Making Sure Rotations Run Smoothly

Human beings are creatures of habit. If change can be, it is avoided at all cost. A vessel is never more tense than when the on-board labour staff are anticipating a crew rotation. However, the hand-over must be fluid and seamless. It isn’t worth compromising the service the guests receive.

The yachting industry like any industry is about pleasing your boss. And as a crew member; your boss is the Captain. So imagine you’ve spent weeks at sea, shamelessly befriending them only to find out that in a few days you’re going to have to start the process all over again with someone new.

Frustrating right?

Well... what if the new Captain is a rigid and ruthless leader, unafraid to axe anyone who doesn’t meet his standards? You and the rest of the crew have built up a unique rhythm and the new Captain is a threat to that relationship.

Perhaps the Chef has changed and the standard of food has dropped. Maybe you are the new Deckhand and you’re finding you can’t quite get into the swing of things. All these stressors can result in a shaky transition that could easily be avoided if you:

RESPECT the new crew member rotating in. Whether they are filling in a position above or below you in the pecking order; coming into a new space where you’re the odd one out can be quite daunting. If the person feels like they are being welcomed as part of the team they will work to earn everyone’s favor. Similarly, if you’re the new staff member don’t arrive with a chip already on your shoulder. You will alienate yourself from the rest of the crew.

RESEARCH. If you want to get in the new Captains good graces, maybe get some background on how he used to do things on the yacht he led before yours. If he’s a good leader he may not change things immediately but he will notice and appreciate your efforts. Conversely, and especially if you are assuming a Chef position, make sure you know what is popular and preferred. It is a huge disrupt when guests complain about the food being different and not to their taste. So ask about the previous menu, about the previous Chefs prep procedure etc so that the notice of change be as subtle as possible.

REVEAL things about yourself. Talk about your experiences on your last boat without bragging or comparing. The crew on your yacht won’t respond to your arrogance well, instead will ice you out. Remember you’re trying to make a connection. You form a cog in the machine so it’s imperative that you all work as a team. If you are welcoming new crew REACH OUT. Remember how you felt when you first started and everyone already had their cliques. Make them feel at home. Because for the most part it will be.

And lastly, be PATIENT. You can’t expect things to change to accommodate you overnight. The crew won’t welcome you with open arms after day, it won’t happen after two either. If you put your head down and work they will begin to appreciate your work ethic. Similarly if you find a balance between professional procedure and personal connection the new crew members will begin to find their feet and open up organically.

Transitions are tricky. They are awkward and suffer mishaps. But if you’re lucky enough to be part of an existing team, or joining as a new crew member, that works as a team. Crew rotations will no longer be the nightmare they used to be.