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Is our captain taking advantage of us?
Crew Confessor
Posted: Friday, July 17, 2009 3:17 PM
Joined: 20/11/2008
Posts: 94

Posted: Monday, October 5, 2009 5:20 AM
Dear Crew Confessor, I am new to this industry so don't know as much about what is normal and expected as a more seasoned crew person might. My question is about how things should go "off charter" or when no guests/owners are onboard. My question is, how much is the crew expected to cater to the captain? In my case the Captain brings his dates for dinner on a regular basis and makes no bones about the fact that he expects a "charter quality" meal on these occasions which can be several times a week. The stewardess is expected to serve the food and behave in much the same manner that she would if we had guests on. And to take it one step further, he expects her to change his sheets the morning after... A bit much, isn't it? How far down the tracks is the hospitality train meant to go? Let me add that I expect to cook basic meals for the crew "off charter" but I think it's a bit much to require me to cook multi course meals for him and his girlfriend of the day. Maybe I'm off the mark, but it just doesn't seem right to me. What is normal? On the Verge of Getting Pissed Off
Posted: Monday, October 5, 2009 9:54 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

This scenario happens with many Super captains, they start off as regular hard working crew and over time morph into alcohol infused, privilege seeking, gargoyles. I see Super captains who take crew off the yacht and assign them to their country house to paint it. Your captain has been around to long...time for him to get a real job. One thing you might consider in your own behavior and daily routine is...Once the season is over, yachts are overstaffed with highly paid service crew. Its a dilemma. What do I as captain do with you ? How do you justify your wage ? I can tell you that in the past I have asked Chefs to tone down the galley, shopping, routine off season and shift into stewardess maintenance mode only to come up against a brick wall.
Posted: Monday, October 5, 2009 10:05 PM
Joined: 05/10/2009
Posts: 2

Don't get pissed off, but it is a bit much for the captain to use the yacht like own. You left out alot of info (background) about the captain, boat, and owners. Do the owners know about this? Some owners want the captain to keep the crew on their toes and or tell the captain to use the boat. Believe it or not some owners feel that they are paying alot of money for you and could have told the captain "sure go for it, I've gotta pay anyway" Is the boat a busy? if not look at it this way you can try out new dishes on this "dates" The bottom line is you answered the question your self- you are new to yachting, it is more important to get this first boat under your belt and get a good reference, if you rock the boat "so to speak" you will have a black mark that will take time to remove and make it harder to get the next job. Now, as a captain with over 20 years on large yachts I can tell you that I would never use the yacht in that manner. I feel that is wrong and counter productive to require the crew to wait on me, let alone have the owner pay for my entertainment costs (food & drink) I close the main salon as soon as the guests leave. But that's me and every captain is different, but I hope that makes you feel a little better, if not think of this- anyone who needs to impress a date with the yacht and "crew" standing by has a lot more problems than you do, and a lot more first dates in the future. The sheet thing is by the way is over the top, but he isn't the first.
Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 11:24 PM
OMG! This happens all the time! I worked for one captain who insisted that the stews iron his sheets and his ---- boxer shorts! What an arse he was. Take heart they're not all like that. Jobs are scarce these days and since you're just starting out, stick it out. When you do move on it'll be an issue to bring up during the interview.
Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 12:39 AM
Joined: 17/06/2008
Posts: 70

Yes you are being taken for a ride
Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 3:54 PM

Gosh, that is awful!  Don't worry - I have never encountered any captain as horrid as that...  A good crew is supposed to work as a team, not have someone making more work!  I would get off that boat asap, as if you don't get a good reference from him I am sure if you explain what was happening in your interviews, potential employers will be sure to understand!

Make sure you warn other people in the industry so that they know to NEVER go for a position on that boat!

What a sleeze - wonder if the owners know...

Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 4:29 PM
You have all the rights to get pissed off. This is wrong and stewardesses shouldnt promote this behavior. We justify our wages during the busy season, dont you? Have you ever calculated the eur per hour that you get paid? This is modern slavery and machism. I wonder If he justifies his wage..and how.
Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 4:41 PM
Joined: 25/07/2008
Posts: 31

As a mega-yacht captain, when the owners or guests are off the boat, I like to give the chef a break and I will cook for the crew. We are a working TEAM with respect being a two way street. We work hard and are mindful of each others strengths and limitations. This is why I insist that everyone being cross trained. It's breaks up the monotony of the job and enables my crew to move up the captain's ladder.

