Law Abiding Citizen

The life of a yachtie can be quite exciting. You travel to some of the most beautiful places on earth, experience yearlong summers, keep the company and serve the worlds rich and famous. It sounds, for the most part, like a blissful existence. It would shock you to realize that just fewer than 10% of sea men and women who participated in a Seafarers Rights International (SRI) Criminal Survey have faced criminal charges during their careers.


Pollution, disorderly conduct such as public intoxication and drunk while on duty, as well as failure to adhere to port regulations are all crimes crew members underestimate the severity of. Results of the SRI survey revealed 9.76% of seafarers with a criminal record were charged with pollution, 8.3% breached port regulations and 8.13% were charged for drug abuse.


8.94% were crew members who were at fault which resulted in a fatality.

With the influx of boat crashes in recent news it is evident that the yachting industry has a negligence issue that needs immediate attention. Similarly; as a crew member, being locked up for petty crime isn’t worth risking your job and tainting your record and reputation forever.

It’s difficult to say what the punishment for these charges is because every country deals with law breakers in the manner they see fit.


Statistically 5 out of every 50 crew members have a criminal record. 4 out of those 5 have either been drunk/high on the job, or they have been culpable in an incident where a fellow crew member lost their life. This doesn’t seem too threatening until you find yourself on a 16 crew Super Yacht with a great chance of having at least one criminal offender on your team. Vigilance must be exercised in order to spare ourselves and each other.


There are few things more traumatizing than being arrested in a foreign country, miles from loved ones who would help and support you.

Crew member revealed that as many as 88.6% of those who had faced criminal charges felt they were treated unfairly and were unsure of what their offences were. They admitted that their legal rights were never explained to them. Alarming this may be, rather safe than sorry. It would be in your best interests to read up on local laws to make sure you are at no risk of implicating yourself. If you keep your head down, concentrate on serving your passengers and don’t cause too much commotion on your nights off or days out you should be fine. Remember that you are a visitor and that you need to respect the laws of the land you are docked in for the few days you are there.


Sometimes things happen that are out of your control. It could be a gross misunderstanding and you find yourself in a legally compromising position. This is why it is extremely important that you make sure you are covered. In the past the assumption was that the employer and crew of the yacht were represented by the same legal team however that has changed in recent years. The Crew HQ Directory has a number of dedicated legal minds that you can reach out to should you ever need their assistance. Ensuring you don’t jeopardize your legal freedom and untainted record is worth the expense.


“Stay out of trouble” is one of the first things we are taught by our parents. When we are young we’re sure it’s because they don’t want us having fun. As we become older we appreciate their wisdom because we better understand that our actions have far reaching and potentially devastating consequences. A moment of recklessness isn’t worth your criminal offence looming over you the rest of your life. Think twice before you do something you know is illegal. Heck, think thrice to be on the safe side.