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Home > Crew Matters > What Makes The Best Yacht Crew?

What Makes The Best Yacht Crew?

10 Personality Traits

With the turn of the year, many Captains and Yacht Owners will be taking the opportunity to consider the issue of yacht crew placement. With so many worthy candidates on the market, recruiting a full crew is easy but the challenge lies in forming a dependable team of deckhands, chefs, mates, engineers, and interior crew who show exceptional quality, skill, dedication, and an unfaltering work ethic. While lots of skills and qualities can be taught, there is undoubtedly a selection of traits that can be naturally found in the very best superyacht crew. We spoke to Laurence Lewis – the Director of the world’s leading yacht crew recruitment agency, YPI CREW – and the Captain of a 40.00m superyacht to find out their opinions of 10 personality traits of the best crew.

The 10 Top Crew Characteristics from Laurence Lewis of YPI CREW

Laurence Lewis founded YPI CREW in 2002, and has since grown the recruitment agency into the industry’s world-leading authority. Having started out in the crew recruitment industry in 1993, Laurence has developed a keen understanding for the candidates who go on to carve successful careers for themselves and who are most appealing to Captains.


  1. Team Player


It is essential that crew are able to work in harmony with other colleagues to form a strong unit. When people’s safety is at stake, as is the case when working at sea, it is essential that each team member does her/his part and understands the importance of doing so.


  1. Grit and Resilience


As outlined in my article for On Board Magazine, grit and resilience are key characteristics for any successful crew. At times, the work can be difficult and the hours long. When we are recruiting crew, we immediately try to gauge candidates’ commitment to a career on yachts. We want to know that they can withstand the physical demands of the job.


  1. Humble yet Confident

When working in such close-knit quarters, and under the watch of a hierarchy of authority, it is important for crew to know when to stay humble and to learn from the knowledge of more experienced team members. Nevertheless, it is also essential that crew work with diligence, confidence, and purpose.


  1. Respectful of Others


Whether crew are working on a private yacht or a charter yacht, the vessel will often be busy with both crew and guests. It is essential to seek employees that maintain a polite respect for others – both emotionally and physically.


  1. Well-Mannered and Discreet 


Etiquette in the yachting industry is predicated on a sense of discretion. Most UHNWIs who own and charter yachts value discretion for matters of safety and privacy. Being well mannered goes hand-in-hand with being discreet, and is based upon a sense of respect. We hire candidates who know the value of discretion.


  1. Open-Minded


Crew are occasionally asked to perform tasks of which they have no experience of performing. The role generally necessitates versatility. In this sense, it is extremely helpful to select candidates that are open-minded. Nevertheless, superiors should not demand unfeasible requirements of employees, which is also important to bear in mind.


  1. Flexible 


Flexibility is another essential characteristic. In this industry, many things change without a moment’s notice. Whether it’s the weather, the whim of the Owner, or an unforeseen emergency, it is important to go for crew who are flexible, so that they can adapt and cope with change.


  1. Curious


Of course, the best crew will always possess a sense of curiosity. Destinations, people, and experiences are what make this industry so rewarding; the very best crew must be excited by the prospect of exploration. Often, the most worthy candidates are those who are most motivated by the unknown.


  1. Articulate/Good Communicator


The exchange of information in a clear, concise manner is especially essential on a yacht, as a misconceived message could result in disaster. As such, the best crew will speak and listen with precision. Moreover, the vessel’s guests will expect crew to be personable – a trait which is enhanced by articulacy.


  1. Driven with a Sense of Initiative


When an employee has ambition, it will reflect in their work. It is therefore fair to assume that the best yacht crew are the most ambitious.


The 10 Top Crew Characteristics from a Superyacht Captain

Yacht Captains are in search of candidates with that little bit extra. Often, this will not immediately be apparent from a CV. For example, ambition will be something that can be determined upon meeting a candidate, as can dedication, work ethic, and attitude. The following 10 traits should be sought wherever possible.

  1. Balance of Qualification & Experience


While qualifications are extremely important in the yachting industry, so too is experience. The best candidates may not have spent the most time in the classroom, but will be able to demonstrate that they have put the time in dock walking and will have valuable experiences to show for it.


  1. Self-Motivated


It is usually those crew who can motivate themselves that progress the quickest up the ladder of command. This industry is not designed for slackers and those with a bad work ethic are quickly found out.


  1. Self-disciplined


There will not always be a senior member of the team to oversee each task. Nevertheless, it is essential that a high standard of work be maintained at all times. The best crew will be self-motivated and will ensure that there are no lapses in the quality of service.


  1. Trustworthy


Crew are regularly trusted with private information and key responsibilities. For a Captain, it is important to know that the employee will not compromise her/his level of trust and will complete her/his duties successfully, with quality, and discreetly when required to do so.


  1. Loyalty


Given the transience that often characterises yacht crew placements, Captains value loyalty and longevity. Knowing that an employee is committed to the position, the Captain, and the yacht is reassuring.


  1. Team Player


When working on board, it is easier to make other people’s lives easier. Consideration and respect go a long way, whether during working hours or on down time. The age-old saying applies perfectly to the crew dynamic: treat others as you wish to be treated. The best yacht crew do exactly this – much to the benefit of the entire team.


  1. Polite and Well-Mannered


A superyacht offers the most luxurious experiences available and guests expect the finest service to match. Crew should be exceptionally courteous to guests at all time. Manners are also important between team members: healthy, amicable relationships must be maintained at all times and good manners are essential in this endeavour.


  1. Strong Work Ethic


There is always work to be done on a superyacht. If anybody says this job is easy, do not believe them. While it is true that life at sea can be extremely rewarding, crew should approach their careers with the expectation of working hard. Candidates with a strong work ethic suffer no shocks and usually do the best.


  1. No Sense of Entitlement


Crew are not entitled to their position. For every poor worker, there are one thousand great workers who are itching to gain a role in the crew of a luxury yacht. The best workers will recognise the opportunity they have been given and will perform accordingly.


A Perfectionist: It’s all ‘in the detail.’

Many people can perform the basic tasks that are required of yacht crew. However, the best crew will be unfaltering in their attention to detail, unrelenting in their bid to become better at their job, and entirely committed to offering the complete service – regardless of what this may take.


YPI Crew: ypicrew.com