What Can AI Chatbots Do for Yacht Crew?

1 May 2024 By Tripp McCrory
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In the yachting industry, where tradition sails alongside cutting-edge technology, a quiet revolution is underway, powered by the currents of artificial intelligence. Yachting is charting a course through the digital age with large language models on the crew list.

It has been over a year since OpenAI released ChatGPT, which brought AI capabilities to the masses. Much like the internet, radar or the chart plotter, this new technology offers immense potential to enhance service quality, operational efficiency and the guest experience. So what can AI chatbots do for yachting? They won’t be scrubbing decks or servicing blackwater systems, but there is potential for AI to be transformational.

In the bridge, captains are leveraging ChatGPT to streamline a range of administrative tasks, from composing emails and formulating policies and procedures to conducting risk assessments and drafting Customs and Border Protection arrival letters. It can also aid in compiling guest welcome books and brainstorming charter itineraries. While the output from ChatGPT often benefits from human refinement, it undeniably offers a foundation for tackling these duties and speeds up the process.

A bosun aboard a 160ft motor yacht found ChatGPT helpful in preparing for his Officer of the Watch oral exam. By uploading the exam syllabus, he generated comprehensive flashcards for effective study, illustrating AI’s potential as a personalized educational tool.

Within the interior, chief stews are tapping into AI chatbots for a creative edge. These digital assistants are being used to devise crew profiles, create cocktails and pair wine. In one instance, a stew employed ChatGPT to create a pirate-themed treasure hunt for young charter guests, showcasing AI’s ability to enhance guest experiences.


In the galley, chefs such as Danny Davies have used AI to develop personalized menus by uploading guests’ preferences. While needing some human refinement, AI’s suggestions provide a framework that streamlines the menu-planning process, integrating dietary requirements and personal tastes into a culinary journey.

In the engine room, chief engineer Yarik Sychov says, “I use it for paper tasks like drafting a quick email, translation of any foreign manual, or organizing handover notes that go to a colleague engineer with a ton of details. Also, for calculating complex formulas, for educational purposes if I stumble into a complex problem, for troubleshooting software-related issues in ever-increasing amounts of computerized hardware on board that require attention, and for learning the programming language if needed.”

One stew used ChatGPT to create a pirate-themed treasure hunt for young charter guests, showcasing AI’s ability to enhance guest experiences.

Yarik saw the need for a bespoke AI solution tailored to the industry’s needs and is currently developing a software called Marine Assistance Intelligence Technology — a custom chatbot trained on each yacht’s systems and data. This could include “technical information about the vessel and equipment, access to organizing inventories, access to a troubleshooting database, manuals, all the service history notes, and more.” All with citations of the documentation and accessible via a text or voice prompt.

Similarly, Alec Lister, captain on a Mediterranean-based motor yacht, is developing a custom GPT called AI Yacht Agent, trained on all things yachting. “You will be able to ask questions related specifically to the size and tonnage of your yacht, crew size, cruising areas, etc,” he says. “You will also have access to asking questions about the latest MSN notices, jet ski and water sports regulations and much more.” These industry-specific tools represent a significant leap in how crews access and use information, simplifying logistics and operational decision-making.

Despite the adoption of AI over the past year, the essence of yachting remains steadfastly human. The industry’s core, defined by the meticulous attention to service and the expertise of crew, remains untouched by digitalization. Instead, AI should be a tool that amplifies human skills. The integration of AI is not about replacing the human touch but enriching it, ensuring the blend of luxury and hyper-personalization that defines yachting continues to thrive.

This article was originally published in the April 2024 issue of Dockwalk.


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