Crew » Wellbeing » Yachting & Healthy Living: Can they Co-exist?

Yachting & Healthy Living: Can they Co-exist?

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When I left Santa Monica, California for a yachting career I knew that it would be more of a challenge to keep the healthy lifestyle I had grown accustomed to.

However, I was completely unprepared for the meaning of “yachtie-unhealthy”.

When you first enter the industry everything is so new and exciting. You want to do it all, be everywhere and spend your money on everything.

Unfortunately, this often means spending your time and money in every beach bar, on every toy and trying every type of food from the Caribbean to St. Tropez.

Sound great? Of course it is! But all too often what is exciting and new quickly becomes habit-forming, and starts defining your life and health.

Then crew find themselves gaining weight, becoming overly exhausted, losing motivation for the job, spending all of their hard earned cash and becoming unhappy on board.

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Here's what yachties contend with daily:

An abundance of international cuisine full of rich, often fattening ingredients served hot to you three times per day by a world-class chef (poor us!)

A fully stocked junk food and snack cupboard that would make Willie Wonka jealous

An endless supply of sodas and juices 

Bottomless pots of coffee

Remnants of guest cheese boards and other items you could never afford before like caviar, real French Champagne and food normally only served in Michelin starred restaurants

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Work weeks that sometimes lasts months with very little time to get outside

A work schedule that no one you know on land in their right mind would adhere to without going crazy or being paid a six-figure income

Days of forgetting to drink enough water because you’re running around like a mad person, attending to everyone’s needs but your own

Sheer exhaustion from lack of sleep, too much coffee and stress

A boat full of crew, keen to have beers after work almost any day of the week

Yachtie hubs like Waxy’s, Tap 42 and The Blue Lady where everyone knows your name it feels like a home away from home

A wallet full of cash tempting you to stock up on new skateboards, computers, cameras and annual holiday trips around the world. You know who you are.

The resolution that because you’ve worked so hard on board, you should spend all of your time off, partying like it's 1999. And most crew on board agree and join in

New and exciting ports to explore and adventures that often start and stop in the local pub


It's safe to say that the very nature of yachting does not coincide with a healthy lifestyle!


To truly have a strong healthy body and mind one must:

Have consistent early nights and enough sleep

Drink approximately 2.5-3 Liters of water per day (Lacroix water does not count)

Eat a diet of an abundance of fresh, whole plant based foods, high in whole food carbohydrates and low in fats

Eat enough food to feel satisfied and energized for exercise and living life to the fullest

Exercise in some form every day

Keep caffeine, alcohol and junk food to an absolute minimum (the more of these you eliminate completely, the better you’ll feel)

Get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D (either in supplements or from sunshine), Iodine (as directed by an iodine specialist) & Vitamin B12.

Have healthy relationships with those in their environment and their families

Have time to work on personal, creative things that don’t involve yachting

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Surprisingly, its not that difficult to achieve these fundamentals for health while living on board. It just takes some effort and the willingness to put your health and long term happiness and goals before instant gratification.

What you can do on board:

Sleep:  While it’s not always possible to get enough sleep on charter, you can prioritize napping during your breaks and catching up on real sleep when the guests leave.

Water: Carry around a water bottle and put rubber bands at the bottom.  Every time you drink a full bottle, remove a rubber band.  This will keep you on track with drinking enough.

Food:  Choose the healthiest low-fat, plant-based food options on the table when possible .  Have  healthy snacks you have purchased on your own, handy at all times to keep you away from junk food.  Don’t try and live on salad and bread or you will start binging.  Fill up on whole food carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, fruit and vegetables.

Exercise:  Unless it is very choppy at sea and you are sick or can’t stand up from the rocking, there are no excuses for not having a workout routine. If you can’t get off the boat, do sets of pushups, squats, star jumps and crunches in your cabin or skip rope outside on deck.

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Relationships:  Keep a positive attitude, be a good crew member and have open and “adult” conversations where you don’t take things personally with people on board.

When yachties learn how to balance these temptations with their priorities, life on board can become healthy, happy and very successful. Yachting starts to become just as we imagined it before entering the industry: a place where we could lose ourselves in travel and adventure, making friends along the way and a healthy bit of cash to boot.

*Images courtesy of author, excepting image woman writing: flickr/Pedro Ribeiro Simoes (CC 2.0)


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