Jess Ayling’s Career in Yachting

Jess Ayling is no ordinary Purser. This young lady started out as a deckhand and impressively worked her way up the ladder, gaining her OOW in the process. Her passion for her job is palpable, injecting an aspect of care into the industry that is oftentimes absent. She opens up about her career in yachting and how her journey took her from deckhand to Purser.

Did you always want to get into yachting?

Originally I considered yachting a kind of ‘stop gap’ before I went to university. I genuinely thought I would be in the industry for a couple of years. I had no idea the journey I was about to undertake. Thirteen years later I’m still here and I have no regrets.

What made you choose the deck route vs. interior when starting your yachting career?

There was no question that I would go the deckhand route when I first got into yachting. Growing up sailing, diving and driving boats,  it was a complete no brainier. Back in 2008, it was still quite uncommon to have female deckies. The yacht agents tried to convince me I should go for deck/stew roles. The best piece of advice I was given was to stick to my guns and tell them I only wanted to be considered for a full deck role. After being told I would struggle, I proved them wrong by having seven solid job offers after 2 days in Antibes, I joined my first yacht a couple of weeks later in Mexico.

What was it like working your way up on deck?

It was so much fun, I loved the comradery that comes with being on deck. I learnt to be tough and take a lot of jokes, however, at the same time I have only ever felt truly respected by the men I have worked with. Unfortunately, I know this is not always the case, and misogyny is still very prevalent in Yachting. As a female, I felt things get slightly more difficult when I wanted to start climbing the ladder and asking for more responsibility. There is a huge appeal of having a female deckhand. However, they become more sceptical when it comes to a female in a leadership role over a team of men. You certainly have to work twice as hard, study and get all your tickets before you are taken seriously.

Tell us what made you transition from a Second Officer to a Purser Role?

I was in a time of my life where I was unsure what direction I wanted to take in yachting, I loved being Second Officer however I knew I did not want to become a Captain. I had been playing with the idea of being a Purser as there are many transferable skills. I Spoke to one of the lovely ladies at Wilson Halligan for some advice, and they gave me the courage to go for it and put my CV out there.

Who has been a mentor/support for you in your yachting career?

My current Rotational Captains have been an invaluable part of my career growth as Purser and I have a great working relationship with them both, they are so encouraging. Throughout my entire career my sister, Nicki Ayling, who was also in the yachting industry for many years has always been someone I’ve looked up to as a strong female dominating in a male field.

What challenges do you face working as a Purser?

The past couple of years of ‘COVID madness’ has been extremely challenging as a Purser, I feel like I have learnt so much in a short space of time. I have learnt to prioritise and handle anything that is thrown in my direction and I simply do not sweat the small stuff anymore. Another huge thing I have to consistently work on is handling my emotions in a high-pressure role. I really care about my job, and the crew, but sometimes you have to try and detach as you can get overburdened by others’ expectations of you. When you are under pressure it’s easy to feel like this.

The only other huge challenge I face is coming down for lunch without being bombarded with questions about crew flights… but I guess that comes with the territory.

How do you feel about the future of the industry?

I am hoping to see some positive sustainable changes as we become more aware of the impact our actions have on the planet. COVID has made people evaluate what is really important.

What has been your favourite thing about yachting throughout your yachting career?

There are too many highlights for me and I have been to some unbelievable places and had unforgettable experiences. My absolute favourite thing is the people I’ve met and knowing that I now have friends all around the world to visit (when we can all travel again).

What is next in the pipeline for you?

Yachting has been my life since I was a green deckhand at the tender age of eighteen. I am currently lucky to be employed on a fantastic vessel so I’m really happy where I am right now. If and when things change I would still love to work around the industry somehow although I am not sure in which capacity.

What advice would you give young ladies looking to start their yachting career with regards to which path to take?

I would say I am a testament to the fact that if you are not sure which direction to go, you can always change your mind later on. A career in yachting is incredible and if you work hard you will reap the rewards, so go for it!

It’s clear that we can expect great things from Jess. As for her career in yachting, I doubt we’ll see the last of it for some time to come. Thanks for making the industry a better place Jess!

Limiting beliefs

Limiting Beliefs and How They’re Holding You Back

Why is it that some people are so successful and others are not? Sure there are sometimes extenuating circumstances that put others ahead but there are also those who seem to beat the odds. The majority of the time, it comes down to mindset. We can only achieve what we believe. Limiting beliefs are thoughts, opinions that one believes to be the absolute truth. They tend to have a negative impact on one’s life by stopping them from moving forward and growing on a personal and professional level. 

Examples are: “I’m bad with money”, “Every time I try and change, I fail”, “Work isn’t meant to be a joy”. These are just thoughts, and through continued affirmations they became beliefs. Our tendency to interpret new information as confirmation of our pre-existing beliefs is called confirmation bias, which means that we often believe what we want to believe.

Everyone has the potential to achieve great things, no matter their circumstances. But fear often holds up back, we tell ourselves stories, play it safe and only end up living half a life. We create stress and internal conflict by holding ourselves back from our true calling. When we change our stories to create a new truth about who we really are, then we start to feel happy and fulfilled. But why and how does this occur?

