In the past few years, more remote and off-the-beaten-track destinations have grown significantly in popularity, with superyacht owners wanting to cruise uncharted waters far from the madding crowds of the Mediterranean and Caribbean hotspots. The most remote corners of the world are more accessible than ever before, with huge technological advancements and specialist companies in place to aid such expeditions, but there is still a need for careful preparation, especially from crew. Check out our top tips for far-flung crew heading for remote destinations.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Planning really is key when it comes to stepping away from the normal milk runs. Gone are the safety nets of the Mediterranean where accessible land with near enough all of the services you need is only a stone’s throw away. Crew need to be ready for any potential eventuality; whether that be having the boss’s favourite soft drink stored away in excess, up-to-date charts of new areas at hand, permits applied for and gained in advance or enough spares onboard for absolutely anything that can break. Make sure each department draws up a plan of what they will need to do before leaving for the more remote destinations, including time scales. Having maintenance schedules in place will give you an idea of what you need to stock up on and the jobs that will still need to be done, even whilst away from the comfort of those big, well stocked, marinas.
We all crave a little ‘off the grid’ time occasionally and enjoy the excuse of having no 4G – turning off those endless Instagram stories and WhatsApp groups can calm the mind and give you a mini digital detox! But if you’re about to venture off the beaten track, you could find yourself out of touch for far longer than an overnight crossing. Check your yacht’s satellite communication connections and, if only simply for emergency communication and weather updates, ensure any black spots are foreseen. Technology and global connections have advanced in leaps and bounds in recent years. On arrival, identify where a local SIM card can be acquired and where you might be able to get access to Wi-Fi.
Soak up all the knowledge
When it comes to travelling, no matter how you are doing it, there is nothing better than the value of local knowledge – having a local contact can really make a trip and help you see the best of a destination. The same is true for superyacht cruising, local agents are somewhat of gold dust to Captains, and they can help sort everything from cruising permits and provisioning to helping you navigate changing legislation and advise on itineraries. Aside from agents, there is also that old fashioned method of talking to people! As yacht crew, you are likely to have a worldwide circle so make use of your connections and ask around. If you know people who have ventured into the unknown before, ask for their tips, advice and recommendations. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of Google; get online and get researching. At the very least, with research under your belt, you will be able to enjoy that day off without wondering what to do and where to go.
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Safety is non-negotiable on a superyacht. As well as your fellow crewmembers, you also have the responsibility of owners, guests and charterers. Making sure you have the appropriate equipment on board is important but even more so is knowing how to use it: ensure that as crew you have regular safety drills and checks in place. When it comes to medical kits for off-the-beaten-track cruising, they need to be extensive. In the remote corners of our oceans, access to hospitals is a fantasy. Having qualified crew onboard who are able to deal with emergencies as well as seek external support, from companies such as MedAire, is vital. For day-to-day medical kits, stock up on brands that you are familiar with and make sure you have enough for the duration of the trip.
Shop till you drop
Imagine a whole season without the boss’s favourite snacks or, god forbid, the crew’s favourite snacks…! When you travel off-the-beaten-track, the provisioning game gets a whole lot harder. What you will be able to access in the food department will largely depend on where you’re going. If you have the space (if you don’t, make some!) then it is vital to stock up on things that you know you will use over the course of the season. Ensure you have good galley storage for dried goods and keep tight inventories on everything. When it comes to menu planning, get in touch with local agents to find out what will be available and get your hands on any local fresh produce that you can – it’s a great opportunity for the Chef to get inventive as well! In terms of drink, ensure that your inventories and information are up-to-date, as some areas require that you pay tax levies.
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It’s not everyday your job could take you from the tropical spots of Bora Bora to the most remote anchorages off Alaska, so follow the above advice and then get snap happy, make memories to share and enjoy.