What is crew culture?

Before diving into how you can maintain crew morale, it is important that we unpack the meaning of crew culture. Crew culture is a shared belief and value system that employees subscribe to which subsequently drives behaviour. A positive culture will not only attract your “tribe” it amplifies the team’s morale and engagement thereby creating a productive and harmonious work force. Culture will happen regardless whether it is planned or not… so why not create a culture to be proud of?

It only takes a few bad eggs to ruin the culture onboard hence it is important to get a positive crew culture onboard from the get go. All crew need to subscribe to the same culture otherwise it gives room for inappropriate behaviours to occur. How do you maintain a positive culture onboard? Our recipe is innovation, adaptability and creativity…

Here are some steps on how you can strive for a positive culture onboard.


Get interior and exterior crew to job swap for a day….  Change is healthy it encourages compassion, connectedness and team work. While this may seem disruptive or trivial, it is in fact a very effective way of encouraging crew wide interaction as well as understanding the job roles across the ranks


Show your appreciation in your crew through investing in their professional growth. This will not only benefit the crew member but it will also positively impact the over-all functioning of the yacht. If you can demonstrate that you are invested in your crew you will get a greater return on their engagement and productivity and this will fuel a positive spirit on board. Leadership training, personal development courses, mentoring programmes  are key in advancing and up-skilling your crew.

For some this may be seen as an unnecessary cost, however, I would encourage those to look at how much crew turn over and recruitment are costing the owner. When looking at the figures, one begins to realise that this is not a cost but rather a significant gain that has long lasting value.


When crew are driven by a clear purpose with an achievable goal, they have a reason to be committed to working towards success for themselves and, ultimately, the yacht.


Crew are not robots and nor are you. There is no reason to burn out your crew. With effective processors in place and with a competent leader at the helm you should be able to keep your crew psychological and physically safe throughout the season.

At The Crew Coach we not only help Captains in developing a positive culture onboard during their recruitment process but we all assist them in transforming  an existing culture to a harmonious one.