How Self-belief originates

Up until the age of seven, we operate in brain wavelengths that closely resemble a hypnotic state, according to Dr Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief. This is where most of our limiting beliefs are formed. I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying kids are like sponges? They soak up and record everything around them including “bad” and “good” behaviours and emotions. 

When a child is treated with love and made to feel wanted, this turns into the belief that they are valued. Contrary to that, if a child is neglected or abused they will grow up with the belief that they are unwanted and undeserving. These will become their limiting beliefs. If you’ve ever heard that little voice in your head telling you can’t be or do something, that’s a limiting belief. Those thoughts are exactly that, just thoughts. They are not realities.

As humans, we are constantly aiming to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. This includes avoiding negative emotions like frustration, anxiety, anger etc. Limiting beliefs act as a defence mechanism to avoid these emotions. Often they are triggered by situations where you have experienced suffering in the past. You change your behaviour because your subconscious is trying to prevent this. It often ends, ironically in other negative outcomes such as procrastination, imposter syndrome, overthinking etc.

How to Take Back Control of Your Limiting Beliefs
  1. If you find yourself feeling fearful or resisting an activity, stop and be aware. You’re currently in a state of ‘low mood’ thinking.
  2. Write it down! What is it that you think you cannot do? Try and identify exactly why you are feeling that way. Understand that what you are thinking is not necessarily true.
  3. Look for evidence. Why aren’t you able to achieve XYZ? Are these legitimate reasons or just excuses? Are you able to overcome these? Is it just difficult and you are not willing to? That is also ok but it doesn’t mean you can’t.
  4. Be accountable. Thoughts and feelings come and go, they are not that truth about who you are. There are plenty of tools to help you combat negative emotions like stress and anxiety, use them! A brain is a powerful tool, you are in control of a lot more than you think (limiting belief). Breathe and recentre. 
  5. Talk it out! As the saying goes, friends are better than therapy. If you find yourself having limiting beliefs, I’m sure your friends or family would be shocked to hear what you think about yourself. Find someone you trust to share your thoughts.

Of course, changing a belief doesn’t automatically result in changed behaviour, you still have to do the work. For example, change “I’m not good with money.” to “In the past, I haven’t been good with money but I am working towards changing my spending habits.” or “I am learning how to be financially responsible.” Take one step at a time. 

“The quality of your thoughts creates the quality of your life.”

If you want to change your life, something needs to change! Create new empowering beliefs to enable you to achieve much more than you originally thought possible. If you tell yourself “I can’t” or “that’s not possible”, ask yourself WHY 5 times to get to the route of that belief. It may not be possible to the extent or exactly how you picture it but I assure you, nothing is impossible.

Create a new mindset and a new narrative, become confident and courageous, what have you got to lose?

Limiting beliefs

Busy Vs Productive – Which Are You?

It’s a busy world these days, trying to be successful at work, keep an exercise regime, maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep hydrated and the list goes on! Time flies and before you know it the end of the day has arrived and you haven’t accomplished nearly as much as you thought you would. The real question is… were you productive?

In our busy world today, many of us are good at being busy but not productive. Here are 7 differences between busy people and productive people. Which group are you in? 🙂

Productive is the difference between working hard and working smart.

Great work ethic is important, it gives people the drive to get things done. Busy people are always doing something because they have this drive. However, they work hard, not smart. Their focus is very linear and often they are too “busy” to consider a better faster way of doing things. Productive people first consider how effectively they can do something and then consider being efficient. They want to achieve their outcomes the quickest way possible.

There is a difference between being efficient and being effective. Effectiveness is finding the best way to complete a task whereas efficiency is just going through the steps of completing a larger task as quickly as possible. To be as effective as possible, try automating some of the steps you need to take or eliminating them altogether if they are not wholly necessary.

Keep your eye on the big picture as well as the details

Busy people get caught up in the details. Don’t get me wrong, details are important, just not every detail of every task. Sometimes getting caught in the details will be counterproductive, you’ll be running behind, you’ll get stressed and then get even less done. Sometimes it’s more important to make a decision or get a task done and refine it later.

For example, choosing between layouts of a home page of your website when you first start out could be agonising, because they all have different draw points. Choose one, test it and refine as you get feedback! There are going to be scenarios that details are, however, extremely important to pay attention to. For example, getting your logo designed. It’s something that represents your brand in my different settings. The trick is to focus on details that will affect your outcome, if it’s going to affect your end goal, then you can be a perfectionist. If you can, outsource the rest, follow the 80/20 rule or just get rid of them!

Busy people say yes to everything. Productive people say yes/no mindfully.

You may be familiar with this one…you can just never say no! Your schedule ends up being full of things that are keeping you busy, but not necessarily adding value to your life.

