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ISS Leadership Series addresses crew welfare and retention

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

Work-life balance is a struggle for crew.

The International Superyacht Society’s Education Leadership Seminar Series was held on Wednesday at The Canopy by Hilton in downtown West Palm Beach ahead of the Palm Beach International Boat Show.

ISS’s leadership series aims to address issues in the yachting industry that owners, captains, crew, and other professionals in the yachting world are facing. Wednesday’s series included a seminar focused on crew welfare, the lack of available and qualified crew, and crew retention on board. The seminar featured five panelists and was moderated by Graeme Lord, founder of Fairport Yacht Support with over 18 years of experience in the marine industry, including seven years as a chief engineer.

“To know how to pour an awesome cocktail and to know how to put out a lithium fire, that’s a lot,” Lord said about the increase in expected responsibilities for crew. “The demands that have been put on the crew have grown significantly.”

Lord mentions this example to not only highlight the skills a crew member must now possess, but to also segue into the issues that these increases in responsibilities impact, like hours of work versus rest and off-the-job training.

Capt. Kelly Gordon, one of the panelists, believes a better balance between work and personal time would help crew welfare. Gordon compares the “9 to 5” employees of businesses that some yacht owners own to crew members, noting that some owners’ expectations between the two seems flawed.


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