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!

From Deckhand to Captain

From Deckhand to Captain

As a young twentysomething, you might not have your sights set on climbing the ranks from Deckhand to Captain. However, with the right attitude and love for the industry, this highly esteemed title may be a realistic goal.

Not for the faint hearted, the ambitious career path is taxing as it is rewarding. Read on as we discuss the high-level requirements for your professional journey from Deckhand to Captain.

Deckhand to Captain, Step 1:
Powerboat Level 2 and VHF / SRC marine radio certificate

Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Powerboat Level 2 (PB2) is an introductory powerboat training course. Also, considered a must-have in the industry because 98% of superyachts have watercraft on-board, such as jet skis and powerboats. The two-day course provides the skills and knowledge necessary to operate a powerboat up to 10 meters in length. Forming the basis of the International Certificate of Competence, this course covers,

  • Launching and recovery
  • Boat handling
  • Securing to a buoy
  • Anchoring
  • Leaving and coming alongside
  • Man overboard

A radio is an important piece of safety equipment on-board, which is why correct usage procedures are vital. The Short-Range Certificate (SRC) is the minimum qualification required to operate VHF (Very High Frequency) and DSC equipment (Digitised Message Broadcast). This includes both fixed and handheld equipment using international channels. On completion, the certification will enable unsupervised radio usage as well as the ability to supervise others usage. The one-day course will master the following,

  • Basic radio operation
  • Correct frequencies (channels) to be used
  • Distress, emergency and medical assistance procedures
  • Ship to shore calls
  • Digital Selective calling (DSC) using simulators
  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBS)
  • Search and Rescue (SART)
Deckhand to Captain, Step 2:
RYA Day Skipper Theory Shorebased Certificate

Taught over 40 hours, this theoretical course will equip students with enough knowledge to navigate familiar waters by day. Providing a comprehensive introduction to cruising for inexperienced skippers, the course will also touch on the basics for lights, for night cruising. Course topics include,

  • The basics of seamanship
  • The essentials of coastal navigation and pilotage
  • Chartwork
  • Electronic charts
  • Position fixing
  • Plotting a course to steer
  • Weather forecasting and meteorology
  • Tides
  • Collision regulations
  • Construction, parts and equipment of a cruising boat
  • Emergency and safety procedures including distress calls, use of flares, safety harnesses, life jackets and life rafts.
Deckhand to Captain, Step 3:
RYA Intermediate Powerboat course

Building on previous RYA courses, this two-day course bridges the gap between PB2 and the Advanced Powerboat courses. It aims to teach the standard required to complete a short coastal passage by day on coastal waters using both traditional and electronic navigational techniques. More time is given to,

  • Planning a day cruise
  • Boat preparation
  • Boat handling
  • Pilotage
  • Passage making
  • Man overboard
Deckhand to Captain, Step 4:
RYA RADAR Operators course

Radar is the most versatile of all electronic navigation aids and is an important and effective tool. However, it can easily mislead those who don’t know how to adjust controls, understand its limitations, or interpret images correctly. As superyacht crew, the radar is generally used to conduct vessel tracking on a secondary radar screen during navigational watches. This one-day course assists in navigation and collision avoidance, covering

  • How the radar set works
  • How its adjustments and features affect the way it works
  • Target definition
  • Radar reflectors
  • Types of radar display
  • Radar plotting
  • The use of radar in navigation and collision avoidance
Deckhand to Captain, Step 5:
RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Shorebased

The advanced theoretical course builds on the knowledge gained from the shorebased Day Skipper course. Taught over 40 hours, the content is designed to stretch navigational knowledge. Equipping skippers to navigate safely on coastal and offshore passages both during day and night, course syllabus includes

  • Position fixing
  • Course shaping and plotting
  • Tidal knowledge
  • Use of almanacs and admiralty publications
  • Electronic position finding equipment
  • Taking and interpreting forecasts
  • Plotting weather systems
  • Weather predictions using a barometer and by observation
  • Collision regulations
  • Customs and excise regulations for cruising abroad
Deckhand to Captain, Step 6:
RYA Advanced Powerboat course

By now, skippers should be confident and practiced coastal powerboater’s. The 2-day course is the pinnacle of the RYA Powerboat scheme and requires experience in coastal powerboating for several seasons. Navigation at planning speed, weather, other challenges, and undertaking a night time passage will be covered during the course. The course outline entails,

  • Preparation for Sea
  • Boat Handling
  • Passage Making and Responsibility as Skipper
  • Pilotage
  • Meteorology
  • Rules of the Road
  • Use of Engines
  • Emergency Situations
  • Night Cruising
Deckhand to Captain, Step 7:
RYA / MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency) Advanced Powerboat Examination

The final step! This exam is a practical day and night time test of boat handling and navigation, in the type of craft applicable to the National Powerboat Scheme.