Busy people never say no: they say yes to everything. As a result, they fill their schedules with things that keep them busy but don’t change their life. Productive people are very mindful of what they say yes to. Everything that is said ‘yes’ to, takes time, and that time is taken away from another possible value-adding task. Constantly saying yes to the right things, will lead you down the right path, and the one to success. The same thing for constantly saying yes to the wrong things, don’t get sedge-wayed but the shiny stuff! Stay focused on what will serve you.

Don’t get caught up in the trends

Busy people will jump onto every business trend. They hear you can make money blogging so they immediately jump into a blog. Everyone is adding an app for their business, so they get busy with this too. Productive people understand that trends are actually market movements and will come and go. They consider how much value it will add to their business before deciding to buy-in.

You are given endless choices in this day and age, but it’s important to analyse them in your context to determine if they are worthwhile. Weigh up the pros and cons, the cost analysis, and most importantly, if you actually NEED it.

Busy people don’t seem to have any time. Productive people make sure they have time to focus on the important things.

For example, setting and re-valuating your goals is just as important as working towards and achieving them. Time is a construct and hours and days of the week are labelled in order to communicate and collaborate with others accurately. Your day fills up with “to-do’s” and often others peoples “to-do’s” fall under that. You need to actively choose what you are letting into your day otherwise your time will be taken up with unproductive tasks. Productive people make time for the important things, even when they are busy.

Sometimes the thing you’re putting off the most will be the thing that has the biggest impact on your life. In business, for instance, setting and evaluating your Q2 goals is something that everyone puts off but is so important for your companies achievements.  MAKE the time.

Productive people understand that using the right tools and resources enables them to do their job effectively. Busy people try and do everything themselves.

Working on day-to-day reoccurring tasks, especially when you don’t have the expertise can be draining of both your time and mental resources. Having to learn new skills and try and do everything yourself can be extremely unproductive and disallows you from concentrating on the high-level, core tasks.

Hiring can be difficult in terms of finding the right person to do the job. However, with platforms like Fiverr, Upwork and People per Hour, outsourcing has never been easier! Read our article “The Ins and Outs of Outsourcing” to get up to speed!

The right technological tools and platforms are also extremely important. Using social media planners such as Hootsuite and Planoly or email automation such as Zapier enable you to plan ahead and execute while you get on with other work. With regards to overhead costs when running a business, these are minimal costs and enable you to maximise your time.

Busy vs Productive

Now you need to ask yourself, do you want to be busy or productive? Do you want to be effective and efficient or running around, directionless and stressed? Take a breath, analyse and reset. Just because you aren’t doing EVERYTHING, doesn’t mean you are doing nothing. Time is precious and a finite resource. Use it wisely and productively. Check out our article on Time Wasters for more tips on how to manage your time more effectively!

Luke Humphries

Captain Luke Humphries – On board Superyachts

Luke is an  Australian Master Mariner with 25 years in the game (time flies when you’re having fun!). He began in 1995 as a Deck Officer cadet in the Australian Merchant Navy spending 8 years on a variety of vessels from Tankers and Container Ships to Ferries and Bulk Carriers. This lead to time in the Oil and Gas Industry which he also continued during periods of relief work in the early days of his yachting career. For the past 17 years, he has worked in the Yachting Industry on reputable Charter and Private yachts cruising extensively worldwide. Today Luke enlightens us about his experience and journey on board Superyachts.

Your career has been long and exciting, can you tell us a little about your background and where you’re from?

I’m Australian and grew up in Tasmania spending much of my youth in a little fishing town called St Helens on the East Coast. At school, I was a jack of all trades, master of none and had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. In year 11, I saw an advert in the Australian Newspaper for ‘Careers at Sea’ with a Global mining company ‘BHP Billiton’ where they were offering cadetships for Deck and Engineer Officers, and so I started looking into it. The idea of travelling the world and training as a Deck Officer caught my attention. I would be responsible for navigation, fire, safety and medical care all whilst being paid for it! At the end of year 12, I applied to a shipping company ‘ASP Ship Management’ and was accepted in their cadet intake for 1995.

Coming from the Australian Merchant Navy, what did you find appealing about making the move to on board Superyachts? 

The change was huge, I’m not going to lie. I had worked on a variety of Cargo and Passenger ships as well as spending time in the Oil and Gas industry. I worked my way up to Chief Officer but yes, yachting was a little different. Friends of mine who I studied with as Engineers found the yachting industry a few years after we graduated in the late ‘90s. They would come back to Tasmania and tell stories of Fort Lauderdale and Antibes, the money, travel and lifestyle. They were doing extremely well and some of them were working as couples with their girlfriends from college days. My girlfriend at the time (now wife and partner of 19 years) and I spoke about the idea a few times and it was really her idea to take the plunge. She was finishing University that year and so we packed up and headed to Fort Lauderdale the following February. The original plan was to spend two years working on yachts to travel and save money for a deposit to buy a house back in Australia. As you can see the rest is history!!

How would you describe your favourite part about a career on board Superyachts?

