When someone buys a yacht, they buy much more than a boat. They buy a dream — all the fun, relaxation, glamour, excitement and adventure they have imagined.
Yacht owners expect the best, and professional crew want to deliver it. But to be successful, crew need to know the owner’s standards and expectations. Clarity and communication are the keys to making it work the way they want it.
The No. 1 complaint owners about their yachting experience is related to crew. The worst-case scenario is that they sell their boat and get out of yachting. Good crew don’t want that to happen. So here are the top things that good crew want yacht owners to know so they can enjoy their yachts a long time.
Owners’ needs vary depending on the size of the yacht, the travel itinerary, the number of guests on board and the number of crew employed. A system should be set up that provides all the information and tools crew need to provide a consistent level of service.
A captain is hired to manage and run a boat, not to babysit the crew. As a close-knit group, crew need structure. If owners choose to hire freelance crew every time they use the boat, it puts a lot of pressure on the captain, and it’s hard to expect loyalty and consistency.
But if a system is set up well, at least crew will know exactly what is expected in terms of service. If owners want confident, capable crew who take the initiative to consistently provide top-of- the-line guest service, they should expect to offer a professional wage and benefits.
Living and working all together in such a small space makes it easy for boundary lines to become blurred. Many captains appreciate a more structured hierarchy that lets relationships and trust build over time. If crew overstep their boundaries, they damage the captain’s authority.
Owners should help keep things straight by letting crew know what they expect.
Having issues with crew are part of the package when someone buys a yacht. But they are manageable with a clear set of expectations and open communication. What sets the good owners apart is how they and their captain address and resolve issues from the start.
Alene Keenan is lead instructor of yacht interior courses at Maritime Professional Training in Ft. Lauderdale. She shares her experience from more than 20 years as a stew in her book, “The Yacht Guru’s Bible: The Service Manual for Every Yacht”, available at www.yachtstewsolutions.com. Comments are welcome below.