5 Essential Ingredients of Ideal Crew

9 June 2008 By Matt Gomez

Here's a topic of fun debate the next time you have some downtime with your mates:

Given the tools and opportunity, how would you construct the ideal crewmember?

Think about this for a moment while you carefully scan (no touching) each member of your crew. What traits do they have, what innate talents do they possess, that make them so special?

Of course you can really make this interesting and think about the skills you wish they would possess in order to fashion the ideal crew.

A good crewmember needs a complex blend of character and physical traits coupled with a demanding skill set. Do you have what it takes to be called ideal crew? If so, do your peers?

Crew are a heterogeneous group with different outlooks and backgrounds. Yachting is the uniting element that binds them all together.

Leadership becomes a key ingredient in the success of all crew. Without leadership, crewmembers may underperform and waste their precious potential.

The job of a captain is to unite the various and equally valuable outlooks into a harmonious team. This means fundamentals are important in a crewmember: A positive outlook, a team spirit and total commitment to the goal of the operation, which should be the safe enjoyment of the yachting experience for guests and owner.

Never forget: Yacht owners and guests are the people who float our boats.

The fundamentals of good crewmanship are in the very make-up of an individual’s personality: They are what make you “you,” and that kind of identity formation is difficult to replicate with authenticity.

Imagine if a large business was attempting to put a team of individuals together. If it requires them to share a cramped space and endure the hard work associated with being a yacht crewmember, the business would likely use psychometric testing to establish character fundamentals and ensure compatibility among crew.

Most luxury yacht owners do not employ such testing measures. Instead they rely on the judgment of the captain. Again, the captain's leadership is critical to the success of the entire crew.

So, what else will you need in order to assemble the essential ingredients of the ideal crew?

Start with a heart: Not because you are looking for love, but rather because you need a pulse and a passion for professional excellence at sea. There’s a lot to do as a crewmember and you’ll need a healthy heart to pump all the life you can into your work.

Physical fitness: Yacht and crew life can be strenuous. Fitness promotes energy. Energy is the life force that makes the service environment one of ‘can do’ rather than ‘can do tomorrow… maybe.’ If you are not physically fit, you are more likely to grow tired, which does a disservice to your charter guests and fellow crew.

Sense of humor: If you are not ready to laugh about something you may be closer to crying about it. Customer service in any industry is ripe with pitfalls. The trick is to get up laughing when you fall, and learn not to repeat the same mistakes. Doing so with a smile helps others forgive when little mishaps become seemingly large problems.

And don't forget patience. You should always keep that handy and in large supply.

Remember: Yachting should be fun! It is unashamedly a lifestyle career and if you don’t enjoy it you may be in the wrong business.

Good yacht crew should be recognized as the X factor in an owner or guest’s enjoyment of his/her yachting leisure time. Make sure you have the essential ingredients to develop into gran cru crew.

A good crewmember should be rewarded with good leadership. After all, a yacht crew is a team and should be equal to more than simply the sum of its parts.

How do you and your crewmates measure up? Let us know. Leave a comment below and vote in our poll.