It’s the thrill of not knowing what’s going to happen next, who you will meet, where you will travel. Also the exhilaration of pulling off the most amazing and impossible plans for the guests at the drop of a hat. It’s one of the most satisfying things for me, knowing you’ve played a part in bringing it all together by providing a special experience and blowing them away! It’s amazing!

You’ve been to some incredible destinations in your time, can you tell us about your most memorable/favourite destination and experience?

One of the most memorable was diving with a previous Owner, a drift dive on a reef shelf in the Los Aves Archipelago off the Venezuelan coast. The Archipelago was amazing, totally uninhabited and the dive spectacular in itself but, as we were diving, we heard a pod of dolphins calling nearby. We didn’t see them until almost the end of the dive when they came out to see who was playing in their backyard, amazing 🙂

What challenges do you face when travelling to remote destinations on board Superyachts?

Logistics is always so key in planning successful trips in remote locations. Typically you’re on your own so you need to think of the worst-case scenario for pretty much everything, communications, provisions, medical aid, transport, stores and spares etc. The key is having an experienced team on board who can brainstorm and draw on their collective experiences to work through and mitigate the issues as best as possible. Curveballs will always come but if they didn’t, it wouldn’t be yachting now, would it!?

As a Superyacht, what additional pressures do you face for navigating during COVID?

COVID has been extremely tough on everyone and the world is no longer the same as a result. The biggest challenge has been managing the crew during long periods away from home and listening and supporting them as much as possible in dealing with the issues the pandemic has brought to each one of us. It’s easy to forget about COVID when onboard in our ‘yacht bubble’ and in many ways, we are very lucky, however, we all need to be reminded now and again not to get complacent on board or at home in order to protect our work colleagues and families, and to manage the owner’s expectations. I feel that we are not out of the woods just yet and will be feeling the after-effects of the pandemic for years to come.

What would you say has been the most rewarding aspect of your career on board Superyachts?

I would say it’s being in a position to mentor and following the rise of the careers of those who have worked with me previously. Seeing them grow and develop from green crew to senior crew of the highest calibre and knowing you’ve played a part in that is the biggest reward.

What has been your drive for your career on board Superyachts? Did you have a mentor?

We all know that yachting is infectious and my experience is no exception. I never expected to be in it for the time that I have, however, 19 years after first dock walking in Fort Lauderdale, here I am! I have had a couple of mentors over the years and they know who they are. The one thing I will say though is that you never stop learning, every day is different and everyone you meet can teach you something.

Given the opportunity, what advice would you give a green deckie starting out in yachting who dreams of Captaincy?

Take your time, listen well, work hard and learn your craft. Soak up as much knowledge as you can from those around you, be respectful, stay true to yourself and enjoy the ride. Don’t rush and aspire to the dizzy heights before you’re ready because the easy part is getting the job, the hard part is keeping it!

And finally, what’s next for you?

The pandemic has meant extended periods away from home the past 18 months, so trying to balance work and family life and reconnect with family and friends is at the top of my list 🙂

Luke Humphries

Luke’s proven track record for successfully exceeding expectations is reflected in his history as a sought after Captain who is admired by all of those who know him, however, this is not something he takes for granted. Bringing enthusiasm, positivity, professionalism, and drive to the forefront, Luke takes pride in maintaining a vessel and her extended operations to the highest of standards. A plethora of in-demand qualities, a role-model to many, and a true industry leader; this is a Captain to aspire to.

It was an absolute pleasure chatting with you, we wish you the very best on the rest of your journey on board Superyachts!

Outsourcing

The In’s and Out’s of Outsourcing

The Ins and Outs of Outsourcing

Outsourcing essentially refers to the function of getting tasks or jobs completed outside of your organisation. It has been seeing an upward growth trend since 2014 with the market size for global outsourcing reached $92.5 billion before the pandemic. There are many different types of outsourcing and a great deal more benefits.

More than 93% of organisations are considering or have already adopted cloud services to improve outsourcing. Cloud technology allows companies to become more flexible and responsive to their markets, enabling faster global communication and growth. Contrary to popular belief, the main motivation for businesses making this move is not to lower costs by cutting jobs but to be more competitive and increase innovation.

There are many different types of outsourcing including multi-sourcing, knowledge process outsourcing, IT Outsourcing, but one of the most common being Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). This refers to outsourcing the more mundane business activities such as administration, correspondence, scheduling etc. Customer service and lead generation are also useful tasks included in BPO.

There are so many great things about outsourcing for both companies and contractors alike. It offers flexibility in terms of services provided, they can be tailored to exactly what the company requires and they are paying for those exact requirements. Flexibility is also great for contractors because although they are working within deadlines, they are often able to create their own working hours.

It is also easier to access expertise through an outsourcing company as they have vetted and screened all their employees already to ensure that they possess the correct qualifications, skills and competency to match the clients’ requirements. Although generally cheaper, this has nothing to do with the quality produced. Reduction in cost related to full-time employee expenses such as benefits. Outsourcing companies rely on their reputation and positive client reviews to remain successful in attracting future clientele so they are fully invested in creating top-quality output.

