What Would YOU Do?

27 October 2008 By Janine Ketterer

If you give crew an inch, will they take a mile? Owners can’t possibly know the answer to that question if they never ask.

When was the last time your owner asked you what you wanted? In all fairness, it’s not what crew want that really matters. Crew are on board to cater to the owner and guests – but they do say a happy worker is a hard worker.

So, if you had the chance, what would you change if you were in charge?

We spoke with several crewmembers who gave us ideas about what they would do differently on board and all the answers centered on one common theme: what they would do differently for their crew.

“If I was the owner, I would allow the whole staff a day to just hang out together. I would get them massages,” suggests Stew Martina. “But I would also be sure that my crew was fed healthy food.”

If in the position of ownership, others said they would give their crew a chance to see if the water really is bluer on the other side, let them understand things from the owner’s perspective.

“[If I was the owner] I would allow crew to live like guests for a week,” says Audrey, a dayworker on M/Y Ohana. Okay, like this is ever going to happen, but one can dream, right?

And at least it would provide crew some much-deserved relaxation.

In a position of ownership, others realized they would have a chance to really overhaul the whole crew/owner relationship.

Stew Sharon sums it up. “I think there are some thing that should be standard when working on yachts, such as a month paid vacation and one roundtrip airfare to your home country after being on board for a year. I also think crew deserve full medical and dental insurance. Food and toiletries are a must, as well as a crew car.”

There are also other considerations to make when you’re an owner, however; Sharon says that when designing or building a new boat as an owner, crew space would be a top concern. “They need larger crew bedrooms and a larger crew mess. I would also provide more storage space and good, comfortable mattresses, pillows and bed linens for crew are extremely important, as well as larger lockers and storage space for the exterior crew.”

But communication between owners and crew is possibly the most important point, Sharon says. “Owners need to give notice about when they are coming so that crew can provision and have the time to get ready to give the best possible service.”

At the end of the day, it’s important for the owner to understand that without crew, they don’t have a working yacht.

Bosun Leo said it best: “If I were the owner, I would find out what my crew wanted, because at the end of the day, a happy crew means a happy boat.”

For more on being your own owner, even for just one day, check out the cover story in the November issue of Dockwalk magazine, “Ditch the Boss and Buy the Boat.”