Crew & Day Workers

What Makes a Good Captain?
You will find in most captains a spirit of adventure, an organized mind and an unquestionable love of the ocean. Captains can spend lengthy periods at sea and while at sea they may be on duty for long hours for several days at a time. The lifestyle means protracted stretches away from family and loved ones. Working through holidays is standard and personal freedom is part of the price. Having said that the rewards are numerous and substantial. Traveling to new places, meeting new people and cultures and making friends the world over.
A professional captain must have all the necessary licenses and documentation for the size of the vessel under his or her command. If you are seriously considering becoming a professional captain as a long-term career move, it is recommended that you approach a Maritime College local to you, and explore what avenues are open. Unless a captain is known with in the super yacht industry it is extremely unlikely that, even if he has extensive sea time logged, he will be able to find work without first building a reputation for himself. It is recommended that he first enters into the industry as a mate.
The Captain and the Crew
There are captains who aside from being very capable masters of their vessel are also gifted personnel managers who deal admirably with the demands of their crew. And then there are those who, as team leaders make great dishwashers. A captain is in a unique position and it takes special skill to strike the right balance between being a boss and being one of the crew, between work and play. The yachting industry has a bad reputation for having a high turnover of crew. Unfortunately the fault of this can, on occasion, lie at the captain’s door. A captain does not rise through the ranks to his lofty status through democracy; he rises through sheer hard work. Taking the right courses, studying the right subjects and working are hard on his skills. If democracy played more of a part, not only would a captain have the necessary sailing ability, he or she would also have exceedingly polished people skills; something to be prized and valued, amongst his crew in particular. Personnel management plays a huge part and unfortunately there are some captains who lack this vital skill. When it comes to dissension between crew members it is the captain’s job to mediate effectively. An inability to do this reflects very badly upon him. Incidents of poor crew management by the captain are known to stem from a misrepresentation of the facts starting at the very first interview.
Interviewing for Crew
The captain, who is ultimately responsible for hiring and firing crew, will find himself in the position of having to interview several people for a job. He contacts various agents and arranges interviews with candidates. He interviews someone who he feels might be ideal and might want to impress them. Length of leave expands, access to e-mail becomes more frequent, the yacht suddenly seemingly moves to a better marina, no mention is made about eight weeks due to be spent in the yard etc. Terms of tenure suddenly become very flexible, as does the length of season and so on. And the above are all genuine examples. For the new crew member joining the yacht, finding that much of what was said at an interview was inaccurate can be very disheartening. This illustrates the necessity of having a very good and broad-based Manual of Terms and Conditions where rules and rags like these can be categorically stated, thus ruling out much misunderstanding. For many crew there is little that is more disconcerting and disruptive than a captain who changes the rules. Many can cope when an owner is guilty of the same thing, unfortunately this is almost expected, but when the captain does the equivalent, it can become too much.
Parenthood on board
A good captain is like a good headmaster or parent. He formulates rules and not only does he expect the crew to stick by them, he does so himself. The rules do not change. If the private use of the yachts vehicle is restricted to weekends then that is how it should remain unless it is a perk for seniority. When it is, this should be made clear. This makes it considerably easier for all. They know where they stand from the beginning. Effective crew management takes skill. Undertaking a practical personnel management course would be a considerable asset to all those wanting to rise up the ranks to the level of captain. Being a good captain takes more than good sailing skills.
The Deckhand and the Yacht
That awe inspiring, beautifully gleaming yacht with it’s highly varnished teak and sparkling chrome is only thus because the exterior crew have made her so. Imagine owning a car that is much loved. Now regretfully you find you have to sell this car and you want to get top dollar for it. To do this you are going to spend hours cleaning her, polishing every strip of chrome, every patch of paint work, every inch of rubber. The seats will be spotless and every window and mirror gleaming, every crevice and cranny will be perfect… Multiply the size of the car by anything from 20 to 200; add quite a bit more woodwork, glass and chrome and you’ve got the idea.
A deckhand’s job boils down to washing, polishing, waxing, buffing, touching up painting and varnishing and then doing it all over again. Teak maintenance is never ending whether it is the high gloss varnished handrails, the richly oiled wheelhouse interior, or the bare golden glow of a freshly scrubbed teak deck. A deckhand must be a sure hand with a brush. Scrubbing or painting:
An average price tag for a yacht’s new paint job can come in more then €50,000 so it’s no small responsibility to care for this investment. Varnishing properly is an art form – can you make it look as smooth as glass, with no streaks, no bubbles, no smudges, no dust nor strands of windblown hair? And could you be calm and contained when you had just achieved that very thing after several hours of back breaking work – only to have some wretched stewardess come and lean on it?