The entry requirements include,

  • Minimum age: 17
  • Knowledge of navigation and chart work to Coastal skipper level
  • RYA VHF radio license
  • First Aid at Sea Certificate (STCW)
  • Logged Sea Time, 30 days, 2 as skipper, 800 miles, 12-night hours.
  • Logged Sea Time if you hold the Advanced course certificate, 20 days, 2 as skipper, 400 logged miles and 12-night hours (in addition to the sea time on the course)

Hot tip! There is a big difference between a deckhand who gained their 800 miles through relevant practical experience vs cleaning the stainless steel.

Congratulations! You’re a qualified Skipper!

The MCA recognises this qualification and could result in a complete change of career direction, including an increase in responsibility, seniority and pay. The door is now open to work on vessels up to 24m in length, operating in category 3, 4, 5 and 6 waters – that is up to 20 miles from a safe haven – day & night.

Begin your journey from Deckhand to Captain

If you’re serious about your career, feel free to contact our affiliates PYA for personalized advice. PYA have options that suits your position within the professional yachting community.

We are not a yacht management company; rather  an extension of your crew, acting as a landbased bridge to your shoreside counterparts. Virtual Pursers – The future of seamlessly, effortlessly, and efficiently navigating yacht administration. For more information contact info@virtualpursers.com or call +44 203 514 0413.

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.

Maritime Administration

Cyber Security IMO Regulations

Cyber Security IMO Regulations

Maritime Administration

Ignorance is bliss? Not when it comes to Cyber Security.

Technology plays a critical role in our daily lives. Technological advancements are blisteringly fast compared to previous years, which is why it has become an urgent topic of discussion. In this digital era of ubiquitous computing, organizations without Cyber Security are at risk. Land, air, water and cyber; it’s recognised as the fourth ground for nation-states. 

As the drive towards digital transformation continues to ceaselessly gather momentum, industries need to reassess their security strategies. By not properly protecting the attack surface, private and public sectors leave themselves exposed to possible breaches.

What is Cyber Security Management and why is it so important?

In short, all connected digital systems are prone to cyber-attacks. Expanding networking capabilities to all corners of our lives can make us more efficient, but more susceptible. 2020 catapulted industries online, with cyber security becoming a top priority for businesses. The pandemic has effectively become a catalyst for cyber security threats to rise exponentially, with all sectors being vulnerable. Connecting to the internet also means connecting to potential cyber threats. Attackers are always on the prowl to compromise systems. Generally, hackers are motivated by financial gain via corporate espionage or by acquiring personal data. Not having “top secret type government information” or “lifestyles of the rich and famous” does not make one untouchable.

Maritime Cyber Security Risk

While the threat is very real, the yachting industry has been quite lackadaisical until recently. Reality is – the fancier the yacht, the greater the risk. Adding complexities to ensure an immersive, bespoke experience, has resulted in modern superyachts closely resembling an enterprise-grade network. Vessels are more connected than ever before. Despite the cutting-edge technologies to allow for reliability, efficiency, and safety, cyber security seems to have fallen by the wayside. A breach is troubling in any business; however, consequences could be far more serious in the maritime environment. Don’t assume to know what hackers want. Money may not be the only motive, terrorism is a scary reality. “A successful breach of a vessel’s control systems can potential grant the assailant the ability to take control of bridge systems and control the vessel’s operational functions from anywhere in the world, in real time”, Super Yacht News

IMO Cyber Security Regulations

“When we talk about cyber security, it is not a matter of if you will be attacked but when. In order to deal with that, you should have a risk management approach on it and this what the IMO is introducing.” Mr. Chronis Kapalidis, Cyber Expert, HudsonAnalytix

Because of the ever-rising threat of an inevitable attack, the IMO has put cyber security regulations in place for compliance by 2021. The MSC-FAL.1/Circ.3 guidelines enforce a mechanism for dealing with risk rather than listing controls that should be implemented. Not reinventing the wheel, the IMO decided to build off established international frameworks for cyber risk management, adopting five functions that represent a holistic approach to cyber risk management: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, Recover. By taking this functional approach, captains and security officials have the flexibility to use their discretion to tailor a program that effectively meets the requirements of their vessel without becoming excessively onerous.

