How Couples Make It Work On and Off Boats

24 February 2011 By Louisa Cowan

By land or by sea, there arebound to be ups and downs in any relationship – it’s not just restricted tothose slightly complex yachting partnerships.

You would be very lucky tobe a couple in the yachting industry that has a simple ride. Afterall, working in the yachting industry means living a unique lifestyle inwhich everything varies from the norm…including relationships. Whether you andyour love are both aboard the same yacht, both working in the industry onseparate boats or your better half is shore-based, each relationship comes with its own challenges. The good news is that you can make it work. What's more, oftenthere are considerable advantages to this type of life – and love – style!

“Don’t exclude yourselvesfrom the rest of the crew,” says First Mate Jase, who lives and works with hisstewardess girlfriend. “We have been together for over five years now andworking together for three years. It’s so tempting to be in your own little‘couple’s bubble’ when you’re on a boat together, but it’s so much healthier tofully mix with the rest of the crew. We all hang out as a crew a lot of thetime but we [my girlfriend and I] do go off for date nights when it’s just thetwo of us.”

It isn’t just about makingsure you are a fully integrated crewmember. Try to give each other some space,have your own friends and make sure you respect one another professionally.

Another top tip: Don’t airyour dirty laundry in the crew mess, nobody wants to hear it. And remember,during work hours you are colleagues first and foremost. The relationship bithas to wait until later. If you are working together, boundaries must be inplace. Clear distinctions between work and downtime are extremely important.

Making a relationship workwhen you and your beloved work on different yachts can be a real challenge.With separate cruising schedules, scheduling time to see one another can be trying.However, if you both understand the industry, and as long as you are preparedto be impulsive, you can find ways to manage some awesome get-togethers.

“My boyfriend and I havespent the last couple of years meeting whenever and wherever we can,” says StewardessKay. “Sometimes we find out at the last minute that we have coinciding weekends offand we’ll just jump on a plane, train or into a car to see each other. Our boatshave ended up in the same place several times, which is really fun."

“I do misshim,” mentions Kay. “One day, I hope we’ll work together, but at the moment thisis exciting and fun and we are both pretty happy!”

There are some terribleskeptics in the industry about yachties having successful relationships ifone half of the couple is shore-based but, believe me, with a little planningand flexibility it can work wonderfully.

“We are together a lot ofthe time,” says shore-based wife Bethany. “I am the first to admit that thismeans I have to move around fairly frequently, but I came into this with myeyes wide open and I love being a part of the yachting community.”

We all know that the crewdon’t have much, if any, power to change a boat’s schedule, so the emphasis isdefinitely on the shore-based partner to be as flexible as possible. Acceptthis, and the fact that most of your holidays will be in the Mediterranean orthe Caribbean (such a hardship), and you have a great chance at having your veryown Happily Ever After as do all you loved-up yachties!