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Q: When your Values are at Risk of Being Compromised 

Anonymous, Captain, 42

I’ve recently resigned from a Captain’s position as I couldn’t accept a recent change of policies. I was asked to fire my really great crew, who were to be replaced by crew from the commercial shipping world with no luxury yachting experience. The final straw was I was told this was being done so the Owner could afford a salary rise for me and my Rotational Captain – something I hadn’t even requested. I will not be the kind of Captain who profits from my crew’s misfortune, and I feared for the season ahead with so many charters coming up and a completely new and inexperienced crew onboard. So I quit. I now have to join the ranks of the jobseekers, which is professionally not where I wanted to be at this point in the season and I can’t believe I’m in this situation.

A: The Crew Coach:

Firstly, kudos to you for tenaciously standing by your values. Even though you’re not looking forward to looking for work in a competitive marketplace, you’re much better off finding a new opportunity that supports your values rather than remaining in a situation where your core values and principles are compromised. Some yacht Owners will always be looking to save money, and commercial shipping crew may seem like a great way to do this. Regardless, firing your crew to minimise costs doesn’t sound like an option for you due to your personal values and the loyalty and respect you have towards your crew.
It’s unfortunate the Owner/Yacht Management Company thought they could lure you in financially in an effort to get you to abide to their wishes. Well done for taking a moral stand on the issue! I can only imagine how pleased your crew were to hear this too—it’s not every day that a Captain resigns in empathy for his crew! As a result of your courageous and honourable actions you are only going to strengthen your reputation in the industry, which will subsequently add favourably to your job search.

As for your next career move, I think there’s a lot to be learnt from this unfortunate situation when job-hunting for your next role. It’s worth having a frank, confidential discussion with a trusted crew agent about why you left your last job, in order to set some expectations on what kind of job they should be helping you find next. I have put together some tips below which I hope you will find useful.

  • Ideally, you’ll be looking for a yacht where the Owners prize longevity, as this shows they are willing to pay their crew to stay, and value loyalty and stability in the long term.
  • If possible (and I know this is a bit tricky) it’s a good idea to hold out for a yacht where budget is not considered the determining factor of yacht policy.
  • Ask around in your network about the yachts you’re interviewing with and tap into your yachting circle for recommendations on great yachts to work on.
  • Go with your gut feeling when you meet the Owner, or the Owner’s rep. Do you think they share similar values to you? Ask good questions about their current crew and longevity, any training and development schemes, and what sort of measures they have in place to keep crew over time.
  • Ask about the culture onboard to evaluate whether crew harmony is of importance or whether this is not part of the picture.

I have no doubt whatsoever that you’ve made the right decision in leaving the yacht and I hope it gives others the strength to act in accordance to their values.

Best of luck finding a great yacht and wishing you a very rewarding and successful career.

Let us know how you go!

 

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