It is believed that outsourcing is only an option for large corporations, when in fact, the opposite is actually true. Outsourcing allows employees to focus on their core business operations while contractors take care of area’s they may not be experts in. Sites like Fiverr have allowed small business owners to access expertise at a fraction of the cost. With the focus being directed at core functions, there is an increase in productivity and an opportunity for company growth.

Another misconception is that businesses are more prone to data breaches if they outsource. The truth is that every major corporation is at risk. Outsourcing partners take extreme care to protect their clients’ information, often adding layers of security and constantly updating their protocol. With NDA’s, anti-virus software, cloud storage and modern tools such as YubiKeys, small outsourcing businesses as just as secure when handling sensitive information.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is not only economical and adaptable, but additionally, it promotes the opportunity for rapid growth. With cloud-based technology, it is more accessible, affordable and safer than ever. It really is a no-brainer solution for small and large companies alike.

Time Wasters

Time Wasters And How To Avoid Them

Time Wasters and How To Avoid Them

We are all about organisation! In order to get organised, you have to know where to start. There are endless tasks we have to accomplish during the day and knowing what to prioritise when can overload our decision-making thought process. Not to mention all of the distractions we experience throughout the day that derail our perfect plans. We’ve put together some time wasters and how to get around them for a more efficient and effective day.

Time waster no.1 – No time boundaries

Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time allotted for its completion.”

Remember when you had a deadline to meet and you put it off constantly. “I’ll do it tomorrow”, and tomorrow comes but you’ve got another week, right? So you leave it for another day and suddenly it’s due the day before next. You’re in a panic but you work hard and somehow manage to finish on time (and nail it!). This is because we usually don’t give ourselves enough credit and can often complete tasks faster than the time you allocated for it.

There’s a handy technique called the Pomodoro technique wherein you break up your tasks into 25-minute blocks and take 5 minutes of rest after. If your task ends up taking more than 25 minutes, evaluate your process and start again, adjusting for the next 25 minutes. You can also always set your time and challenge yourself, it makes the work exciting!

Time waster no.2 – Touching things twice

Ever heard of something called a holding pattern? You have now, and let me tell you, it’s a waste of time. Have you read a text and not replied? Opened an email or an invitation and left it for later? The time it takes to close your “task loop” is the holding pattern, and here’s what you can do about it:

Apply the 2-minute rule. If it’s going to take you 2 minutes or less, get it done there and then instead of putting it off until later. Otherwise, automate, eliminate, delegate and carry on going!

Time waster no.3 – Holding on to the past

We’ve all had that thought, “Uggg I should have done it yesterday!” or if only I had done that a week ago. It goes without saying, living in the past or the future, means you’re not here for the present.

This one goes without saying: being stuck in the past prevents you from living in the present. Immersing yourself in unnecessary drama and complaining too much won’t get you where you want to go. Dwelling on the past is literally wasting time so as much as possible, acknowledge it, learn from it, and move on.

Time waster no.4 – Indecisiveness

Taking the time to make decisions is a grey area and of course, it really depends on what kind of decision you are making! However, have you ever been out with a friend to a restaurant, you are starving and they are taking forever to decide? The longer they take, the later your meal will arrive! Same concept when making decisions in life. The more time you take to decide, the longer it will take to see results!

Sometimes it’s even better to deal with fixing a decision that was the wrong one, than never making a decision at all. What you can do is take all the important information you have RIGHT NOW and make a decision that way.

Time waster no.5 – Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking was once thought of as a skill to be revered, it was the ultimate way to get things done. Recent studies show that this isn’t the case. Switching from one high-level task to another takes your brain up to 20 minutes to refocus and identify thought processes necessary for the new task. It is both an inefficient, ineffective way to get things done.

A better method for handling your tasks is called batching or scheduling. This is when similar tasks are grouped together that can be done in sequence or at the same time when possible.

Now that you’re more aware of what can actually waste your time, you can implement these tips to help you and you’ll become an organised ninja in no time! Remember, time is the one commodity you can’t get more of in life so use it wisely!

Yacht management explained

Yacht management explained


A yacht is so much more than a rather expensive floating asset. The shiny investment comes with a whole lot of responsibility. Superyachts are essentially businesses, becoming increasingly elaborate and time-consuming, demanding a diverse team with varying skills and experiences.

Modern yachting requirements, paired with the complexities associated with global operations can be overwhelming. Evolving captains have realized that they are not the only one with the perspective to meet the owner’s needs. Why go at it alone? Outsourced yacht management provides access to a wider set of expertise than is possible to have in a crew. With various approaches to yacht management, the consistent key to success remains unwavering focus towards the clients’ best interests.

What is a yacht management company?

Envision a triangle; the three points representing the yacht owner, the yacht management company and the yacht captain/crew. Always functioning at the top, the yacht owner will determine the hierarchical dynamic between the shore-based management company and crew. A yacht management company can be a valuable partnership between the vessel, the owner, and the captain. Providing a fresh outside perspective, the management company should enhance efficiency and improve the overall guest experience. The team of experienced professionals offer support, by providing complementary knowledge, advice, resources and solutions. Not only reducing stress, a yacht management company also mitigates both financial and legal risk. Depending on the vessel’s requirements, most companies will tailor their services to management needs. Typically, the shore-based mechanism supports yacht operations with respect to accounts, technical interventions and compliance with legislative requirements.

