There is no doubt that there are many positives to working in the Superyacht Industry; worldwide travel, financial benefits, career development, life experience, long-term friendships and career progression, however, it is currently missing a defined response surrounding the management of crew who are all ‘at risk’ of developing psychological issues from exposure to traumatic events and work-related stress.
It is not uncommon for Crew to be exposed to all manner of incidents whilst operating within the industry, either aboard or ashore, typically these may include accidental death, accidents resulting in serious injury, suicide, assault and harassment. In addition to these, the build-up of stress that working at sea can generate due to long hours, isolation, lack of rest and living in a confined space equally impacts crews’ mental health, adding to the need for Resilience Training.
Many yachts follow MLC2006 which has improved standards for crew, but we believe more should be done, industry wide, to support mental wellbeing. Most yachts are not equipped or aware of how to provide support. It is widely known that a reactive response to an incident is often too little too late, and as such, those in charge are left to manage the impact this lack of coping strategy presents by those affected. A proactive stance to Resilience Training has proven to be of great benefit in such circumstances, it avoids further stress should yachts find themselves in a position when professional support is not readily available, be that in remote areas or alongside when cultural or language barriers may present obstacles in gaining the help needed.
Duty of care – crew welfare
SAFETY – early identification and an effective response to those in need of mental health support by way of CRT, may be the key differentiator to a safe working environment rather than not. Crew who are dealing with a mental health problem and who do not feel able to address this, may be more likely to make an error of judgement which could be catastrophic whilst at sea, putting them and others at high risk of injury or death.
NO STIGMA – supported and trained CRT Practitioners provide individual yachts with a confidential ‘go to’ peer to peer resource aboard for those suffering with mental health difficulties and don’t know how to approach the issue without stigmatising themselves, which in their minds may lead to the loss of their job should they speak out in an uncontrolled environment.
PEER SUPPORT – easily accessible trained CRT Practitioners aboard with shared experiences will offer peer to peer support where before there was none. Support is offered by people who understand the job and the difficulties associated with that job. These are often the best people to identify and support those crew members who might be having difficulties. When crew engage in wellness initiatives together, they have a shared purpose which builds camaraderie.
PRODUCTIVITY – healthy, happy crew can physically perform better because they have more energy, they are also more efficient and focused.
RETENTION/REPUTATION – if a yacht acknowledges the importance of CRT, it sends a strong message to both their clients/guests and the crew community that welfare and development aboard is taken seriously which in turn will attract new charters/guests, crew members and increase the retention of those already employed.
MANAGEMENT COMPANIES – can upsell this new initiative to prospective clients in order to win new business, the driver being ‘duty of care’ under their management. If committed to investing in CRT for their fleet crew, it will send a positive message to the industry community that a support process is in place aboard their managed yachts which reflects a strong duty of care.
SAVINGS – there could be possible insurance premium stability if a management company and or yacht are seen to be actively attempting to mitigate risk and there are many detailed reports offering insight into the high cost to employers of failing to address and support mental wellbeing in the workplace.
AHEAD OF THE GAME – early adopters would be market leaders should they engage and commit to CRT
SUPPORT – a structured chain of command can be put in place where CRT Practitioners are able to discuss issues with trained CRT Managers ashore, for example, in the form of DPA’s or HR teams. This demonstrating and putting into practice a prepared response to mental wellness issues raised in the event of need.
Whilst some yachts may offer reactive support, providing support at earlier, preventative stages of the employee journey may achieve a higher return on investment.
Crew are a major asset to any yacht and this is where investment should be focused. Crew who are well cared for will invariably want to commit long term to the yacht and perform their best, saving both time and money.
Enable your crew members to be resilient.
DETECT . INTERVENE . MANAGE
ISWAN is an organisation which promotes and supports the welfare of seafarers worldwide.
We are helping to promote their fundraising efforts to produce an online toolkit which will provide superyacht crew with a direct line to free 24-hour emotional support, guidance and useful health and welfare resources – Yacht Crew Help. It will be a great ‘add-on’ to our Crew Resilience Training, aligning perfectly with our objective to provide more ways in which to support yachts and all their crew.