Captains Survey: Crew Only Care About Money

27 October 2008 By Matt Gomez

New crew recruits want to make fast money and they aren’t concerned about achieving excellence in the yachting industry, according to a 2008 survey of superyacht captains.

The survey of more than 35 captains on new crew was conducted this summer by the Superyacht Skills Foundation, a not-for-profit organization supported by Boat International Media, Burgess, Camper & Nicholsons and other leading industry companies to produce quality junior crew to staff superyachts.

The survey results revealed a surprisingly high level of frustration among captains with regard to the readiness of crew to perform professionally from day one.

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Captains are “frustrated” by what they view as crew who are “only interested in money.”

Though the captains provided the information anonymously, some sentiments were shared by more than one survey respondent.

“I believe that one of the obstacles to inexperienced crew is that they often want to earn high salaries from day one,” wrote one captain. “I do not believe that the recruitment industry is correctly managing the expectations of junior crew.”

Outspoken crew, speaking to with the promise of anonymity, were quick to respond.

“Of course we are in it for the money, but that’s not all,” said one deckhand. “I mean, do any of those captains work for free? Money is just a part of this profession, but it is a big part.”

An engineer who attended A Crewed Affair 2008 put the debate in perspective.

“Take away a captain’s salary and see how dedicated he’ll be to his job,” said the engineer. “I hate when people say ‘they're only in it for the money.’ I’m in it for the girls, too, but that’s beside the point. I still have to get paid.”

More than 50 percent of captains surveyed feel new crew should be required to have more than the basic STCW 95 training before being hired to join a superyacht.

“It’s certainly vital for deck crew to have some form of boat driving license,” wrote one captain. Others would like to see more basic seamanship skills and interior crew with a “service ethos.”

“The quality, attitude and commitment of new crew is a concern for captains, with salary levels standing out in particular,” the survey says.

But all is not dismal for new crew and others aspiring to careers in the yachting industry – 78 percent of the surveyed captains currently employ crew new to yachting and more than 95 percent of captains said they would employ new crew in the future if they’ve been “carefully assessed and screened” by a reputable authority, such as the Superyacht Skills Foundation.

The SSF has also incorporated some of the results of the captains’ survey when formulating training programs for the recently completed “Ultimate Crew” internship program. The foundation has designed a three-week course that includes STCW, basic seamanship, Powerboat II for deckhands and food hygiene, Silver Service and housekeeping for interior staff.