What is yacht self-management?

Simply put, self-management is the scenario whereby the captain works directly with the owner and/or their team for all aspects of the yacht’s operation. Self-managed yachts will vary depending on the amount of detail the owner requires and how particular the captain is. Back in the day, this was the original form of yacht operations. However, with tonnage and regulatory intricacy increasing, there is a point where this model reaches a limit. Not to say it isn’t possible, however, strong caution must be exercised with this management method. Realistically, this approach is probably only an option for small or very mature operations. If engaged, a recommended external operations/management audit (above normal compliance) should be undertaken annually.

Why the need for a yacht management company?

The ownership and operation of a yacht gives rise to a number of legal, fiscal, financial, technical issues and contractual relationships. All of which require careful planning and consideration. A luxury yacht is an increasingly complex business that could land you in hot water should important responsibilities be overlooked. Not a legal requirement, but a yacht management company will take care of the headaches that come with owning a luxury yacht. Some of the hassles include safety, crew, maintenance, insurance, audits, class, flag regulation, compliance and… the list is never ending when it comes to maintaining and running a superyacht. That’s why a management solution is worth considering, taking care of the million and one tasks occurring behind the scenes on a daily basis.

What is a Flag and how do yachts decide on a Flag?

This is probably one of the most important decisions a yacht owner will have to make. Not simply a matter of patriotism or aesthetics, the flag state will dictate the law of the land, or sea in this matter. Defined, the flag state is the country or governmental entity under whose laws a vessel is registered or licensed. The chosen flag will directly impact the vessel’s privacy, taxes, exposure to liability, boarding, and overall commercial success.

The owner could choose country of residence, however the more popular choice in the superyacht world tends to be an offshore flagging. The offshore ship registry involves selecting a country whose laws are attuned to the complexities of ownership and charter operations. A good starting point is determining Good vs Bad Flags. Good flags will be on the White List maintained by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU). Flags on this list excel in the areas of safety, security and environmental protection. As a result, they aren’t on the radar which means fewer inspections from the port officers. The Paris MoU also maintains Grey and Black Lists, where the risk of ship boarding and detentions is higher.

Not to be taken lightly, choosing a flag is a matter best undertaken under counsel of a maritime attorney. Sailing under a particular flag can be a complex decision that involves sound knowledge of international maritime law. The flag state is authorized to enforce regulations related to periodic inspection, certification, and pollution prevention. It will also determine the number of days per year that the vessel needs to berth in its place of residence.

What is Gross Tonnage?

Tonnage is an important topic in the maritime and yachting industry. Significant, because it forms the basis for numerous items, including safety regulations, manning scales, registration fees and port dues.

Initially used in reference to weight, nowadays it is a measure of the volume/size or cargo capacity of a vessel. An International Tonnage Certificate (ITC), issued by the flag administration, is necessary for vessel’s greater than 24m on international voyages. The certificate exhibits tonnage, length, breadth, and depth. For vessels below 24 meters, it is at the discretion of the flag administration whether to issue a comparable certificate or document, such as a Certificate of Tonnage or National Tonnage Certificate.

What services do yacht management companies provide?

Every owner is different and has different requirements, so the management company often offers bespoke services. Typically, yacht management duties may include:

  • Liaising: This ranges from shipyards to designers and brokers.
  • Updating documents: The company ensures legal, regulatory, technical, and financial aspects are current. In the long run, this can save valuable time and unnecessary expense.
  • Yacht registration: Often, the superyacht management company advises on the implications that location has on the yacht’s commercial success and finances.
  • Accountancy: This includes budgeting and reporting. A superyacht management company can provide a dedicated financial professional who understands the nuances of yachting.
  • Assisting with finding and employing crew: This lets your captain focus on his or her priority: the safe and smooth operation of the superyacht.
  • Identifying and securing berths.
  • Ensuring safety compliance: Certainty it meets international standards.
  • Planning and managing maintenance schedules: This includes full refits.
  • Assisting with insurance: For the yacht and crew.
  • Advising and/or managing charter operations.
What is a mini-ISM?

Nothing mini about this concept, the remarkable plan could mean the world of difference. Both a requirement of the MCA and Marshall Islands commercial yacht codes of practice, a mini-ISM aids to prevent disasters and impending lawsuits. Applicable to all yachts over 300 tons, the Safety Management System (SMS) should be relative to the vessel’s requirements. Many smaller yachts will also be liable in accordance to their flag.