However, if your primadonna, super-captain starts to get a little demanding and such, a swift kick in the cajones will pretty much bring him back to reality. Don't put up with his/her Bravo Sierra!!

Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 6:06 PM
Joined: 10/05/2008
Posts: 21

This captain has no regard for his crew and is setting a very poor example. Each owner needs to decide how the crew is allowed to use the yacht when they are away, but this is pure abuse of privilege. The crew deserves a meal while aboard, and if they work well as a team I don't feel that using crew areas to entertain friends and have a meal together is unreasonable. The captain is part of the crew, and while he is in charge should respect the rest of the crew as equals, as should the owners. But to expect the crew to wait on you, please. I have been fortunate enough to have crew that has offered to cook a meal for my girlfriend but never treat them as my personal servants. Having the stews do laundry is one thing, it can get to be too much if everyone is jockeying for the machines, but the close should be folded for each crew member to put away on their own. I would suggest sitting the captain down or writting an email to set the boundaries that you want, the longer things go on that you dislike the more likley resentments will build up and things may not end well. Good luck and welcome to the industry, I hope most of your experiences are pleasurable.

Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 6:11 PM
I would warn, if these are his ethics, how does he care for the finances.
Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 8:27 PM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 1

I have only been in the industry 3 years, and actually do technical contract work (normally a couple of weeks at a time, thus see a lot of boats, well over 20 so far).  Have come across only 1 captain so far that has this attitude.  I personally would not join a boat if I picked up this trait in a captain, but then conversely in this climate I wouldn't leave a boat due to his "antics".  Stick it out for at least a year, get a good ref if you can, and look for another job a.s.a.p.
That's what I'd do anyway...

Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 9:27 PM
Well well !!! That is a big topic. As a captain, i do respect my crew and give them a lot of privilieges, as much as i ask them a lot. We do not use the guest area onless special occasion such as crew birthday or exeptionaly movie in cinema room. However, it takes too much time to the stew to keep the interior in perfect conditions to come along and [profanity removed by moderator] it up.
Now on an other hand, i pay the chef a lot of money all year around for only 4 months of hard work. So when my parents or my wife comes along, i ask him to cook something for us, and he does it. Of course it is not every week but more like twice a year. I feel sorry for you. Not everyone is like this. But never forget, the captain has got the right to do what he wants. He's got the control of all and you go against it, you create a revolution onboard. You get sacked.

In this industry, you need to keep your mouth shot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 9:49 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 342

[Comment removed by moderator]

Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009 12:37 AM
Joined: 28/02/2009
Posts: 2

BE WARNED !!! I suggest you all be very careful about the topics that you respond too, Like ‘is the captain taking advantage of us’. I don’t know the history of where this came from, but it seems like it is designed to stir the pot. Crewing on yachts is a very special job/lifestyle. It is not a normal job. It is not a Democracy. It is a small close-knit world that must have some discipline to keep it on line. It doesn't need to be dragged into the real world and be diluted by do-gooders. As soon as people talk about it on blogs and things, you are starting down the slippery slope to inciting a riot. We need people like Dockwalk to help the industry, not segregate it. Young crew can easily get wound up in this sort of talk and be egged on by other posts. This will only harm the yachting scene, and kill any youngsters job propects. Be warned that all jobs are different, good and bad, fair and unfair. If you like it, stay in it, if you don’t leave. It is that simple. I am not going even going to comment on the topic. Just work hard and stay true and you will have a rewarding career in yachting. Rocka
Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009 1:32 AM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 342

