Crew Life » Career & Training » The Crew Coach: Publishing Public Photos of a Yacht

The Crew Coach: Publishing Public Photos of a Yacht

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Q: Elise, 26, Stewardess
“I was recently walking past a yacht in Antibes and I took a photo of it, only to be yelled at and told off by the Chief Officer onboard! I work on yachts, so I understand the need for discretion and privacy, but it seems a bit over-the-top that I can’t take a photo from the quay?

Surely that’s public and anyone can take photos from the dock just like they could of a car or a building? Was this guy right to yell at me or do we still live in a free society?”


A: The Crew Coach

I’m actually really glad you asked this question, as I recently met a crew member who’d been fired for posting a photo of the yacht they worked onboard on Facebook, and I think the lines of what’s acceptable are getting very confused.

In this case, you’re quite right; if you’re taking the photos on a public quay and you don’t work for the boat in question, then you didn’t do anything illegal — no-one can ban photos taken in a public place. It’s quite possible that the Officer in question was just being overly protective of their yacht’s privacy policy, or was worried you might be paparazzi when they had guests on board. (How big is you camera??) Jokes aside, there are people who make a career out of snapping yacht shots with celebrities on board, and some of their best leads come from yachties with public Facebook settings, which is obviously a terrible breach of confidentiality.

Although you weren’t technically breaking any rules in this case, it’s really important for all yacht crew to use discretion with any photos taken of boats, particularly those that you or your friends work on, to avoid getting yourself or friends into trouble. It’s vital to check your contract for exactly what it says about social media, and if it’s not clear, check with your Captain so you don’t go wrong. The safest thing to do is just never to publish any photos of your yacht, and never post anything about your owners or itinerary, and then you can’t go wrong.

I know this might sound a bit extreme but it’s not worth messing this up. The crew member I mentioned that was fired didn’t fully understand the terms of his confidentiality agreement, and paid the price by losing a job he really loved.

When in doubt, just don’t post it. Alternatively, if you’ve got a great shot of your boat that you really want to publish but which has the boat name showing in the photo, you could perhaps edit the name out with Photoshop, if your yacht doesn’t expressly forbid any form of photos being published at all.

Also, I shouldn’t have to say this but I will anyway: never EVER post any photos with guests (or even fellow crew) in them without their permission (and to be on the safe side get this permission in writing).

 *Image credit: Freestock Photos

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