A Mini-ISM consists of a simple plan to:

  • Check and maintain all the safety and critical equipment on board.
  • Train the crew for the more likely emergencies that yachts can have.
  • Familiarize new crew on safety awareness and duties as soon as they join.
  • Have checklists for hazardous events, such as bunkering and leaving harbor.
  • Encourage safety awareness.
  • Ensure that those who drive tenders, watercraft, or are charged with bridge watchkeeping really are qualified and know the idiosyncrasies of the equipment they are operating.
  • Document what you do and plan to do, ensuring bases are covered ahead of an investigation.
What is a yacht/fleet manager?

A yacht/fleet manager is the primary point of contact for yacht owners to report the essentials. They are in charge of significant decisions and the overall functioning of the yacht. The following attributes and skills are vital for a yacht/fleet manage,

  • Team player
  • Good leader
  • Multi-tasker
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Solid experience in the field, ideally either a chief engineer, chief officer or a master mariner.
  • Acquainted with ISM, ISPS, Port State Control and SOLAS codes that cover safety measures and rules and regulations regarding marine vessels.
  • Well versed with the flag state laws and regulations.
Do fleets operate virtually?

2020 fast-tracked the shift from local to remote quicker than anyone would have anticipated. With the technological advancements available today, working remotely is not only easy, but also considered the “new normal” and with it comes endless opportunity. This is no different in the yachting industry. Over the last 10 years, yachting has come a long way, with an obvious shift towards a digital way of operating. Working on-board yachts, crew are now accustomed to virtual communications and technology bridging the gap between the vessel and shore-based parties.

Yachts have been operating virtually for quite some time, communicating through email, whatsapp and VSAT whilst cruising. Uniformity is key when it comes to fleet management. Secure programs like Dropbox and Google Drive ensure operations are safely speaking the same language. A virtual knowledge base also assists with accessibility and is great for sharing latest guest preferences, changes in SOP’s etc.

The pros and cons of working with a fleet?

Fleet yacht management embraces an integrated approach, combining a plethora of resources, which could boost revenue and productivity. Some of the pros and cons include,

Benefits

  • Resources: Replenishment of stock/supplies from nearby fleet.
  • Recruitment: Interchanging of crew, should a replacement be necessary, avoiding the lengthy recruitment process.
  • Support: The larger team means access to the expertise of other captains and senior crew members.
  • Emergencies: Nearby fleet could assist in the event of an emergency.

Disadvantages

  • Conflict: Different leadership and management styles may lead to conflict among captains and senior crew.
  • Decisions: Multiple personal preferences could result in delays.
  • Logistics: If fleet are not in close proximity.
  • Disgruntled crew: Insight to other work environments could result in job role comparison.
  • Loss of information: With so much communication occurring, some information tends to get a bit lost.
How can Virtual Pursers assist with yacht management?

Not a yacht management company; Virtual Pursers are an extension of your crew and act as a landbased bridge to your shoreside counterparts. The administrative pressures faced by yacht owners, captains, management companies, and even full-time Pursers, can be difficult to keep on top of. Virtual Pursers “get yachting” and understand that time is a precious commodity.

Fulfilling the role of a Purser, just virtually, the team perform a wide range of services, including; vessel and crew administration, accounting, logistics, provisioning, itinerary planning and guest concierge. With over twenty years combined experience, working for an impressive array of yachts all over the globe, the team of industry experts provide a specialized service built on the foundation of practical knowledge. To name drop, the team have worked with fleets such as M/Y Anastasia, M/Y Nirvana, M/Y Barbara, M/Y October, M/Y Tatoosh, M/Y Meduse, M/y Hampshire II. Offering remote assistance to superyachts just as ‘virtual’ becomes the standard, Virtual Pursers provide a bespoke shoreside solution with the mission to save time and alleviate stress.

With access to a skilled Purser, the benefits are far reaching and can also extend to establishing uniform operations for fleets, better preparing brokers for charter, or lending a helping hand to shipyards/marinas. No matter the size of the yacht or the extent of the need, as trusted yachting professionals, Virtual Pursers are readily available to support all vessels. Taking up no space on-board, a dedicated Purser without the overheads, Virtual Pursers are proud to offer the most cost-effective Purser solution on the market. This flexible approach is ideal for yachts that are fully crewed, have minimal space on-board, or who don’t necessarily require full-time support. Visit virtualpursers.com for more.

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). What? Why? How?

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).
What? Why? How?

Ashore, there are labour standards to protect employees. But what if you are working at sea? That is where the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) comes in. Shipping is a global industry, which explains the need for universal standards. What’s more, it is important that these standards are easy to understand, readily updateable and uniformly enforced.

What is Maritime Labour Convention?

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) is the “fourth pillar” of the IMO’s international regulatory regime for quality shipping. This international agreement of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), sets out seafarers’ rights in accordance to decent conditions of work. Commonly referred to as the ‘Seafarers’ Bill of Rights’, the convention was adopted by government, employer and workers representatives at an ILO Conference in 2006.

The MLC covers all possible working and living conditions on-board including

• Minimum age

• Seafarers’ employment agreements

• Hours of work or rest

• Payment of wages

• Paid annual leave

• Repatriation at the end of contract

• On-board medical care

• The use of licensed private recruitment and placement services

• Accommodation, food and catering

• Health and safety protection and accident prevention and

• Seafarers’ complaint handling

Why is the Maritime Labour Convention so important?

