Crew comment on Triton Survey on happiness

Aug 25, 2015 by Lucy Chabot Reed

Click here to read the September Triton Survey on happiness.

Some more thoughts from yacht captains and crew about how happy they are with their compensation and workload.

  • Happy where I am. Everybody always wants more but they should look at what they have and what is out there.
  • Compensation should reflect the value that an owner places on what their captain provides them.
  • I’m not on rotation and would prefer more time away from the vessel.
  • Having been employed in the U.S. by an American boss, I have enjoyed the benefits of the fair American system; I really felt appreciated whilst working in the U.S. After returning to work in the Med, I found that the offers were and are more about fiscal concern than that of caring for the workforce.
  • Very content, love my job.
  • I don’t like that smaller boats pay less. If, as a captain, you endanger the life of the owner and his family because you have less training and experience, surely the owner is better off paying more for a more experienced and qualified captain, regardless of the size of his boat.
  • I have answered based on my previous owner of seven years. Looking for a new position, the pay and the benefits are just not there. Salaries seem to have gone down in the past seven years. I would guess that is due to management companies taking over hiring, and they hire less-experienced captains who, in turn, work for less money and benefits.
  • Very content. My boss takes very good care of me and my family, pays for food, air fares and clothing, as well as a nice bonus every December.
  • The money is OK, not outrageous, considering the responsibility and the amount of hours worked. We all want more in any line of work, that’s human nature.
  • As a CEO of a corporation (50m charter yacht) with a $2 million annual budget, yes, we need higher salaries and more time off. I’m starting to interview for rotational captain jobs as the yacht I captain is now going through a sale. This will be my first ever venture out for rotational job after 32 years in the industry.
  • Working directly for an experienced owner is a benefit unto itself.
  • My boss knows and mentions that I do more than anyone in this position prior. He also mentions that he prefers to be in the mid-range of salary level for the size of vessel. My contentment is based on two things. First, the schedule keeps us in our home port six to seven months per year, and second, it seems difficult to locate a position on this size of vessel or larger to improve my compensation.
  • Yachting has changed considerably over the past five-plus years. The number of non-yachties coming to Ft. Lauderdale just to get out of their country has really put a damper on daywork wages and wages all around. These kids don’t care and just want travel money to stay in the U.S. This used to be an industry of pride and caring; now it is just a cutthroat.

One engineer’s opinion:

I‘m on rotation so I have a good workload: Full-on when onboard and then time to relax when off. The engineer is worth a lot more than the troubleshooting and fault-finding abilities he displays. The MCA expects more than technical knowhow of an engineer. There are statutory obligations, classification requirements, an understanding of the marine industry and tolerance of the hotel industry, as well as a good technical understanding of multiple disciplines such as IT, AV and Internet at sea and networking, hydraulics, mechanics, electrics, electronics, diesel, outboards, plumbing, and HVAC, to name a few. Combine all these specialties in one person and that person would be worth specialist salaries of, yes, all of those specialists added up.

Now how much do you think one person can manage in the time frame given between charter turnarounds? Therefore, as the engineering department is always short-staffed, the engineer must be able to manage both the contractors he brings on board, as well as prioritize the outstanding jobs. Further, the Y1 engineer gets awarded this qualification after a specified time at sea and multiple exams, oral and written. Therefore the person should have the specialist knowledge that demands a salary of a specialist.

Some yacht engineers do not have formal technical training outside of the MCA modules. These guys may perhaps not display the best troubleshooting and problem-solving skills as the engineers who do have formal apprenticeships, but they definitely should have all the knowledge required to run a yacht as an engineer with respect to the law. This alone is a money saver to any vessel. Not many persons have a technical or logical-enough mind nor the tolerant personality to specialize as a yacht engineer.

Let’s not ask how much the Y1 engineer is worth because that cost will grossly outweigh the salaries paid to yacht engineers. Of course, different levels of competence deserve different levels of remuneration. As there are not many engineers out there, it should be obvious that the job is not an easy one, otherwise everybody would be doing it.

An engineer on a private yacht larger than 220 feet in yachting more than 15 years


About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

View all posts by Lucy Chabot Reed →

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