Q&A with Deckhand Juan Pierre (JP) Mayer of M/Y Unicorn

14 February 2022 By Claire Griffiths

Claire Griffiths is Dockwalk’s contributing editor in the Mediterranean. She fled to the sunny south of France from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Claire has a background in journalism for national and regional UK press and a career in political and corporate PR prior to that. Claire’s hobbies include eating, sleeping and dancing at inopportune times. She tries to avoid sheer drops and Olympic bobsled runs. Email Claire at

Deckhand Juan Pierre (JP) Mayer
Credit: Claire Griffiths

Name: Juan Pierre (JP) Mayer
Position: Deckhand
Yacht: M/Y Unicorn
Length: 54M/177'2"
Builder: Baglietto
Years in current position: 5 months
Years in industry: 2
Previous vessels: M/Y Unplugged, M/Y FOS
Nationality: South Africa

My ultimate goal is to become a chase boat or tender captain. I’d be very happy to be a chief officer. I also like interacting on a more personal level with guests and you can do that on a tender vessel.

I’d probably be working in private security if I weren’t in [this] industry. That’s what I used to do and it’s completely different.

The thing that can sometimes be a bit difficult is the fact that you can’t always plan ahead and there is no structure to a day. We never really know what is going to happen or when it is going to happen. Our owner is local so we are always on standby; he can give us a call at any minute. You might be in the middle of a big or small job and you’ll have to drop it. Definitely one of the hardest things is completing the day’s objectives.

My advice to a newbie is always put your head down and do the work with no complaining. Complaints don’t get you very far in the industry. Work as quickly and efficiently as possible on tickets to move up into the next position. I’d advise to try and improve on your skills, however small they might be. Attention to detail is a small thing but has a big impact on the image of the boat.

If you want to be noticed and impress people, you need to always have a smile on your face, even if you are having a bad day. (In fact, especially if you are having a bad day.) We are all human and we all have bad days and that’s when it counts the most. You don’t want to feed your negative energy onto the guests. The same goes with the other crew, they will feel it but can help cheer you up.

Extra qualifications and skills are good to have if this is a long-term career path for you. You become safer on board, especially with the Yachtmasters becoming mandatory for deck crew — it means safer manning and knowing what to look out for.

The most important thing I have learned on board is respect for others, especially with a big crew (regardless of position or background). I can push myself further than I thought, mentally, physically, and of course emotionally. It’s not an easy industry for mental health sometimes.

The best part of my job is watersports with the kids. I love putting a smile on their faces, seeing them laugh, making jokes. The owner’s daughter is 13 and she plays a big part with the deck crew — she likes to help out and puts us in good spirits, she’s very special.

Best hack: vinegar and rubbing alcohol are your best friends. They remove most marks and stains; always have them [on] hand!

This article originally ran in the December 2021 issue of Dockwalk.


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