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Interview: Chief Stew Charlotte Morris

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Fresh from the five day Interior Management Course with Interior Yacht Services, Chief Stewardess Charlotte Morris talks about her passion for travel and adventure, building a dream team and the importance of continuous professional development to raise industry standards.

How did you get into the yachting industry?

It began as a gap year as I wanted to travel, but it soon developed into something I wanted to make a career out of. 

I started on my first boat eight years ago, a 131ft sailing yacht that was going around the world. I joined in Phuket and enjoyed the last half of the journey through the Pacific and ending in Australia. The owners taught me a lot about hard work as well as the rewards of swimming with elephants and experiencing remote anchorages.

Since then I've worked on several different yachts up to 75m, a good mixture of sail and motor yachts, and I've sailed to many remote destinations including Brazil, Vanuatu, the east coast of America, northern Europe and we also went to the UK for the Olympics. Only three years ago I did my first milk run!

Is it how you expected it to be?

I was lucky enough to have my brother already in the industry so I knew what to expect – that's not to say I'm not still learning and experiencing new things!

What do you love most about your job?

The people, from the guests to the crew to the industry as a whole. I think you meet some amazing people.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned?

About myself, the good and the bad. It has helped me learn how to manage better and how I might be perceived by colleagues and guests – a good eye opener and a rewarding experience.

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What is the biggest issue affecting yacht crew at the moment?

We all have skills and talents so, to some extent, a love for the job. One cannot simply fall into yachting, you have to struggle through the recruitment process. Once you do you still face the harder challenge of acquiring the respect and acknowledgment from the yacht, the team and the industry. We are often taken for granted and treated with such little respect that we lose the integrity we started with. I think we need to appreciate each other more or the owners/guests can’t be expected to do the same.

What does the future look like for yacht crew?

As yachting becomes bigger and better understood I think we will see many changes and improvements. I think we will see yachting moe as an industry and less as a collection of individual boats, meaning together we can increase our standards and professionalism.

Continuous professional development is on the rise - what's your view?

I've just completed the five day Interior Management Course towards the Chief Stewardess GUEST certificate with Interior Yacht Services!

I did it for me, not for a particular role, I want to see a career advancement. I’ve been on yachts for eight years and it makes sense to me to give yourself a career path as a stewardess and get some training knowing you are on the right lines instead of jumping on and winging it.

I’d looked at other courses and they didn’t seem quite as detailed on the management side. There’s a lot of paperwork to do on yachts but Peter’s course took you more into how to manage a team. Getting the team to see your vision is the hardest thing and there was a lot of that in our training.

Who do you most admire in the world of yachting?

Captain John Bardon… A legend in his own right but a down to earth, fair man, who does his best to understand his team while being strict and keeping us in line!

What was your greatest experience on a boat?

I was in a team that worked on development and we got to performing so strongly together that all aspects of the job were a joy and appeared just to happen - a dream team! This is rare and it was a great experience to see that it's possible and it works. 

What was your worst experience on a boat?

Not fitting in! Finding a job with people who wouldn’t accept or support me. This is not to say they were bad people, they were just not my people.

Which nationalities tend to be the best bosses?

It is more about the people than the nationality and I don’t like to judge before we get them onboard!

The best charter guests?

See above!

Which is your favourite yacht and why?

Germania Nova – This was the yacht with my dream team and also she is beautiful. I used to love returning to her and admiring her from afar, not something we actually get to do that often!

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Which is your favourite port and why?

It’s not where you are it’s who you're with… any port my friends are in! Actually Palma is my favorite, there is so much to do there. The old town is lovely, full of exciting back streets with lots to discover, and the west coast of Mallorca can’t be beat for amazing weekend adventures!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Adventuring and crafting… on quiet days I like to paint or work on a new project but when I'm in a new place I like to explore and see my surroundings. A little socializing is always appreciated!

Which three objects would you take to your desert island?

Captain Jack Sparrow, rum and a lighter!

What is your favorite book or film about the sea?

This Thing of Darkness – a book that describes the voyage of Charles Darwin and Captain Fitzroy. It is informative and fascinating, educational and adventurous – highly recommended!

What will you be doing in five years?

I have never planned so far ahead… but hopefully helping to make the world a better place.

What is your motto?

Dance like nobody’s watching!

Further information about luxury hospitality training with Interior Yacht Services

Related article:
Interior Training: Strive to be the Best

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