Crew Look After Superyachts, but who Looks After Crew?

Posted: 28th October 2019 | Written by: Melanie Langley

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Superyacht crewing has become one of the go-to careers for young men and women looking to earn great money while sailing to exotic locations aboard multi-million-dollar luxury yachts. Part of a booming industry, it’s also a fact that the rich are becoming richer. In 2018 there were no less than 145 new US dollar billionaires officially added to the world’s Rich List. Yes, the international Billionaires Club is swelling like an ocean wave and orders for new superyachts, those longer than 24 meters, have reached a record high.

Even as you read this, more than 500 luxury yachts are being built to exacting specifications in shipyards around the world, many requiring at least 100 staff. Today, superyachts worldwide employ more than 37,000 people.

From captains and bosuns to engineers, chefs and stewards, there are thousands of job opportunities.  This 21st century seagoing profession has become so popular among adventurous young people that universities are now offering degree-level courses, such as Southampton Solent University in the UK at its Warsash Superyacht Academy. And young hopefuls who can’t find a role direct out of college often head for the south of France, plying the sunny coastal resorts in search of the crewing opportunities that abound there.

The rewards can be excellent, with new crew earning £2,600 or more a month with all accommodation and food taken care of. The job is also rarely dull - you can always expect the unexpected, and there is always the promise of an unpredictable workday catering to the fast-changing whims of the ocean going rich. It’s quite common for crew to be speedily dispatched on the ship’s helicopter to collect foie gras at midday in Monaco, or three dozen Five Guys’ cheeseburgers and fries at midnight in Manhattan.

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Protect Yourself at All Times

So here you are in polo shirt and shorts aboard a luxury ocean going yacht. You’re young, you’re fit, you’re tanned, and you’re seeing the world and rubbing shoulders with celebrities while earning great money. There will be days when you feel like you have the best job in the world.

But along with the glamour, luxury yacht crewing can involve long hours and hard work, and if an accident, or worse a death, was to occur aboard ship, it can sometimes be difficult for crew and their families to understand which laws and rights apply. By definition, luxury yachts operate in international waters and their day-to-day operations are run by management companies on behalf of often anonymous owners.

When you’re several miles out at sea aboard a superyacht, you’re paid to offer peak performance at all times. You may sometimes have to undertake duties for which you have not been trained. If you’re injured in the course of these duties, you may or may not be covered unless you have taken out your own personal life insurance. That’s why it’s crucial you protect yourself with an individual life and medical insurance policy that is never more than a phone call away wherever in the world you may be.

Superyacht recruiters do offer insurance, but it’s often the legal minimum. This is certainly not something you want to find out belatedly should you fall ill in North America, or indeed any other part of the world. With your own personal life and medical insurance policy you are adequately protected wherever you may travel.

For this reason, even though life insurance is probably something you think applies to your parents and boring people in suits, you have to take it seriously, and more importantly, you have to have it. You must protect yourself at all times.

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The Vital Importance of Life Insurance for Superyacht Crew and their Families

You’re sensible enough to know not to drive a car without insurance - personal superyacht crew life insurance is the same. It’s an intrinsic requirement of your job.

Illnesses and accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone regardless of age, location or state of health. They don’t care and they don’t discriminate. Injuries on board ship are not few and far between, and for every incident that you might get to hear about, there are hundreds that go unreported, and sometimes uncompensated due to the discovery of inadequate cover.

Don’t listen to those who say there is no life insurance for yachting crew. There is, and you can get cover by contacting MSCB.

No matter what perks come with your job, never take it for granted that you are adequately insured by the yacht or the recruitment company you work for. You should assume that you’re not. Their insurance policy may offer enough cover, but if you can't check it out, why take any chances?

You need a personal insurance policy with adequate insurance protection both aboard ship and during shore leave in foreign lands. Dependents can not only include yourself but your spouse if you have one, children, and parents who would be negatively affected in the event of your untimely death. Having life insurance also provides peace of mind to anyone who would otherwise be relying on the crewmember’s income to maintain their standard of living.

The ABC of Yacht Crew Life Insurance

ALWAYS protect yourself with a personal life insurance policy while aboard ship.

BE aware that you may not be covered by any other policy other than your own.

COVERED yacht crew professionals with the right insurance enjoy a safer, more secure career and can care for themselves and their loved ones.

Moore Stephens Crew Benefits (MSCB) can direct you to insurance and income protection plans for all superyacht crew. Policies are designed to protect you against the many potential hazards that living in the fast luxury shipping lane of life can throw at you, and are tailored uniquely and comprehensively for the needs of the demanding, rigorous and often dangerous luxury yachting crew profession.

For more information, contact Melanie Langley - Senior Crew Benefits Adviser  

Images: Pexels

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