Firstly, because it brings together international minimum standards in one central place. This assists with ensuring comprehensive worldwide protection for an estimated 1.5 million seafarers. Seafarers are essential to international trade and tourism. Under the MLC 2006 every seafarer has the right to:

• A safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards

• Fair terms of employment

• Decent working and living conditions on-board a ship

• Health protection, medical care, welfare measures and other forms of social protection

Second, because it helps level the playing field. This allows fair competition for member states and shipowners operating under the flag of countries that have ratified. The goal is to ensure that adequate working conditions go hand in hand with fair competition.

Enforcing the Maritime Labour Convention

In 2013 the MLC became binding law for 30 countries. As of January 2019, a total of 90 countries ratified the MLC 2006. This means that 91% of the world’s shipping fleet is regulated.

On ratification, the state has 12 months to enforce and adhere to convention requirements. The flag state has the authority and responsibility to implement the global standards. Commercially operated ships, 500gt or over, covered by the MLC require a certificate of compliance from their flag state. The two specific documents required are the Maritime Labour Certificate (MLC) and the Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC). When ships enter the port of an MLC country, Port State Authorities will carry out an inspection for possible violations. Inspections are an important aspect of the convention and also apply to ships that don’t fly the flag of an MLC member state.

Ben Bailey, director of advocacy and regional engagement at The Mission to Seafarers reckons that the MLC has brought huge benefits to seafarers around the world. However, the fact that it is not in force everywhere means that too many crews are falling through the gap, particularly when they find themselves abandoned. A significant change to the convention would be for the international community to work to enforce the convention and to put pressure on those states which have not signed up to the MLC to do so”.

Facing MLC 2006 survey for the first time?

Here are a few important points to consider before requesting a surveyor onboard for inspection.

  • Ensure the DMLC-part-1 and DMLC-part-2, signed by the company’s DPA or manager, are always present and accessible on-board.
  • Seafarers should have the right to lodge a complaint directly with the master and also with appropriate external authorities when necessary. Ensure crew are provided with the on-board complaint procedure.
  • Ensure a signed copy of seafarer employment certificate is provided to all seafarers. Seafarer employment agreement (SEA), SEA should be in accordance with MLC 2006.
  • Collective Bargain Agreement must be available on-board. This document details all the terms and conditions of the crew employed on the ship.
  • Rest hour records, on-board work and watch-keeping schedules, must be up to date and on display.
  • Wage bill records and wage slips should be readily available with all crew in time of inspection.
  • Every vessel should have a mess committee on-board, conducting and recording regular meetings for crew suggestions and improvement of food prepared. Records must be available for the inspection of surveyor.
  • The inspector often checks the qualification certificates of the cook and catering staff. Ensure certificates of qualification and training of cooks is ready.
  • All crew members working on-board should be qualified and have all official documents as per STCW, flag state endorsements and equivalents. The minimum age limit for a person to work on board as per MLC-2006 is sixteen years. Ensure all the certificates are available along with the originals for inspection if asked.
  • Every seafarer has to submit medical certificate to the master. Medical certificates of crew on-board should be valid and meet the international standards required by ILO/ WHO guidelines. Ensure that the certificate is not expiring during the period of voyage.
  • Master must make sure the vessel adheres to safe manning requirements as issued by the flag state. A copy of safe manning certificate must be available.
  • A copy of Recruitment and Placement Service Certificate must be available and the manning agency should follow the guidelines of MLC-2006 and national labour laws for recruitment. In case of ownership employment a licensed manning agency is not necessary, provided that owner recruits as per MLC – 2006 and national labour laws recommendations.
  • Crew interviews will take place and cover working condition, food, treatment, facilities on-board and wages. Apart from this, questions may also probe crew’s knowledge on anything related and applicable.
  • The auditor will inspect housekeeping and hygiene, galley, mess room, dry and perishable provision stores, reefers, cabins and common toilets. These places should be neat, tidy and hygienic.
  • All-important certificates must be available for Inspection. Also make sure the IMO publications and other required documents are present on-board at the time of survey.

Maritime Labour Convention changes on the horizon

The MLC is considered a major milestone for global shipping environment in realising the rights of seafarers. However, there have been increasing calls for amendments to the convention in order to keep it up to date and relevant. The stresses associated with COVID-19 as well as technology advancements are just some of the factors that need to be addressed. The MLC is due to be amended in April 2021. All suggestions from signatories to the bill were submitted to the Geneva headquarters of the International Labour Organization (ILO) by 1 October 2020. Keep an eye on our info-hub for updates.

Virtual Pursers are not a yacht management company; we are an extension of your crew and act as a landbased bridge to your shoreside counterparts. As trusted yachting professionals with 20 years combined industry experience, we are here to help as well as to keep you informed on relevant industry related news and updates! For more information contact info@virtualpursers.com or call +44 203 514 0413.

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