Smaller Boats
A deckhand on the smaller yachts may find himself sharing the engineer’s or the stew’s work along with the captain or the cook. In any case it is always helpful to have some understanding of cooking, electricity, plumbing, carpentry, and mechanics – a true jack of all trades!
The Deckhand and the Crew
The relationship between the crew and the deckhand is generally a relaxed one. As a deckhand you have the luxury of being superior to no one in your work circle. It will be unlikely that you would ever be in a position in which you have to give a ticking off to one of your friends. Deckhands that I have known have usually come with a relaxed attitude to everything, including responsibility. On the other hand the deckhand is usually good for a bit of light on-board entertainment.
The Deckhand and the Guests
You will find that a good selection of people skills is pretty essential. Interaction with guests and owners is common. You will almost certainly, at one stage or another, find yourself doubling up as barman/taxi driver/waiter/luggage porter etc... It’s usually the first mate or deckhand who takes the guests in the tender for shore excursions. The mate and the deckhands are also the water sport coaches. Great patience will be a huge asset, as you will probably be giving instructions on using personal watercraft, water-skis, snorkeling, wind surfing and whatever other toys the owner has seen fit to put on board. If you have any of the above or scuba diving skills, you will find this is a great asset, particularly if you are qualified to teach.
The Deckhand and the Money
Sadly the deckhand gets no budget to play with! If he figures he needs something vital for the upkeep of the boat he has to approach the captain or the first mate/officer. And even then he has to be pretty convincing!
The Deckhand And Safety Issues
As with all crew, a deckhand should be fully aware of all safety procedures aboard the boat. But additionally, because of the time that he will no doubt spend helping set up the toys and teaching novices how to use them, he should be fully aware of rescue procedures for people in difficulty in the water. Furthermore, because part of his duties will be as water chauffeur, the ferrying of guests to and from shore, he should learn how to help the women in highly unsuitable shoes from the tender and onto the shore. It is surprising how this simple procedure can be fraught with potential hazards!
The Deckhand and the Environment
A deckhand will be the one who frequently ends up being told to ‘Get rid of this…’ ‘This’ is usually a small container of some highly toxic chemical that has been used to clean a fender or paintbrushes or to strip some surface. The deckhand will usually peer at this substance somewhat doubtfully and agree. He will then wait for the captain or first mate or whoever gave it to him to disappear round the corner, have a quick check around to see if anyone is looking and then quickly pour it over the side. Whoever gave the container to him probably knows that this is precisely what he will do but doesn’t want the moral and social obligation on his shoulders. Having frequently seen this happen and heard the vigorous arguments between the righteous environmentally friendly people and the ‘I don’t care, everyone else does it.’ group, try to remember that in one marina alone there may be more than two thousand yachts. With each one throwing their daily share of toxic waste overboard it is little wonder that the fabulous marine ecology is being so catastrophically ruined.
The Deckhand and the Uniform
As with all crew the deckhand will have his special charter uniform and his ordinary everyday uniform. The standard uniform will consist of, in all likelihood, shorts and a polo shirt. Wet weather gear should also be issued. Understandably, the old uniforms in the poorest condition are given to the deckhands and engineers for the really mucky jobs like painting, oil changes etc.
The deckhand position is probably the most fun and most boring at the same time. On a new boat it is unlikely that there will be much in depth repair work and maintenance so a lot of the job will be superficial polishing and buffing. On the other hand a deckhand’s job on an older yacht will feel like it is never ever finished.
Steward & Stewardess
What is a steward? Or a stewardess for that matter, apart from being a female version of the former?
A dictionary defines the word 'steward' as:
  • Someone who manages property or other affairs for someone else
  • A ship's officer who is in charge of provisions and dining arrangements
I could not have said it better. Swap the words 'medieval household' for 'yacht' and you find things have changed very little. Here are 12 top tips that will ensure you do the job of steward to very highest standard and help you get a reputation for excellence in your field. Excellence brings its own rewards, an innate sense of satisfaction in a job well done, respect from your peers and the ability to demand excellent remuneration.
A steward is likely to have more one on one dealing with the guests and owner than any other crew member on board. In order for that relationship to be successful here are a few commonsense approaches and some nifty little tricks;
1. Do your homework. Know your guests. Before they arrive on board. Know that Peter won’t eat read meat, Sally loves gladioli and Marion likes Belgian chocolate, Arnold like green tea with a dash of vanilla and Martin like a cigar in the evening after dinner.
