Introducing our Crew 2 Crew blog, written by Captain Jack Brown. In this series, Jack will take you through a range of interesting topics exclusive to crew in the industry and lend his own valuable insight and experience.

When looking for a new job in the industry, whether you are brand new or a seasoned crew member, one question you will always be asked is; what’s your preference, private or charter?

Over the years in my career, I have worked extensively on both private and charter yachts. Whether that be impeccably run privately owned yachts that sail off the beaten track or back-to-back busy charter yachts doing the ‘milk run’, I have always found both to have their great advantages and enjoyments.  

What It Means To Go Private

Working on a private yacht can come with many different requirements depending on the owner’s preferences, from live aboard relaxed programmes, immaculately kept rarely used yachts, faceless and unseen service, adventurous dive plans or familiar family feel guests, the differences between yachts can be worlds apart.  

The main feature that unites the differences between private programs is the understanding of preferences for the owners and guests, being able to predict the breakfast requirements of each family member or exactly what time the grandchildren will start water sports for the day.  In most cases the owners of the yachts will use them as an extension of their homes or offices, stepping on board and going straight into their usual routines of work or relaxation.  

What Itineraries Look Like

Itineraries on private yachts can vary and evolve as the trip goes on, most private yachts where the owners are on for longer periods will have a more free flow schedule of going where the weather allows or coming up with ideas during the cruise, meeting friends and family along the way.  Sometimes berth bookings are kept just in case, or planned for once a week to allow for provisioning.  A seasoned yacht owner will know the logistics of cruising, be it bunkering every couple of weeks or provisioning every few days, they will often appreciate the crew have been working on board for weeks on end without days off and hopefully allow downtime or meals off the yacht to give the crew a break.  

Working Private: What It Takes

To be appreciated as a crewmember on a private yacht, you should possess a combination of professionalism, discretion and confidentiality. After all, you are often privy to sensitive information and the private affairs of the owners.

You should also be committed and flexible as you could be on board for extended guest trips without knowing the date the guests will depart, its also worth remembering most owners like to see the same faces when they get back on board for their next voyage and regularly crew are rewarded for their loyalty.  You should be proactive and anticipate the owner’s needs, providing exceptional service and attention to detail, many owners are much more involved and vocal in the standards kept on board. 

Strong interpersonal skills are vital, crew often develop closer relationships to the owners and you need to build rapport and communicate effectively with them in order to excel in providing the seven star service they expect.  

On Charter Yachts

On charter yachts the crew typically interact more frequently with guests in a fun and entertaining way, either putting on theme nights for dinner, water sports challenges and coaching, guest and crew BBQs, treasure hunts, excursions ashore and a plethora of other fun activities, they are responsible for providing impeccable service, entertaining the children, organizing activities, and ensuring the guests have a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.  You might find it’s the charter guests’ first time on a superyacht and want to experience everything they have imagined when stepping foot on board a floating palace.  

Charter Itineraries

The itinerary for a charter is usually set ahead of time with an agreed start and finish point and a daily schedule to stick to in order to visit all the agreed locations within the timeframe. 

This can often mean moving anchorage or into port multiple times a day in order to see those breath taking locations or to meet a critical dinner date. This can be very taxing on the crew, packing up and setting up water sports equipment, meal services and mooring equipment, what can start off as a predictably active day can suddenly change into ‘all hands on deck’ with a sudden request to tie up in port or an anchorage shift to meet up with the guests’ friends on another yacht.  

How To Be A Valued Crew Member

In order to be an valued crew member on a charter yacht you need to be physically fit with good stamina in order to deal with the extensive hours on your feet and the demanding activities, have a customer service orientation to give the ultimate attention to the guests, be friendly, outgoing and ready for the numerous questions asked throughout trips and be an adaptable problem solver to deal with the hundreds of different requests and changes in a day. 

You must manage stress effectively, stay professional at all times and have a heightened attention to safety in order to keep the guests and crew out of harms way at all times, especially as they are unlikely to have much seafaring experience.  

To Conclude

So what is it? Private or charter?

Both private and charter yachts can be challenging and demanding places to work, whether you are cut out to work on either is determined by your attitude, commitment and approach to the exclusive superyacht industry.  They both have their great benefits of travel, high earnings, professional development and diverse networking, all the while working within close attractive team environments.  

The best advice to give is to get out there, be professional, work hard and enjoy it!

Crew 2 Crew blog is written by Jack Brown.

Throughout his career, he has acquired extensive experience in the superyacht industry, having worked on both private and charter yachts (50m-85m) across the globe, including the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, USA, and North West European waters.

His expertise extends to overseeing significant refits, exceptional navigational knowledge, articulating expectations clearly and concisely, demonstrating robust project management skills, emphasising safety as top priority and excelling in fast, creative problem solving.

Jack is committed to delivering an exceptional experience onboard, creating a relaxing environment with endless opportunities for fun and exploration, utilising the incredible advantages a superyacht has to give the owner.  He offers a safe, professionally run, hassle free environment onboard so that the owner can enjoy his asset to its fullest.

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