For the Longest Time

21 July 2011 By Louisa Cowan

If you’re forging a long-term career in yachting, finding the boat that makes you want to stay is at the back of almost every yachties mind. Imagine, if you will, no more running around talking to crew agents, no getting to know a new boat every season and enjoying the luxury of building relationships with your owners and regular charter guests. Longevity can take much of the stress away from the job. The security and stability that accompany longevity have a great impact on your happiness in the workplace. At least, that’s what these crewmembers think and they are willing to share their top tips on finding that perfect match.

Capt. Phil has recently left a boat on which he’s been working for the past eight years. Sadly, the owner decided his yachting days were numbered and sold up. “It was an incredible period of my life,” recounts Phil. “I joined as Bosun and left as Captain! When people ask me about the secret of longevity I tell them ‘People.’ It ‘s all about the people — the owner, the management company and the other crew. It isn’t about the prestige of the boat or size of the pay packet or much else for that matter. If you are working with and for the right people, then why would you move on?”

Phil’s top tip: “Ask around when going for an interview — what’s the boats reputation? What is the word on the street about the captain, the owner and crew turnover? You have to ultimately make your own decisions, but doing a bit of background digging can help give you a broader picture.”

Chief Stewardess Lyn advises, “Find your best fit!” She recommends looking carefully at the boat’s schedule and being honest with yourself about what you are looking for.

“I’ve done everything; the mega busy charter yacht and the sitting in one place all year round with the odd day trip to the Bahamas boat but neither were right for me,” Lyn says. “I need variety, busy seasons, but the opportunity for some down time and recovery time. I’ve been on my current boat for five years now and the schedule fits perfectly with my life. I get to travel, but I have enough freedom to have a life outside of yachting. We are the perfect fit and I have no plans to go anywhere!”

Mate Jason of S/Y Perfect Dream has been working on board for the last six years. He suggests: at the end of the day, much of it is down to good fortune; so don’t turn your back on that when it comes your way. “The grass is always greener”, he says. “Sometimes people are so busy looking at everyone else’s situations that they forget to look at their own. You always think others are getting the better deal, but sometimes you need to sit back, look at the positives and simply stick it out. Longevity is nearly always rewarded but often you have to stay put before you realize this!”

Surprisingly, the highest salary or best holiday package don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with crew longevity. Working with and for good people, flexibility and the opportunity to progress are all vital elements that make crew want to stay put. Think about this when making your next application, the best boats sometimes aren’t the most obvious. As the saying goes, “don’t judge a yacht by it’s hull,” or something like that.