Does your homework take two: Know your destination? If you can tell your guests that restaurant is the best for fish, this boutique has the best deals, Madonna shops here, this church was where so and so witnessed a miracle it will make their enjoyment of their holiday all the more effortless for them. One of the biggest problems on a holiday - apart from catastrophe is - 'What shall we do today?'
Do your homework take three: Know you boat, know your crew. Know your chefs specialty, know that the deckhand is a first class windsurf instructor, know that the captain has the right contacts for them to meet the local prince/chief etc.
2. Be utterly discreet. We are all human and have our failings. As a stewardess you will be in a position to observe more of those failings than almost anyone else. I know things about famous people that would utterly appall them if the knowledge went into the public domain. Utter trust in your discretion is paramount.
3. Be organized. If you know your guests like gin sours at 11.30 in the morning have all the ingredients ready by 11.15.
4. Think ahead. Your 12 guests are going ashore. If it's raining make sure there are 12 umbrella's sitting at the top of the passarelle waiting for them before it even occurs to them to ask. Your guests are sun tanning - have cooled atomizers offered.
5. Be a leader. You may have a stewardess or two or three or thirty working under you. You have to be able to teach them how to do the job to your standards without offending or reducing them to tears. You have to lead by example and if you expect standards to be high, your standards have to be just as high
6. Social skills. While you may not be required to interact socially with your guest there will be times where you are required to make conversation. If you can do this in such a way that puts everyone utterly at their ease it will stand you in good stead.
7. Play fair. Treat each guest the same way. Polite, deferential but not subservient. A teenager, a child, a grandfather, the owner, his PA. Each person has their own value and power, mentally dismiss the PA or the teenager and you might find yourself looking for a new job.
8. Be cheerful and positive. The ability to greet with genuine smile is an enormous asset.” Every person is surrounded by a thought atmosphere... Through this power we are either retracting or repelling. Like attracts like ... we attract just what we are in mind." -Ernest Holmes
9. Be reliable and consistent. To both guests and fellow crew.
10. Remember: Remember names, remember favorite foods, favorite drinks and birthdays, significant others...
11. Say yes. Within reason. You are on board to work and nothing should be too much trouble and it should all be done with a smile.
12. Clean. Be the clean queen. Everything must be spotlessly clean.
A boat technician typically holds a diploma or degree from a technical school or community college, as well as certification in a specialty area such as engine repair. If a technician has “Service Compliance Certificate” then can also service inboard engine or outboard motor technicians, electronic equipment installers, marine fleet technicians or engine builders, among other positions.
If a technician acting as a company or acting through a company that working for then they may have several duties, including performing routine services, repairing outboard motors, performing internal engine services, checking electrical systems and installing electronic equipment. They also may act as sales representatives or supervise other workers.
Boat Technicians must have strong communication skills, allowing them to clearly explain technological information to customers. They also must be knowledgeable about boats and equipment and be able to demonstrate their safe operation. The ability to establish a good rapport with customers also is beneficial
Recreational Boat Mechanics must possess mechanical aptitude and be able to diagnose problems and make repairs quickly and reliably. They also must have strong communication skills.
Recreational Boat Mechanics inspect and repair the mechanical and electrical systems of pleasure boats, including power boats, sail boats and yachts. They may work at boat dealerships or marinas or be self-employed. Recreational Boat Mechanics repair all marine vehicle components, including propellers, marine plumbing and navigation systems. Recreational Boat Mechanics use both power and hand tools to service the more than 30 types of pleasure boats.
Many yachts have many technical instruments and installations. Properly functioning installations are crucial for holding optimal value of the ship, for the safety and for the comfort and sailing pleasure of the persons on board. A yacht technical solutions care and maintenance contract guarantees that the ship works like a well-oiled machine throughout the year, without burdening the owner or the captain with the maintenance. And that is because the right solution does not only take care of all the technical maintenance, it also fully takes care of the organizational and logistic planning involved.
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Highlights & News
2017 Düsseldorf Boat Show
New: THE WAVE – the first Standing Deep Water Wave.
Excursion into the world of super yachts.
New: boot INTERIOR presents furnishings for the luxury segment.
Sailing sports in Halls 14 to 17 with over 360 exhibitors.
To the tune of 1,800 exhibitors from 60 countries in 17 exhibition halls.