Sexism in the Yachting Industry Pt. 2

With archaic views such as ‘woman belong in the kitchen’ still dominating public opinion, how can the yachting industry work to break the stereotype? Can female crew be treated as more than just a pretty face. More so, can they extend their professional perimeters beyond the galley?  


Our last article introduced the controversial subject of sexism and gender discrimination in the industry. A post published on the Palma Yacht Club Facebook page sparked a conversation about the subject. In order to understand and critically engage with the issue plaguing, not only the yachting industry but many professional spaces, is to observe how it manifests itself and why.Once we understand these contributing factors we can go about working to reverse them.


“To assume that the only females on board are stewardesses and chefs undermines those of us who have to prove ourselves well beyond our male coworkers.” This shared by a female yachtie during an online discussion about sexism.


Many job opportunities have a list of requirements applicants must adhere to. For the most part these are to safeguard and protect the passengers and crew on board. Theoretically it shouldn’t matter that the most qualified applicant for a deckhand position, for example, is a petite female. If she can execute all the responsibilities that come with her job portfolio she should be able to get the job. What often happens, however, is employers assume that because she is a woman she won’t be able to perform physical tasks as well as her male counterparts. Whether or not that is the case can never be proved because she is instantly denied the opportunity solely on the fact that she is a woman.

Worse still, she might be employed based on her looks only to be relegated to an interior job.


Instances like this may arise because captains have their own preconceptions. Other times it is because they have hired inexperienced women in the past and this has left them a bit biased. This is why acquiring skills is extremely important. The only way female crew can assert themselves in the boys club that is the yachting industry is by being over-qualified. Women  must be prepared to go over and above what is expected of them.


There are a number of courses women can complete that will put them at a competitive advantage against their male peers. Courses such as the PADI Rescue Divers Course only work to improve your resume. Should something happen that renders the captain and/or first mate unable to radio for help, the RYA/MCA VHF Radio Operation SRC Course puts you in a beneficial position. STCW Fire Prevention and Firefighting, MCA/STCW Proficiency on Medical Care On-Board and many more training courses, help in getting captains and hiring crew to change their perception about female crew.


Sexism may be an industry norm, at the moment, but there are ways to shield yourself from the offensive comments and oggling. Facebook offers no filter or monitoring system against such harassment. Services such as Crew HQ structure the recruiting process in a manner that applicants are considered on their skillset and experience. We maintain a zero tolerance when it comes to issues of sexism and gender based discrimination. By encouraging all crew and yacht workers to present themselves in a professional manner we circumvent the risk of offensive  behaviour by one Crew HQ member to another. Captains and hiring crew that use our system are able to filter for crew by qualifications, language and ultimately contact the best qualified person for the job directly. This forms our company mission of contributing towards a yachting industry that is Meritocratic.

Our third, and last, installment of the Sexism series will look at how men are discriminated against and/or play into the gender biased that is evident in the industry. We will look at when, if ever, men are ill-treated, objectified and sexualised because of their gender and how they can go about changing this.