Q- Why are there so many specifications around your physique when it comes to applying for a job onboard a Superyacht? (Jess, 24)
A: The Crew Coach
Yachting is fairly well-known for being image-focussed, and I can’t pretend that attractiveness isn’t a factor in hiring for many (but not all) yachts. The requirement for good-looking crew generally comes from the yacht’s owner, who has certain preferences for how they want their crew to look. Alternatively, the Captain will hire in accordance with what they believe the owner wants. Most Captains and owners just want you to be well-presented so that the yacht retains a professional and polished image.
Unfortunately, size still influences your chance of being employed as crew, however the industry is beginning to challenge the stereotypical image of what is considered beautiful.
The reality is that stewardesses are rarely more than size 12, and overwhelmingly less. Part of this comes down people’s stereotypes around weight and what is considered to fit the yachting image. It is believed that if you are slim you are likely to be fit, healthy, and energetic, however, we all know that this is broad assumption and that bigger girls can be all of the above!
Having said that, some yachts advertise the sizes they want because that’s the size of uniform they carry onboard, so there’s a practical aspect at play here too.
Specifying which gender you want to hire is considered to be a big NO NO in land-based jobs, but it’s common in yachting, and sometimes (perhaps surprisingly) this is actually for legal reasons. Under the Maritime Labour Convention it’s not permissible for opposite sex crew to share a cabin. Even if they are not obliged to do so under the MLC, most Captains will be extremely reluctant to mix genders in cabin shares, and most crew don’t feel that comfortable with it either. This is why you’ll often see ads that say ‘female chef (due to cabin arrangements)’. In this case, it’s not being politically incorrect, it’s just being pragmatic. Sometimes the Captain or owner will have a preference for female-only interior crew, or male-only deck crew (or vice versa), or this could be a result of the owner’s cultural or religious reasons. But most often, gender specifications come from a practical aspect of yachting life: shared cabins.