After twenty five years in the yachting and commercial industry one fact is abundantly clear- for a yacht or commercial vessel to be successful, crew members and their associated attitude and work ethic is the primary key as to the success of the overall operation. Whether the goal is to transport goods or merchandise to overseas ports or transport the latest celebrity to the next exotic port, crew members have without doubt the largest impact on the outcome. Which leads to the question: What does it take to be a good crew member on a yacht or commercial vessel?
M/Y Seawolf Crew
Tenets of a good crew member:
- Know your goals– what is it you want to receive from the work experience, is it to travel-see exotic ports of call, make money for future endeavors, or advance your career to become a leader in the industry. If the goal is to further your career in the marine industry, relay your goals to your immediate supervisors, captain, etc. so they may assist you with this endeavor.
- Plan your strategy– once you have decided upon your goal in the industry, plan out how you want to attain this. Ask your immediate supervisor or captain for assistance if needed. Make sure to account for the various schools and courses you will be required to take to advance your career, include the budgetary number as these classes tend to be quite expensive. Ensure you plan an exit strategy as well, “What do you want to do after crewing”?
- Drive and determination– focus on your long range plans and do not get distracted by the short term influences that will distract from your long range plans. Having the drive and determination to push thru these influences will determine the outcome of your career.
- Flexibility– keep in mind that life is constantly changing and your strategy and plan may change to reflect these changes. Be flexible enough with go with the changes and adapt, change up your goals temporarily if necessary.
- Be Motivated– whatever the reason for your decision to be a crew member, strive to always do your best and motivate yourself to reach the goals that you have planned. Your personal motivation will be reflected in your work and noticed by those around you. For other crew members it may be the stimulus they need to do a better job, and to those above you, get you noticed for advancement.
- Dependability– become the “go to person”. Strive to be a standout and individual fellow crew members know will accomplish the task given, does it on time, does what they say they will do, and above all comes thru in times of challenge.
- Trust and integrity– this is an integral part of being a good crew member, having the traits that mean that all fellow crew members can trust you in all aspects, whether it is work related, to get the job done, or personal to hold someone’s personal confidences sacred. This also means having the integrity to be able to not only gain the trust of those around you but to keep it, when given.
- Dress and appearance– as a crew member personal hygiene is always of paramount importance since the living arrangements encompasses crew living in sometimes tight and enclosed spaces. From personal hygiene to the way your uniform looks, crew members are always judged from their personal appearance.
- Be friendly– perhaps one of the hardest traits to master. Everyone has bad days but it is important to overcome the adversity and put on a friendly personae. From fellow crew members to guests, all around you can sense a negative demeanor and will act accordingly, it could mean the difference between a positive interaction or negative between yourself and others. Especially important when dealing with guests and /or owners.
- Moderation– this applies particularly to leisure time and activities. Work consists of long hours and multiple days without days off so when the opportunity arrives for time off it is important not to lose total control. While the use of any form of drugs is totally taboo with “zero tolerance” in the marine industry, alcohol poses a set of problems for crew members that they should know and understand. Alcohol usage and addiction still remains one of the major concerns in the marine industry as a whole, and is responsible for a good many of the problems, both personal and legal that the marine industry has to contend with. As in all things, moderation is always the best advice one could give to any perspective crew member.
The marine industry offers to those interested, a wide variety of choices and locations in which to apply one self, no matter what your goals may be. The above mentioned tenets are a good guideline to assist perspective crew members in what is to be expected of them to be considered for a position and to become a- “good crew member”.
Shaun L. Preacher
Project Captain/Project Manager