Advice for yacht crew working through the corona-crisis

Written by Laura Nicholls

As the effects of COVID-19 continue to take on a new shape each day, many crews have experienced changes in their salary and employment terms. Along with a mixture of emotions comes the need for professional advice and so, the tenth SuperYacht Times Webinar gave an educated view on how the drastically shortened seasons will affect yacht crew. Sharing their experiences and advice is Captain David Pott of the 56.2-metre The Wellesley, Laurence Lewis, Director of YPI Crew, Lawyer Tom Axton of Jaffa & Co and A.J. Anderson, Wright Maritime Group’s CEO.  

Seek guidance  

Shipping agents will have the resources to help crews with country-relevant information. Plus, agents will be able to advise on the possibility of travelling through borders and what travel forms/documents are required to do so. The website of Nautilus, the International Union, features many reputable resources for crew, especially regarding employment advice.  Yacht crew in actionPhoto: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesCollaborate to change contract terms

Members of crew who are concerned about changes in their employment contracts, and owners who are worried about doing these changes correctly, should make these changes collaboratively where possible. By working together, worries are eased and future risks are minimised.   Yachts at Monaco Yacht Show 2019Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesConsider the reputation of the yacht 

The way the yacht has been operated and how crew have been looked after during a crisis will be a legacy that will carry on with the yacht. It's important that post-corona, the yacht remains a desirable place for guests and future crew.  Life Saga yacht by Admiral in MonacoPhoto: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht Times

Review precautions for charter guests

Assuming a MYBA charter agreement has been used, there is a requirement for charter guests to present that they are healthy in order to come on board. Even so, yachts may like to revisit the standard terms and look more closely at what charter guests are asked to provide before their trip. Future charter guests could have to provide the results of their COVID-19 tests, much like the crew are doing, plus extra hygiene and protection measures could be incorporated into the daily onboard procedures. As well as flag states offering information, the IMO has recently published a stringent set of protocols for anyone joining ships.  COVID-19Photo: Claudio SchwarzEstablish crew testing and social distancing routines

All owners and operators will want to show that they are doing their best to maintain a healthy crew and have appropriate measures in place. These measures could include testing certificates, daily temperature logs and social distancing plans, such as crew spread out into guest staterooms and rented properties for isolation before and after being on board. At the moment, crews are able to get tested at various points: such as before or after a crossing. Blood tests can be obtained via a prescription or a GP can be contacted to arrange a test, but if having recently travelled, it may be advised to wait a few days in case of any recent and undetected exposure to the virus.  

Yacht crew during the Monaco Yacht Show 2019Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht Times
Think about investing in new skills  

With an increased request for onboard nurses in light of the corona-crisis, this could become more standard in the industry. Chefs have and will be working on board and catering more, as even if restaurants are open, owners and guests may not feel inclined to go out.  Seven Sins yacht anchored off AnguillaPhoto: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesBe ready for the season to pick up again   

With captains feeling more comfortable about crew recruitment, the market for crewing is already moving again. Some companies are receiving requests for yachts to be used as early as late-June.  

This article was extracted from the tenth SuperYacht Times Webinar. All past and future SuperYacht Times Webinars can be found in the programme here.



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