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Is the “A” typical crew demographic troublesome?
Posted: Monday, August 16, 2010 9:14 PM
Is the “A” typical crew demographic troublesome? I’ve worked on yachts long enough to know crew can be their worst enemy. Drunkenness, drugs, promiscuity and poor work ethics are literally changing the face of the industry. Large yachts are well known for employing Asian crew and this trend is spreading across the fleet. The greatest majority of Asian crew I know and have worked with are very “Grateful to have a JOB”, rarely buck the system and get on with their work. Some owners employ entry level Asian crew because they are cheap, this simply is not fair and I am very surprised this topic has not been brought up before. Nevertheless each entry level crew member worth his/her salt improves and very quickly discovers their earning potential and starts moving up the ladder very nicely if they maintain a solid work ethic and methodically build their skills, experience and qualifications. Does other crew see this positive tread for Asian crew? I encourage all people to come into yachting and I am an advocate for equal pay scales for all nationalities. A person’s ethnicity and home currency should not dictate their salary; it should only be their performance on the job and qualifications that determine individual pay scales.
An Owner
Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 2:53 AM
Joined: 15/01/2009
Posts: 53

I believe the topic doesn't come up more often because the premise that owners hire Asians because they work cheap borders on ridiculous by my own way of thinking. If that were the case the industry would be populated with Hondurans, El Salvadorians and Nicaraguans. If I wanted to splurge I could get Mexican nationals from their own shores for the same thing per week that illegals make in a day in the US. Now, if my objective were focused entirely on work ethic, I would head to Israel and hire nothing but them because I can assure you that you will find no greater work ethic on earth.

Here's reality for you. First, I don't hire my crew, my captain does. I simply set the standards for those who she does hire and she in turn gives me a degree of input to the interior crew. (Actually, she introduces them to me before she tells them they are hired so maybe input isn't the right word) The standards are really very simple but one of them is not what they cost according to nationality. We, (and I don't know anyone who does) do not have a scale that says, hire the girl from Hong Kong she workie cheap. It is simply the very best person, or the ability to become the very best person in the industry, in their field. Being an American I have no doubt that she would like nothing more than to hire as many Americans as possible, but that does not over ride my standards for hiring. Other Captains may not have that restriction and might just feel free to surround themselves with fellow countrymen  due to cultural and linguistics reasons. It makes sense and there isn't anything evil about it. It is human nature.

If you ever sit down some time with your Captain, Accountant or Purser and get a detailed look at the annual budget and expenditures for your boat, I think you would be rather shocked to find out that the money an owner would save by hiring the cheapest labor he could find would be minimal at best. A constant churn of cheap labor has hidden costs that can be devastating over a period of 5 to 10 years.

P.S. Did I mention that we do not use Crew agencies? We recruit, based largely on word of mouth and the recommendations of our own crew. I wonder if any of the boats that hire nothing (according to you) but Asian have such a policy? Could it be they don't know anyone other than their own countrymen?

My point is, and I wish some of you would get it through your thick heads, that owners are just people. Not evil bastards out to screw someone just to save a nickel. We don't wake up in the morning and ask ourselves, "Who can I discriminate against today?" Most of us take a greater degree of pride in our crew than they would ever dare let on and most of us like people very much, no matter where they come from.  

Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 9:35 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Asians ? Troublesome ? Ive got nothing against Asians, they are working on yachts all around me.... friendly, helpful, hard working , serious and respected. Will they in future become dominant in yachting. I don't think so. On yachts I dont hire crew for the boat, I hire crew for the owner. Cultural and linguistic considerations are paramount. It would be ridiculous to expect the owner or guests, relaxing on holiday, to constantly shift languages to communicate. Not all of us work on English speaking yachts. This is the reason why yachting is an international business. Crew nationality respects the cultural and linguistic profile of the owner and guests. This is also the origin of the wide range of salary and benefit packages often noted by yachties . Compensation normally follows accepted guidelines of the owners home country. If I were you Id find something else to contemplate when viewing future yachting challenges. .......the acute shortage of large berths, the MLC, intrusive Visa enforcement, Carbon trading........
Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 6:09 PM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 134

There is no excuse for pay scales according to ethnicity, but pay scales according to national standards (according to where the person is from/ lives) is an accepted practice in all multinational businesses.

Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 7:25 PM
Joined: 18/04/2010
Posts: 1

"I’ve worked on yachts long enough to know crew can be their worst enemy. Drunkenness, drugs, promiscuity and poor work ethics are literally changing the face of the industry." I'm not sure this is relevent to your argument, universally true (it certainly doesn't happen on my boat) or restricted to one specific demographic - if that is what you are getting at. All nationalities and demographics within them experience abuses in the above. ""Some owners employ entry level Asian crew because they are cheap, this simply is not fair and I am very surprised this topic has not been brought up before."" - Perhaps you are looking at this back to front. Perhaps these owners don't hire Asians because they are cheap, but offer very low wages and only Asians can afford to apply. When I worked in the city two white male colleagues did the same job but earned significantly different wages. Is that any more fair? But if they have both agreed to the terms and conditions and are happy with their wages is there really a problem?
Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 7:50 PM
Joined: 27/07/2008
Posts: 96

A fair days pay for a fair days work, definitely. and my preference would be for all my crew to be paid the going rate. An owner, junior, and Chrislewis all make good points and I am sure that most of us wish we worked for "An owner", Juniors point comes from his end of the yachting spectrum where there has to be social interaction between all the crew and the guests due to the limited amount of space available but does not apply necessarily to yachts over 1000 GRT. and this is where the point made by CL comes in, in a purely menial position should a seafarer be paid more to work on a yacht than  his countrymen are paid on a cargo ship or cruise-liner ? Then there is the question of the purchasing power of your salary at home, $3000 a month in Australia or W.Europe will not go far if you are trying to raise a family, but for a Filipino it is a very good salary. Therefore on very large yachts it is understandable that there may be a 2 tiered pay regime, with hopefully all concerned happy with their lot.

Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 7:11 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

I only personally know of one big yacht with a Filipino crew gang. 5 if I remember correctly. . The same gang returns season after season. The British mate told me that they would not be ale to operate the yacht without this crew continuity. I didn't inquire about pay scales but this yacht is a high profile charter yacht so I would expect their working conditions are correct. And for those who worry about pay scales being depressed, I remind you that all foreign crew depress pay scales. The port in which we own a berth and winter is punishingly expensive. When a locally sourced stewardess asks 3000 euro a month, it legitimately reflects her cost of living. A young SA kid willing to work cheaper, while out to see the world , affects her wage bargaining position.
Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 6:20 PM
Joined: 20/07/2009
Posts: 8

Actually I have just spent 5 months in Hong Kong driving the boss' new yacht, and his other 45 metre is completely Asian. The reason for this is threefold: Language (the owner is Chinese), loyalty, and work ethic. I have seen these guys do six weeks at a time with 1 day off and still smile. They get paid according to their qualifications and EXPERIENCE. All of them have 10 years + on yachts and the Asian captain has been with the owner for more than 30 years. The owner treats them all as he treats us on his 'Western' yacht and we too are paid according to our qualifications and experience. The next time you look at an Asian crewmember think of the fact that maybe they may actually have the experience and qualifications after all, and it is not an ethnic issue. The boss' other captain I would go to sea with any day and twice on sundays. Can you say that about your captain, be they Asian, Kiwi, American, Aussie or Brit?

Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 6:24 PM
Joined: 20/07/2009
Posts: 8

Another note, I completely agree with Junior. Captains hire crew according to ability, experience, qualifications, linguistic abilities, and the Owner's requirements. My client has two good sized yachts, and we are all treated the same regardless of ethnicity.

Posted: Friday, August 20, 2010 5:22 PM
Fisrt of all to:
an owner, if your thougts aand words are not that, just words!!! ( can i work with you sir, please sir) jokes apart. 100% right.
when i was a comecial diver laying some pipes ( 2º  team leader) the Captain of the vessel invited us for the completion dinner....... To my great astonishment He was getting paid 1852 Euros a month less than i was (yes danger money) for me, but my house in spain cost 4 times more than his in Dubrovnik, but mine has only onebedroom and no  views. his is astonishing.
Did he complain... no
was i more certified than him.  yes and no, he drives the boat i dive off
¿ does that answer your question?
Cheap crew make a boat loock bad, in every marina you see them and you know it.
By the way i have been 1 year out off work and the offers i have had are just to laugh at. That his why i am still shore based.

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