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  • Writer's pictureLidija Jakovljevic

In the exclusive world of superyachts, every detail matters. With industry-leading teams such as Lürssen, Oceanco, Feadship and others dedicated to bringing advanced marine technology seamlessly integrated into breathtaking designs, superyachts are known to represent the very best that luxury can offer.

But, once launched, it is the crew that truly brings yachts to life. As a Marketing Manager at Europe's Leading Superyacht Crew Recruitment Agency, I have had the privilege to meet a number of talented crew and get a close look into what makes a yacht go from a vessel to a high-end retreat.

Having skilled and motivated crew is a critical element in defining the superyacht experience and there are a number of reasons why investing in high-performing crew is one of the most impactful decisions a yacht owner can make.

Superior Guest Experience

First and foremost, high-quality crew unequivocally enhances the onboard experience for yacht guests, setting your superyacht apart from the rest. Highly skilled and dedicated crew members that provide exceptional service, anticipate needs and create a warm, welcoming environment will quickly give the yacht a sterling reputation in the yachting community.

Ensuring Efficient Operations

Crew members who are dedicated to excelling in their careers will be the ones you can rely on to deliver smooth and efficient operations. From managing the engine room and maintaining all onboard systems to navigating the yacht, overseeing fuel costs and dockage fees, the skill set of an experienced crew member is indispensable.

With yachts becoming bigger and more complex than ever, it’s never been more important to actively hunt for crew that are up for the task. After all, as a yacht owner, manager or Captain, you want to be sure that all tasks are done with care and precision in order to minimise unexpected operational issues, saving time and resources in the long run.

Improving Crew Retention

Investing in crew and understanding each crew member's values and behaviours to ensure they fit within the culture of the yacht will have a positive effect on crew retention. When you bring together a team of skilled and dedicated individuals who take pride in their work, they are more likely to stay on board for longer, reducing the need for frequent recruitment and training of new crew members.

It was Captain Chris Andreason who highlighted the importance of consistency in retaining crew members by saying: "Every time someone leaves, training starts all over again. Turnover is not irrelevant."

Safeguarding Your Investment

It’s no secret that a yacht is a significant investment, and having a high-preforming crew is a vital factor in maintaining and safeguarding it.

Just to illustrate, at the start of 2023, the big superyachts that entered the market included Pelorus at €185,000,000, Arrow at €139,900,000 and Ahpo at €330,000,000.

Sufficient to say, this is not the sort of capital you would risk putting in inexperienced hands. By investing in crew and their overall satisfaction, you're also investing in the longevity and upkeep of your yacht, preserving its value over time.

Compliance and Risk Management

A high-quality crew is well-versed in maritime laws and safety protocols, ensuring that your superyacht remains compliant with all relevant regulations. In the MYIBA Charter Contract for example it says that the Owner is contractually obliged to provide a “suitably qualified and properly trained crew”.

The crew is in charge of ensuring that the yacht is prepared for annual flag surveys, annual class surveys, port/flag state controls, etc. They are equipped to manage and mitigate risks, be it through timely maintenance checks, safe navigation practices, or effective emergency response. By investing in knowledgeable and professional crew, you are ensuring that all the legal obligations are met, offering you peace of mind.

How to Ensure That Your Yacht Gets the Most Qualified Crew?

To attract the best, you need to offer the best. What is it that your yacht offers to differentiate from all the rest? I always think of an analogy that Helen Papamichael, YPI CREW’s Head of Interior Department and industry leader in Chef Recruitment (also an avid football fan), put forward: “Just as it would be surprising for Mbappé to sign with a third-tier football club, it's equally unreasonable to expect a highly skilled crew member to agree to less-than-ideal conditions.”

At YPI CREW we have created a comprehensive Salary Guide to provide guidance through the standard salaries and leave packages depending on yacht sizes and crew positions.

But there is more that needs to be taken into consideration. Today more than ever there is so much importance put on the work-life balance and the overall job satisfaction. This means investing in your crew and making sure they are happy. Working on board a yacht and being consistently far away from family and friends is not easy so creating a supportive and happy environment on board is so important.

Hiring people that will work well together, that have similar interests, investing in crew training and their overall success is what will secure your yacht from risks and elevate its presence in the entire yachting community.

A while back I did an online survey through YPI CREW’s social media channels to find out which factors yacht crew considers most important in contributing to job satisfaction.

Surprisingly or not, in the first place was having a great team on board, followed by the salary and rotation.

Definitely something to think about.

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