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Former Yacht Purser Creates Crew Recruitment and Wellbeing Agency FLOAT

20 April 2022By Laura Shaughnessy
A yacht at anchor off an island
iStock/rococofoto

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Laura Shaughnessy

Laura Shaughnessy has been the managing editor at Dockwalk since February 2018. Having grown up among the cornfields, she is ecstatic to be among the boats in the yachting capital of the world. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in journalism, 15 years of experience with newspapers, magazines, and the online world, Laura has joined a great crew. When not writing about superyacht crew, she’s hanging out with her husband and their German Shepherd. Email Laura at laura@dockwalk.com.

In February, former superyacht crewmember Katie-Lee Grant established her new bespoke crew recruitment and wellbeing agency, FLOAT. “After spending seven years in the industry and ending off my yachting career as purser, I personally have come to understand some of the struggles that a lot of crew face in the industry, and it was from these struggles that FLOAT was born,” says the founder and director, who has been working on the company since the end of 2021. It officially launched at the Superyacht Foodie Event in Cape Town in March 2022.

Grant knows how to be of help to crew and captains alike. She started her yachting career in 2014 and finished aboard a 91-meter in 2021 as a purser. “During my first season, I was dropped in the deep end, so to speak, starting off on an extremely busy 42-meter charter yacht. From there, I went onto both private and charter vessels which ranged between 82 meters and 101 meters.”

“FLOAT is different from other agencies. We understand that the stressors of a crew and yacht are multi-faceted so we are here to ensure that these facets are kept in check by paying attention to detail, specifically, by keeping crew emotionally and mentally strong in order for them to perform their duties at an optimal level of performance,” she says.

An Extensive Candidate Process

Their extensive interview and candidate research process is designed to guarantee a great candidate placement. FLOAT’s crew placement fees are inclusive of candidate profiling, personality analysis, and culture fit. A candidate can expect the process to go something like this:

  1. An initial interview phase with their recruitment consultant
  2. Once successfully completed, their in-house psychotherapist meets with and issues a personality test, which assesses locus of control analysis, culture fit, emotional regulation, and ability to cope on board.
  3. If the candidate is successfully placed, they’ll continue to support this candidate while on board

Should the candidate pass both stages of the interview process and meet the criteria, they’ll present the yacht with the candidate’s CV and credentials, along with a detailed report from their psychological counsellor on the potential candidate’s personality traits, coping mechanisms, and all-round mental acuity and emotional regulation traits. 

Katie-Lee Grant

And the psychotherapist will be available for any emotional or mental support the candidate may need while on board.

“This ensures that crew will remain mentally and emotionally stable whilst serving the yacht,” she says. 

Though the candidate will be the one footing the bill, there is the option for the yacht itself to utilize this additional bespoke service.

More Than Just a Sparkling CV

Grant adds that the personality test assists the candidate, captain/HOD, or owner of the yacht to determine if the candidate will cope long term with the multifaceted demands of being part of a crew. And once placed on board, this will assure “the yacht’s captain/HOD/yacht owner and the candidate of mental and emotional support, which will ultimately lead to emotional regulation and stability whilst they go about their duties, therefore ideally being able to commit to the yacht long term, resulting in the yacht’s crew retention to be increased,” Grant says.

“We understand the daunting task of obtaining reliable and valuable crewmembers. We also understand that recruiting successful crew candidates does not just come down to presenting the client with a sparkling CV." 

On the other end of things, FLOAT also offers a three-month candidate guarantee, wherein if the placed candidate leaves or is asked to leave before three months on board, the vessel is guaranteed a replacement candidate.

She also caters to crew by offering them the option to purchase wellbeing packages, which include various services, including an emergency WhatsApp helpline.

“FLOAT focuses on finding reliable, strong willed, motivated candidates who have a combination of experience, people-centered skills, and outgoing personalities to ensure that the placement will resonate with the crew and owner alike. We recruit and match crew experience with the yacht’s specific requirements worldwide,” Grant says.

“We understand the daunting task of obtaining reliable and valuable crewmembers. We also understand that recruiting successful crew candidates does not just come down to presenting the client with a sparkling CV. Yachts need crew with mental and emotional stamina too. We take on that burden from the yacht and find crewmembers who will not only be up to the required scope of work by means of their credentials but by means of their mental and emotional acuity too.”

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