Former Chief Stew Creates Sageseas

May 26, 2024 by Lauren Beck

Looking to get a little help in creating a positive onboard environment? Sageseas can help.

Living on board a superyacht can be complicated. Beyond those beautiful glossy exteriors are the realities of keeping the vessel going — and the crew in charge of doing so. “Having been there and done it, and then worked closely with captains and pursers as management, I know firsthand what a difference a positive onboard environment can mean,” said Paula Dickens, founder of Sageseas. Paula has spent more than 25 years in the yachting industry, with more than 15 as a stewardess and then as a crew manager, so she understands the nuances of the work and the struggles crew face on the job and off.

Sageseas Founder Paula Dickens

Sageseas Founder Paula Dickens

“I loved working as crew — the travel, the great friendships that I forged through living and working with such a variety of people,” Paula said. “However, I am also aware of the unique situation that yacht crew find themselves in, and when all isn’t working so well on board, it can be tricky.”

It’s tricky for all crew, from the captain to the newest deckhand. “As manager of crew, I also became aware of the pressure that captains are under these days, especially during COVID and since the [Ukraine] invasion,” Paula said. Captains shoulder many responsibilities — primarily safety, navigation, pleasing clients, owners, and management, and handling refits and budgets. Captains are also team leaders, and managing crew “from different backgrounds, genders, and generations can be complicated.” Dickens wanted to help.

Having spoken with various captains, and with the topic of crew retention also being so important these days, I thought that some shoreside support could be of value,” she said. Sageseas offers a variety of services and aims, in Paula’s words, “to promote collective crew well-being and to provide a stable and positive onboard dynamic.”

To begin, Sageseas offers anonymous online engagement surveys — or pulse checks, as Paula terms them — which provide the captain with an evaluation report on how the crew is doing both personally and collectively. The Sageseas team also offers online and onboard leadership, culture, and well-being workshops. They also provide data analysis via high-performance wearables that monitor stress, recovery, sleep, and exercise. These insights are followed by one-on-one consultations, and Sageseas then creates a personal development plan.

Sageseas also has a resident psychotherapist/hypnotherapist who offers personal consultations to crew — or support for their families — and a personal fitness instructor and Pilates expert who can offer advice on exercising on board or even do live sessions in Palma. Both are also former crew.

“The feedback so far has been very positive,” Paula said. “Just initiation of the crew survey increased crew morale and opened up onboard communication — even before the captain’s evaluation report was delivered. Crew felt valued and like they had been given a voice.”

Their onboard workshops were also very well received, she said, and captains who have tried the HRV monitor and app have found it extremely useful.

Costs for the bespoke service vary depending on what the yacht requires, but Sageseas is also currently offering a promotional seasonal support package for a limited number of yachts.

“[Sageseas] is here to help from the inside out,” Paula said. “We understand the industry firsthand, and I have gathered a team of experts in their fields with the same ethos as myself and the same belief in what we aim to offer.”

Sageseas is on a mission. With the expansion of both the team and its services, it continues to evolve as does its dedication to support the industry and the crew within it.

Want more crew-created businesses? Check out Chief Stew Founds Sober Crew Social Club