"[Comment removed by moderator]" Let me get this straight, referencing clicking heels, outstretched arms and Prussian parentage is equivalent to profanity and must be deleted? Methinks that is a bit of a stretch dear moderator. Perhaps I should have just reminded the young zealot that a yacht captain is hardly a master under God sailing into harm's way ....
Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009 2:19 AM
Hmmm, This is a problem indeed! As an owner, I demand the highest degree of responsibility from all of my crew, especially command personnel. I recognize that the crew works very hard whether or not charter guests or me are aboard and consequently, I do, on occasion, allow certain privilages such as bringing personal friends and family aboard under special circumstances. However, there are documented rules (standing orders) that must be followed that includes; 1. All non-charter guests aboard the vessel must be prior approved by the Captain and logged including the purpose of the visit. 2. No overnight visits by any non-charter guest without prior clearance by the Captain and approval, in writing, by me (usually an email document for the record). Again, all visitors are logged on and off the vessel. Safety and security of the boat, the crew and guests are of prime import to me. In the case of the proverbial 'one night stand' one doesn't really know whom they are bringing on board and this goes against my sense of security. Having said this, I am quite liberal when crew members wish to bring a visitor aboard. But no other crew are expected to cater to them in any way. I know the crew barter among themselves for favors such as meals prepared by the chef or stews serving meals etc. This is OK with me provided that no one is taken advantage of, or feels so, and there is clear understanding that the gesture is a favor and not a condition of employment. I should mention that conditions of employment including expectations of every crew position are clearly explained in the ships personnel manual and standing orders. Infraction of the personnel manual or standing orders are grounds for immediate contract termination. I could go on and on with this thread but let me pose this question. Would you bring a one-night-stand home and expect your family to cater to her/him and change your bed sheets in the morning? Frankly, I would never degrade my family or employees in that manner or any manner knowingly.
Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009 5:48 AM
Oh Rocka, You don't engage in such behavior (your reputation is rock solid), but we all know that lots of captains have done, and do! And it's not right. Exposing this stuff might be painful to the industry in the short term but in the long term it can only be a benefit. Cheers!
Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009 4:24 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 342

“BE WARNED !!! I suggest you all be very careful … it seems like it is designed to stir the pot.”                     


Well yeah, that is why the comments were posted. When the soup is burning on the bottom it needs to be stirred.     



“It doesn't need to be dragged into the real world and be diluted by do-gooders.”                                                   



Yachting might be theater but the actors are real people who deserve to perform on a stage where professionalism is spotlighted. Unfortunately a few of the “leading men” are bad actors who believe they have powers far beyond their capacity or position.                                                                                                                           



What this industry needs is a bright light shown on the bad actors and their behavior. Ridiculous acts deserve ridicule, bad actors beg for bad reviews and with so many understudies waiting in the wings there is no need to cater to a self appointed superstar. Unfortunately in this zero-to-hero culture there are precious few understudies who have had the opportunity to observe real leadership or management in action.                                                  



Holding the ridiculous up to ridicule is not being a “do-gooder” any more than turning a blind eye to incompetence, mismanagement, and poor leadership promotes professional development of junior crew. To all but the few bad actors who think they are living and working on planet of their own making, the “real world’ is where the owners and the rest of the crew live and  work. 




“As soon as people talk about it on blogs and things, you are starting down the slippery slope to inciting a riot.”                                                                                                                                                                      



We need people like Dockwalk to help the industry, not segregate it.”



Dockwalk is a magazine, not a person. The publisher of Dockwalk provides a forum for public discussion of issues its readers find interesting or important. You might call this incitement but I call it discourse and find it a healthy outlet for people who are otherwise afraid to speak out because of attitudes held by amateurs who are literally and figuratively out of their depth and who fear exposure.



There is no other sector of the marine industry where incompetence and mismanagement are so entrenched.  Fortunately the number of very bad actors is small but the damage they inflict on owners, crew, and the image of the industry affects us all. Hiding these people behind a curtain of silence does not help the industry, it corrodes its structure.

Mr. Kurtz
Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009 10:02 PM
Joined: 25/02/2009
Posts: 18

Chief, It is not often that I agree with your point of view even though I read your posts with interest and respect. However on this and the EEOC thread I think you are spot on the money. This industry needs accountability and like you I disagree with those idiots who think crew should shut up and tow the line because they are "captains" and thus not disturb the status quo. That said I really do want to know what tribe you belong to.
Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009 10:23 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 342

Many thanks Mr. Kurz.                                                                                                                


Me chief of big enjuns that hiss, whine, and thump. Make big heat and smoke across wide waters.                                                                                                                                  


Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 10:17 AM
Dear Dockwalk Thanks for some great ideas about how to make the most of my lazy good-for-nothing crew. I'm hoping that with freshly ironed boxer shorts and a first-class meal I'll enjoy a better success ratio with my sleazy dates. Of course it makes sense to change the sheets after the filthy creatures have gone. Why didn't I think of that? Later, I will sit in the garden & rest up after the previous night's adventures, sip a campari, and watch the slaves paint my large country house. Now that's yachting! Keep up the great advice!
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 10:55 AM
As a victim of captain 'maintenance' my job has now extended to being his personal alarm clock as if I don't wake him I fear he will not get out of bed. He needs constant attention and I am concerned to what level he will take my duties next.
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 11:19 AM
yes but surely a wake-up call is perfectly harmless... or are you suggesting that he might want a tea and 'a bit of croissant' with it?
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 12:38 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1061

To the OP, yeah, your captain is a bit over the top. Your only good options are to deal with it, have it out face to face with the captain or find another position. I have a buddy who was the chef for an infamous rapper who has been banned from more than a couple of yachts. He had it considerably worse with calls all day (and night) every day.... so.... figure out what you want to put up with for what pay. I have the opposite problem, I can't get our chef to cut back on his cooking and I'm ending up eating too much. This business isn't one that supports whining out of the chain of command very well. Word get around that "You cause problems" and in a while it gets tougher to find positions. My advice is to take your pick from the above 3 options. Otherwise, you could always poison him....
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 2:58 PM
Honey, You admit to being new to the industry, so we'll forgive you for not recognizing the very important work your captain is actually carrying out. This is in fact a very important and vital task that many captains are forced to undertake..... He's interviewing stewardesses silly.
Crew Confessor
Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 7:24 PM
Joined: 20/11/2008
Posts: 94

Dear On the Verge of...,

It  appears your captain appears to have a rampant case of  Captain Owner Wannabe Syndrome.   Sadly, this is a chronic condition from which there is no cure, though certain treatments do appear to alleviate the symptoms, they often cease to work after a length of time has passed.

Your captain is displaying a number of red flags that indicate he is afflicted with COWS such as demanding to be fed as if he is in a Michelin three star restaurant --- at all times.   Expecting to be waited on hand and foot by his co-workers, and not even deigning to change his own sex soiled sheets pushes him right over the top.
This fellow is abusive and I doubt any of the traditional treatments that have been used to effect in the past will have any benefits for this bloke, he's just too far gone.

As with many conditions such as COWS, prevention is the best cure.  It is very possible that earlier in his career he worked under a captain that also was afflicted with COWS and he has modeled his current behavior on his erstwhile mentor.  Captains, I urge you to curb your enthusiasm for the high life on board the yacht you work on!  If you feel the need for a gourmet meal to impress your latest Sheila and don't wish to change your bed after you've plied her with alcohol and the promise of a job take her out to a nice restaurant and spring for a hotel room!

There is an old saying that goes something like this, "don't s*** where you eat!"  It's very unprofessional to behave in this manner and sooner or later it will get back to the owner and he/she might decide that  they do not wish to be an indirect sponsor of his bedpost notchings!

One treatment for COWS that has shown some promise in recent field trials is what I like to call " the publicity cure."  Treatment consists of much photo snapping and video taking of the captain in question, and his latest paramour, whilst they enjoy the owner's expensive provisions and wines!  This can be a very effective deterrent, if the captain has a clue, he might figure out that such images may not go down well with the owner.  You might even take it a step further and film the girl of the day as she departs the yacht in the morning!

A busy yacht, whether for charter or private, places extraordinary demands on the crew.  It is essential that the crew function as a team.  Remember, in the end we are all servants to some degree, captains too, who work for the owners of these gin palaces.  

I Remain,

Your Crew Confessor

Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11:13 PM
This comment was removed by the moderators because it breaks our forum guidelines

Posted: Monday, August 2, 2010 2:23 PM
Read my post I sent in a few weeks ago called, "the captain is taking advantage" Do not hesitate and forget what people tell you about never getting another job in the industry, TELL THE OWNER IMMEDIATELY !!!! TELL THE OWNER, TELL THE OWNER, TELL THE OWNER EVERYTHING HE DOES, AND HE WILL BE USING THE BOATS MONEY ALSO TO ENTERTAIN HIS LADIES, TELL THE OWNER, DO NOT HESITATE !!! I did and I'm a free man today and best friends with the owner and a great new professional Captain.
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