How to have a well-run Superyacht

‘Culture’ and ‘healthy’ are the operative words here. Unfortunately, without a proper understanding of culture and how to put that into action, you will end up with a melting pot of crew issues and a poorly run Superyacht.

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Have you ever experienced or known of crew who have had a destructive onboard culture?

Superyachts should not be exempt from having formal procedures in place to protect the welfare of their crew. This blog will highlight and provide valuable insight into the importance of investing in the development of the crew and building an exemplary onboard culture.

Why we need HR onboard

HR commonly nestles itself in the recruitment department of an organisation and one which tends to be associated with the niche area of hiring, termination of contracts as well as developing and managing policies and procedures.  Yacht Management companies play a key role in managing these responsibilities. However, there is more to just dealing with the administrative side of human management.

Superyachts need to pay attention to the human element of yachting. If they are ignorant of the investment required to maintain a professional and emotionally intelligent team, they will find themselves in a lot of trouble.

We are not only experiencing a high rate of crew turnover but an increase in crew suicides. Hence it is critical that yacht management companies and Heads of Departments (HODs) learn how to attract, engage and retain competitive talent. I often hear from crew and Yacht Management companies on how difficult it is to find and retain quality crew. Yachts are spending substantial amounts of money on recruitment as a result of high crew turn over. 

If Heads of Departments implement the necessary strategies to improve the crew culture onboard, crew morale and engagement will essentially increase exponentially.  If they could simply master this, they would not only be profiting financially but would also have a positive living-work environment.

Investing in your team

The first step is initiating a people and culture operations onboard and providing Heads of Department with the correct leadership training. The leadership training needs to be relevant and interactive for the participants to truly grasp the content. I have been facilitating this style of training for the past 5 years and the results have been outstanding. The training is reformative in the areas of personal and professional development however, it does require key soft skills to be able to successfully reap the benefits of the training. 

It is important to recognize that we each have a unique behavioural style. Understanding our own style and the style of others is a significant advantage. We are constantly interacting with others, sometimes appropriately and sometimes not. Regardless of our work role or chosen career, it is of utmost importance to reflect on our behaviour and the impact it can have on others.

Learning what our behavioural style is and how others perceive us is the single most powerful tool you can have in any workplace environment. Research from Boston College, Harvard University and the University of Michigan found that soft skills training, like communication and problem-solving, boosts productivity and retention by 12 percent and delivers a 250 percent return on investment based on higher productivity and retention. The Crew Coach is trained in using a premium tool (DISC ADVANCED) to observe and analyse behaviours which in turn helps boost crew morale and engagement. The advantages of this tool is that it is specifically designed to assess behaviours within a workplace setting.

As Marcus Buckingham asserts “Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield.”

Crew are your biggest resource and I question how Yacht Management companies/captains are going about managing this valuable asset and whether they are actually trained to do so? 

The concept of HR and its function in the workplace has evolved so much over the years that the term “HR” is now more commonly being substituted by “People and Culture”. This new term reflects the true nature of its purpose which is advocating for its employees and their happiness.

Superyachts should be operated as a business and have the correct infrastructure in place so that they can get a greater return on their crew. 

Bespoke training

At The Crew Coach, we have consultants who can train and facilitate the onboarding process to ensure crew are managed correctly and support captains to manage their personnel confidently.

The Crew Coach offers a unique Leadership Training service that aims to close the “HR” gap in yachting and offer a more robust and up to date service for the yacht and its personnel.

The key areas that The Crew Coach focuses on as part of their Leadership Training services includes: 

  • Selection, Learning & Development and Performance Management,
  • Succession Planning and Reward and Recognition. 

These components are integral in ensuring your personnel are fully engaged and working at their optimum performance level. Below I have briefly described what these services entail.

The Integral Components


Interviewing skills, assessing personality characteristics – Policy, procedures and tools for effective recruitment and selection.

Learning and Development

Leadership, Team Building, Emotional Intelligence, Onboard Culture, Conflict Resolution

Performance Management

Measuring the soft skills, strengths and weaknesses of crew and implementing the policy, processes and tools in improving crew performance and dynamics. Conducting regular performance reviews and ensuring the information is translated into realistic outcomes.

Succession Planning

Understanding and meeting the future needs of the yacht. Coaching and mentoring programs for crew wanting to transition into leadership roles.

Reward and Recognition

Understanding the value of work and implementing the correct performance recognition strategies to reflect this value.

  • Promoting staff retention
  • Acknowledging appropriate professional behaviour
  • Reinforcing the yacht’s culture and values through demonstrated behaviours.


As highlighted above it is absolutely critical to invest in crew development to ensure the yacht is maintained at its optimum.

Our Superyacht Advanced Leadership Program is designed to help you bring out your highest leadership potential. Unlike anything else on offer in the yachting industry, this training is designed by a leadership expert who is also an ex-crew member and industry insider with 17 years of yachting experience. It is imperative to engage with coaches and trainers who understands first-hand the many issues that impact crew dynamics onboard. 

Our Superyacht Advanced Leadership Program has been developed exclusively for the superyacht industry and is 100% relevant, up to date and practical for application onboard a luxury yacht of any size. In short, this isn’t just theory – it’s full of practical solutions that work in a yachting context.

In addition to this, the entire training is contained in a fully virtual online package so you can access it anywhere in the world at any time – and nobody needs to know you have access to it, giving you a secret advantage to help you improve your leadership and people skills with everyone you meet and manage.

If you are interested in building your confidence and taking your leadership skills to the next level take a look at our signature course that will get you there!

How to have a well-run Superyacht