NIST Cyber Security Framework

Not industry or size specific, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (“CSF”) is a useful benchmark which the maritime industry can refer to when developing internal regulations and standards.

The CSF features five core functions,

  • Identify: Define personnel roles and responsibilities for cyber risk management and identify the systems, assets, data and capabilities that, when disrupted, pose risks to ship operations.
  • Protect: Implement risk control processes and measures, and contingency planning to protect against a cyber-event and ensure continuity of shipping operations.
  • Detect: Develop and implement activities necessary to detect a cyber event in a timely manner.
  • Respond: Develop and implement activities and plans to provide resilience and to restore systems necessary for shipping operations or services impaired due to a cyber-event.
  • Recover: Identify measures to back-up and restore cyber systems necessary for shipping operations impacted by a cyber-event.
Is your vessel ready for IMO’s Cyber Security compliance?

“It’s been decided that no later than the annual verification of each company’s Document of Compliance, the 1st of January 2021, all shipping companies will be mandated to ensure that cyber risks are appropriately addressed in existing safety management systems (as defined in the ISM Code)”, Pelion Consulting

With a strong background in the yachting sector, Virtual Pursers recommend Pelion Consulting to ensure Safety Management Systems are updated and ready for audit after the deadline date.

Maritime Administration 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.

The Role of a Purser

The Role of a Purser

Size means everything in the superyacht world. Although, the bigger the yacht, the more pertinent the role of a Purser. As yachts increase in size, so do the administrative pressures faced by Captains and their shoreside counterparts. This explains the significant growth the Yacht Purser job role has had over the past few years. Soon, the role of a Purser will hold the same weight as the more familiar yacht crew jobs. Without a Purser, the ever-increasing regulations and administrative workload could be detrimental to the proper functioning of the vessel.

What is a Yacht Purser?

The need for a Purser exists on larger yachts with the sole purpose to ensure seamless operations. Under the Captain’s direction, the Purser is essentially responsible for the effective and smooth running of the vessel. As a senior crew member, the Purser manages several areas, including HR, accounts, interior, purchasing, inventory, and legal aspects. The role of the Purser is to be the single point of contact for all department heads. A credible and qualified Purser should create uniformity and streamline administrative duties, making them an invaluable asset to the Yacht.

What does the role of a Purser entail?

Pursers generally have multiple essential and important duties. Some of these tasks and responsibilities include:

  • Finance – Takes ownership of all fiscal matters including accounting, budgeting and bookkeeping
  • Buyer – Purchases everything needed to cater for crew and guests including food, drinks, uniform, cleaning products and more
  • Contracts and Negotiation – Liaise with suppliers and distributors to ensure the yacht is provisioned
  • Crew Administration – Will administer payroll for the crew and oversees all crew immigration
  • Yacht Administration – Organise port clearances, logistics and customs.
  • Charter Administration – If the yacht is chartered this will incur further responsibilities
  • Guest Activities – Liaise with guests and crew to organise activities

Industry experience required to become a Purser?

Eloquent communication skills, sound industry knowledge, first-hand experience, and an eye for detail are absolute must-haves for a Purser. Since the role of a Purser revolves around paperwork, efficient and accurate administration and accounting skills goes without saying.  

