Captains and senior yacht crew climb the ranks through experience and advanced certificates, but what about management skills? Managing crew effectively is a skill that takes practice and should be a requirement for all senior managers and captains. It can be a challenge to balance crew with different personalities, various backgrounds, and communication styles. To prevent miscommunication and inefficiencies on board, here are some key management techniques that can make you a better leader and manager:
1. Communicate Regularly
Find a time where all crew gather naturally (tea time, meals, start of the day), and schedule regular meetings with the entire crew to ensure everyone is on the same page. Use these meetings to communicate any changes in schedule, upcoming trips, checking-in on projects, bringing up any crew-wide issues, or any other major announcements. The better you are at communicating, the more effectively your crew can execute what needs to be done.
2. Delegate Tasks
To prevent unnecessary confusion and overlap, delegate specific projects or tasks to key stakeholders. Captains can delegate larger projects to relevant heads of departments, who will be responsible for communicating tasks to the junior crew they manage. Establishing specific roles and responsibilities and delegating will free up time to focus on big-picture projects.
3. Create An Onboarding Process
Ensure all incoming crew know the yacht’s procedures and processes from day one, to prevent issues down the line. Create an onboarding process that is consistent for all new crew in order to get them up to speed quickly. Onboarding may include a checklist for safety, employment contracts, processes, standing orders, crew rules, hours of work/rest, schedules on/off charter, as well as departmental training by a senior crew member like a mate or chief stew.
4. Centralise Communications
Have a central area for all major announcements or dates. This can be physical board in the crew mess, group text messages, or email…whatever works for your yacht! Find a preferred method that works for everyone so all crew are aware of important communication.
5. Crisis Management
In the event of a crisis, all crew need to be aware of the proper protocols to follow in the absence of senior crew or a captain. From fire to injury, theft or sinking, have an action plan for each type of emergency and ensure every crew member knows what to do for each type of situation. Establish points of contact, and review emergency procedures regularly so your crew can be ready in case a situation arises.