costa Rica......ran into Basic Bill not long ago, he might know
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 5:25 PM
I'm afraid its going to be the norm; I was fortunate to get an interview, when asked what I expected in salary was told that in these times with so many applicants the owner was offering very much less. Time to look elsewhere.
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 5:27 PM

Without more knowledge of the owner, other crew and past experiences it s hard to say if this was a lousy deal or meant as a nice jesture, but perhaps poorly executed.

If the owner has always treated the well, with respect and professionally, then I believe this was a case of the owner not having enough funds (crew first, boat second) and just not handling the situation correctly. He/she could ahve easily said, "Please leave", but it seems there was an offer to have shelter. This sounds like a decent and honorable offer and much more than most layed-off workers in other professions would get.

However, if the crews experience has been that the owner has previously operated in a devious manner, then yes I think theywere shafted.

Only the crew can detemrine which this was.

On a point of perception - EVERY industry has good bosses and bad bosses. I believe that in the yachting world, there are far greater good ones than bad ones!

Just my two cents worth

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 5:56 PM

Reading some posts on this forum makes me angry.

Stand up for yourselfs.

Want to stop it from happening, 3 things to cover your ass in the first place...

1. Ensure you have a CREW AGREEMENT signed BEFORE starting work. (YES THIS IS A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT)

2. Join the UNION  (yes, the same maritime union for the merchant navy protects us to..... i'll refrase.... protects those of us who ask for money to work all day, at sea and away from familys)

3. Dont be scared to request legal advise and assistance from the union, they will provide it. I disagree with those who are too frightened to stand up for there basic right to work and be paid.


Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:40 PM
I love the IBNA... International Brotherhood of Nautical Associates! Yes, sir, those of us around since the days before licensing... what a long fun trip its been. Sometimes you get a raise and a leftover bottle of champagne, sometimes you lose your job but get a plane ride home or a place to stay. Geez, relax. This too shall pass, so in the meantime lick your wounds, count your blessings and seek opportunity. It's there if you know where to look. YACHTIES JOINING THE UNION IS BULL[edited by moderator]!!! This is the world's last great unregulated industry...PLEASE lets keep it that way!!! Unions can be helpful in some settings but in this one I think their influence would be counterproductive. Networking in person at parties is the way to get things done. Dont like the owner/captain/boat, etc? Leave and get on another or, god forbid, go to ground in a cubicle... augh! Not me. Good luck to all my IBNA brothers and sisters... remember, frugality is a virtue!
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:08 PM

When I was was an ok offer, and the owner treated us he asked us to help him with bringing the boat to its base but he cannot pay our salary anymore. He consider us "friends", he loves us so much..he never wanted this to hapend.

...I don't mind delivering the boat I enjoy it... He cannot keep it. He cannot pay for his crew...he has financial problems. Fine, but he doesn't get rid of his 5 Fearraris and porches, motorcycles, etc.

I don't understand that kind of frienship..Do you?

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:20 PM

Well said BN. But then again only a BN has the experience and knows how to set themselves up on the favored side of the course, only a BN is wise enough to understand that if the boats a pig....find a new owner.
   This talk about unions crack me up....imagine the rules, maximum rail time , only two inside outside takedowns per week, no  Jibe sets in the rain...... grow up gang....aspire to be a BN

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:24 PM

Dude you're speaking an old language!  No night peeling, no masthead drops at night!  Who knows about that these days?


But one point about unions, one of my deckies broke his back on another boat.  His life is ruined.  What does an ex-bowman do for a living.  The poor bugger lives in pain and no union to help him.  I pay his rent, another BN pays his medical bills, we all visit him on Friday night.  Yet we can't offer him the compensation that a union could.

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:53 PM

For those of us that have taken the time to go to college and get tickets - do some research into the Nautilus Union, membership provides comprehensive insurance cover for liability should you ever have to present in court after an (god forbid) accident or incident..... Protecting your C.o.C's and giving you upto $150K of income protection if your ticket is suspended etc  ..... for those "brought up before licencing", that means Certificate of Competency...

.... and to target the guy who thinks that this can be resolved my networking at parties?? yeah, champion mate... thats the way forward. ((?))

The yachting industry is far from unregulated, as most officers and captains on code vessels could tell you. Why should this change with Pay??

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:56 PM
Hi, wanted to let you know that this situation is real. I am just finishing the Caribbean season as a chef on a 50 meter motor yacht, all crew have been let go but were given the opportunity to stay on without pay until there was a charter and then would be paid for that time. TIME TO LEAVE!!!!!!!
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 11:16 PM
Owners spent 8 weeks on board just to tell us on the last day that we had to pack our bags due to them shutting the boat down plus minus the bonus for there extended stay,,, has made me realize that i reckon i will be going back to the Oil Rigs in freezing weather where crew are treated with the utmost respect and are valued
 Average 4 out of 5