Yacht Crew Well Being at the YACHTNEEDS crew party for superyacht crew

Yacht Crew Well-being: Finding Support and Building Community in the Yachting World

To outsiders, yachties have it all, travelling the world aboard luxury vessels, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, and cashing in on a handsome monthly paycheck. But for many, these assumptions could not be further from the truth. Yacht crew well-being is a significant concern in this industry. While a career in yachting can offer a good mix of excitement, unique experiences, professional development, personal growth and an abundance of travel opportunities, the yachtie lifestyle can have a dark underbelly.

For many, a typical day-to-day can be a 16-hour (or longer) high-pressure shift, with little to no breaks, capped with an oh-too-short night’s sleep before repeating, day after day. Even on a well-managed yacht with fair breaks and a mindful work/life balance, there are still the inevitable stresses of crew tensions, loneliness, homesickness, and personal demons. It’s no wonder that an alarming number of crew are reporting a decline in mental health.

As we gear into the busy Mediterranean summer season this month, we want to remind yacht crew to speak up when feeling low. To find a community and to get support when it’s needed.

Connect With Yachting Communities

Crew from charter superyachts meeting at an event in Antibes

No matter what size yacht you find yourself on, it’s common to feel lonely in this industry. It can be tough forming strong bonds with other crew members, and with limited contact with friends and family back home, life onboard can feel isolating. Community is a major component of our mental health, so feeling connected to a collective of like-minded people is extremely important to our well-being. Luckily, several yachtie communities exist that aim to bring together crew and create a sense of belonging within the industry.

Lost and Found Crew

Lost and Found Crew organised skiing trip for yachties

The Lost and Found Crew are a community of united yachties with the aim of making connecting with other crew members the simplest it’s ever been. They organise meet ups and events such as their recent Meribel ski trip and their easy to use chatboard ‘The Crew Mess’ connects you to a community of over 1300 yachties all chatting daily. Use it to find out who’s around when you come into port, get advice and support from other crew, members, see new job postings, network with crew from across the industry, and find out about the latest yachtie events.

Yachties Run Wild

Female superyacht crew members enjoying a run organised by Yachties Run Wild

Based in Palma, this all-girls run club and fitness community meet every Wednesday at 6 pm. The girls turn the streets of Palma pink with over 20 runners and walkers of all levels of fitness most weeks. After a gruelling effort, the girls usually cool down with a refreshing drink or two and girlie chat at a local bar. The usual meet point is next to STP Shipyard, but check them out on Instagram for full details if you fancy joining them.

Superyacht Events

Superyacht crew at the YACHTNEEDS Marketplace crew event in Port Vauban

Attending yachtie events is a great way to build new connections and become more involved in the yachting community. These gatherings provide opportunities to meet others who might be facing similar challenges and can become a support system to help you through difficult times. From the start of season shindigs like the famous YACHTNEEDS marketplace and Port Vauban crew party to lavish black tie events such as the inaugural Blue Ducks charity fundraiser event that raises funds and awareness to support ISWAN and Yacht Crew Helpline. Be sure to check out DockWalk and Yachtie World, to keep up-to-date with all the upcoming events this season. Both are fantastic at listing all the relevant parties.

Helplines for Yacht Crew Well-being

A crew member from a charter superyacht using a helpline

If you’re feeling low or have particular concerns and do not feel comfortable opening up to someone onboard, there are other options. ISWAN and Yacht Crew Help run free and confidential helplines that are open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Both make it easy to connect by offering help via phone, email, WhatsApp, and online chat services. They are there to help with anything and everything, including mental well-being, job worries, safety concerns, bullying and harassment, contract issues, Repatriation, and much more. You can find all their contact details below:

Seafarer Help Website
Telephone: +44 20 7323 2737
Email: [email protected]

Yacht Crew Help Website
Telephone: +44 204 713 7273
Email: [email protected]

Another organisation addressing these issues is The Blue Ducks Foundation, which tackles the unique mental health challenges faced by yacht crew members. Through initiatives, fundraising events, and awareness campaigns, they ensure crew well-being in the yachting community. Crew members are encouraged to reach out for support, and industry professionals can get involved by donating and contributing to this vital cause.

Career Support

The SuperYacht References Crew Development and Mentoring system

For some, self-doubt can be a crippling issue, and with the demanding and unending nature of the job, finding guidance, support, and mentorship can prove difficult. Thankfully, outside career support is available. SuperYacht References offers a free coaching and mentoring program suitable for all levels of crew. Their expert team will delve into your strengths and weaknesses and work with you to create career plans and set goals to build you a clear career development plan. They also act as a resource for advice and offer a safe space to discuss stressful, work-related problems, promising to listen, identify the root of an issue and work together to find a solution to any concerns you may have.

Self Management

Superyacht crew members reaching out hands for support

If you are feeling stressed, anxious or a low of any kind it’s important to recognise this feeling. There are so many types of support available and sometimes it’s a matter of finding what works best for you. Educating yourself better on recognising this feeling in yourself and others and learning how to navigate hard times can be invaluable. An increasing number of mental health courses are offered both online and in person.

Yacht Crew Academy offers several courses around mental health, including the Mental Health Awareness course, designed to equip yacht crew with a raft of coping mechanisms and the tools to drive change in the industry. There are also more in-depth courses like the Mental Health First Aider and the Captains’ Mental Health. We believe these courses to be invaluable to yacht crew, especially for those in senior roles. They are structured to not only equip you with skills and knowledge to keep your own mental health balanced but also to recognise, help and guide others who may be struggling.

If you feel talking to a licenced therapist could be what works for you but can’t take time away from the yacht, apps like BetterHelp put you in direct contact with therapists around the globe who will work with you on your terms. BetterHelp makes therapy more accessible by providing remote sessions via phone calls, video chats or even messaging and live chat, whichever you feel most comfortable with.

One of the most effective yet underestimated mental health enhancers is exercise. While we see exercise as a means to enhance their physical attributes, many forget it’s a powerful medicine for the mind. Endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, the body’s natural mood boosters, are produced at high levels during physical activity. It also helps to lower cortisol levels (stress hormones) and boost sleep, confidence, self-worth, and energy levels. If you’re not sure where to start, there are tons of free body weight and small space workouts available on YouTube. Try skipping for 20 minutes, or go out for a fast-paced walk and take in the sights and fresh air.

Taking care of our mental health is crucial when working in such a demanding and fast-paced industry. Prioritising and encouraging self-care and creating safe spaces onboard for crew should be basic principles for any superyacht. If you or you suspect another crew member is struggling, reach out to a senior member of the crew. If speaking to someone onboard seems impossible, contact Yacht Crew Help or Seafarer Help. Don’t keep it in. Speak up and be heard. Reach out to us at [email protected] if you’d like to get the word out about any other yacht crew communities, and we’ll help spread the word.

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