The importance of investing wisely in a good crew.

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The importance of investing wisely in a good crew.

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BUYING A BOAT is a big investment, regardless of the vessel’s size. Proper maintenance is essential for its wellbeing and reducing the loss of value over the years.

A typical problem the Owner faces are the expenses that come with the purchase of a yacht. Each year, more than 10% of the original value is spent on the maintenance, crew and fuel. The importance of hiring the right crew is therefore fundamental.

In Europe, yacht Owners focus largely on recruiting an experienced and qualified crew to operate and maintain their boats. In Asia, the pursuit of a “good” deal often undermines quality and puts focus on finding cheap staff.

Yacht owners in countries such as China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand have a tendency to spend more money on the material than the manpower, compared to Europe.

Let’s take a look at exactly what you get from hiring the right crew and which positions the Owner should consider allocating more money towards.

First, the maintenance of the yacht represents serious costs each year. Finding the right crew is the best investment an Owner can make. Value loss is something inevitable, but with an efficient crew you are able to reduce its decay.

Always trying to reduce the side costs becomes more expensive in the long-term. The same goes for many other products such as cars or even leather shoes. Without any maintenance, the life and efficiency of the product is deteriorated.

A good example is Mr Johnson (fake name for disclosure reason) who uses his yacht (6 crew) only two weeks during the year and charters it the rest of the time. On its way to the Philippines, the yacht stopped due to engine failure.

Unfortunately for Johnson, the mechanical engineer was incapable of fixing the problem, and as a result Harcourt had to send one of our engineers by speedboat. Johnson lost two days and more money than if he had employed a competent engineer from the beginning.

In Asia, the second-line service is good. There are three essential positions to focus on – Captain, engineer and chief officer. These are the positions that require more experience and knowledge, as well as they are in charge of managing the rest of the crew. If they are experienced enough, they will even teach and train the inexperienced crew.

Time and trust are both important in our lives. Regarding the crew, it is simpler and less stressful to leave your yacht in good hands. You don’t need to check all the time if they do a good job. Some crew use the yacht for personal purposes or even rent it out. This happened recently in Thailand when the Owner came with his family and found out his yacht was chartered by the crew without his knowledge.

The idea is not to spend more money randomly on the crew, but place it in trustful hands (Captains and engineers, at least) to ensure the good preservation on the yacht and efficiency of the crew.

In the luxury market, cheap is expensive and expensive is cheap. The only question is how long it takes an Owner to realise it.

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William Scheffer is a manager in Singapore with Harcourt Yachting Management, which specialises in crew management and HR solutions with the aim of making the Owner’s life easier with less administrative hassle. Services include: selection of qualified crew, establishment of contracts and payroll records (MLC 2006), medical and professional liability insurance for crew, maritime training (STCW), 24/7 worldwide service, free quotations and CV. manager@harcourt-hm.com www.harcourt-hm.com.

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