Although the job requirements may differ per yacht, in a nutshell, a well-rounded Purser should encompass the following

  • At least five years’ experience in the superyacht industry
  • Corporate land-based experience
  • Exceptional service, communication, organizational, diplomacy, and delegation skills
  • Excellent computer skills – proficient in Microsoft Office and various accounting software
  • A good understanding of maritime law
  • ISM and ISPS protocols
  • Financial management
  • Knowledge of cruising areas, including restaurant suggestions, shoreside activities
  • Provisioning around the globe
  • Excellent knowledge of wines
  • STCW & PSA
  • ENG 1 Medical

On-board vs shoreside Purser

An on-board Purser is self-explanatory. Land-based Pursers do everything an on-board purser does, just in a remote capacity. There are many reasons why yachts choose to outsource their yacht administration and opt for a shoreside Purser

  • Space – Can’t accommodate a Purser on-board 
  • Cost-effective – A dedicated Purser without the overheads
  • Flexibility – Don’t require a permanent employee or prefer flexibility with hours  
  • Staff retention – The Purser you’ll never lose

What salary can you expect as a Purser?

For an established onboard Purser, with great responsibility, comes great reward. The role of a Purser oversees business critical functions, so it is fair to expect just compensation and time off. The salary is largely dependent on the size of the vessel, however tools such YPI can provide a more-or-less ballpark figure. As per Yachting Pages, “pay for a Purser can range from roughly €4,000 to upwards of €7,000 per month” and will most likely include rotation. Most commonly 2 months on two months off, requiring vessels to employ two Pursers to cover the one role.

How can the role of a Purser assist you?

A superyacht is essentially a business and as such should operate as one. Without a Purser, large yachts may struggle to function effectively, let alone maintain the high standard of service that on-board guests expect. The role of a Purser is established to assist the Captain and Chief Officer to alleviate the administrative duties, eliminating stress through saving time and effort. With twenty years combined experience, Virtual Pursers are industry experts who understand first-hand the ever-increasing administrative pressures faced by the maritime industry. Offering a flexible approach, Virtual Pursers are readily available to support all vessels, no matter the size of the yacht or the extent of the need, as well as other maritime professionals such as Yacht/Fleet Managers, Charter Brokers, Marinas/Shipyards. An ideal solution for yachts that are fully crewed, have minimal space on-board, or who don’t necessarily require full-time support. As well as yachts who have an established Purser, supporting shortfalls and as a temporary solution. Using Virtual Pursers guarantees continuity in a cost-effective manner, introducing the concept of “The Purser You’ll Never Lose”; retaining all the information and experience that comes with a great Purser, for years to come.

Q & A with co-founder of Virtual Pursers Bec McKeever

How did you become a Purser?

I came into yachting with a background in accounting, not planning to utilise my past life profession at all actually. My first yacht with the infamous M/Y Octopus, at 126m she is a beauty! I was instantly in awe with the Chief Stewardess & Purser but it wasn’t until a year or two into yachting that I started thinking about a career path and that I had the potential to climb the ranks. I was Chief Stew for a few years before Purser. Two very different roles but a lot of personal and professional development in the Chief Stew role, I believe, that really makes a positive difference to your ability in the Purser role.

Do you think you need yachting experience to be a Purser?

Yachting is so different to any other industry and experience within it lays a solid foundation, it’s the integral part of becoming a successful Purser.

What’s your favourite aspect of being a Purser?

Having my finger on the pulse and being able to orchestrate the logistics of the entire vessel. It’s so rewarding to see my plan come into action and be pulled together, especially when you have a bit of OCD.

Q & A with co-founder of Virtual Pursers Dominique Smit

Do you have to be a Chief Stew before you become a purser?

Even though it is a completely different role, it is recommended that you have some Chief Stew experience before you become a Purser. Not only will it give you a better sense of responsibility and leadership but it allows you to work closer with other department heads and gives you a better sense of how the different departments function together and the bigger picture of how the boat functions overall which is essential for the purser position.

Would you recommend doing a Purser course?

I would definitely recommend training for the role of Purser, background knowledge is essential and any additional training is always beneficial. However, do your research before you pick a course. Having a mentor to guide me through my career has been invaluable so if you do have anyone you trust, ask for their advice.

Was it always your goal to become a Purser?

I didn’t start yachting with the goal to become a Purser, I didn’t even know what a Purser was in the beginning! But as my career evolved, I started enjoying the constant challenges each new position brought and the Purser position is so stimulating and every day is different that I felt like it would be the perfect job for me.

Virtual Pursers trusted business model intends to revolutionize the yachting industry by providing an innovative, cost effective, practical shoreside solution. A dedicated Purser without the overheads. The Purser you’ll never lose. For more information contact info@virtualpursers.com or call +44 203 514 0413.