Your Crew Matters


When it comes to bragging rights in the superyacht industry, Germany can claim to build the biggest. Holland, Italy and even Turkey can all boast about numbers, tonnage and overall length. But, when it comes to designing superyachts it seems that the bragging rights best belong to Britain. The United Kingdom may not build the biggest and the best, but when it comes to flagging, crewing, training, insuring and serving the industry, Britain does indeed, do it best.

We are not being jingoistic nor even overly patriotic here. Just look at the facts. The Red Ensign has the largest number of flagged superyachts in the world. The MCA is the code beloved by all. Our courts, lawyers and advocates are the people superyacht owners turn to when they want to negotiate contracts. The majority of the largest yacht brokerage and yacht management houses all started off being British.

Look at the crew list and count the number of Brits on board. Chances are they far outnumber the rest and if not by passport, then certainly by the qualifications they hold. It is to Great Britain, that crew turn to when they seek to enhance their career by seeking quality training and qualifications that they can use on yachts around the world.

If Great Britain has got superyacht design well wrapped up, then when it comes to crew, Great Britain really can boast being the best when it comes to training and recruitment. Over the last 30 years, UKSA has become synonymous with yacht crew training and has helped launch the careers of thousands of individuals in the superyacht industry.

An RYA Centre of Excellence and a youth charity, UKSA uses the power of the sea to change the lives of thousands of young people each year. With a vision to widen access to maritime training, enhance life skills and increase employment within the maritime sector, the charity has been instrumental in positively impacting the lives of people of all ages and abilities.

Based on the Isle of Wight, on the South Coast of England, the UKSA is meeting the increasing demand for trained crew in the superyacht industry, with captains, senior officers and entry-level crew. Located in Cowes, it is perfectly situated for its students to explore the Solent, a stretch of water considered to be one of the best in the world to train on thanks to the relatively sheltered waters. Plus, the tides and wide range of conditions provide an excellent environment for both learners and advanced sailors.

The Warsash Superyacht Academy is not far away on the River Hamble and is a pioneering initiative from what was originally, the Warsash School of Navigation. Now under the control of its parent organisation; Solent University, it has branched out into teaching courses in engineering and interior to superyacht crew. For many, it has become the first port of call when seeking STCW, safety and security training.

“I believe there is a growing worldwide demand for higher standards of maritime safety and training as the leading British companies today aim to demonstrate stringent governance standards. Like the rest of the wider global industry, here at the Maritime Skills Academy, we seek to save more lives and reduce accident rates by delivering a new level of marine, fire safety and simulator training to superyacht crews. Located in Dover we are perfectly placed to meet these opportunities,” says Mark Jaenicke, Director of Training and Performance at the Viking Maritime Group.

Dieter Jaenicke, Mark’s father and Chairman of the same group says, “The UK is pre-eminent for high quality crew across the maritime sector including within superyachting. Low cost airfares mean that our MCA accredited training is easily reached right across Europe and is an important part of Superyacht UK.”

The Maritime Skills Academy is just one part of the Viking Maritime Group (formerly Viking Recruitment) which consists of Viking Crew, Chiltern Maritime and the Maritime Skills Academy. It was started as Viking Recruitment in 1988 by Dieter Jaenicke, an industry veteran who now has over 50 years of experience in the marine scene.

Dieter first went to sea with the British Merchant Navy as a deck apprentice in 1967, sailing as Chief Officer in 1975.

He came ashore in 1976 and has worked in marine recruitment, human resources and training ever since. With his firm’s head office in Dover, along with the MSA safety and simulator training centres in Dover and Portsmouth as well as offices in Guernsey, Dieter and his family, who all work in the same business, have expanded the Great British recruitment concept to their offices in Fort Lauderdale, Auckland and Manila.

Many in the industry will know him for other valuable contribution to the industry itself, with his involvement in many initiatives to improve maritime awareness in careers, training and welfare. He is well placed in this, sitting as he does, on various committees and steering groups such as the UK Chamber of Shipping, Merchant Navy Training Board, Superyacht UK (Part of British Marine) and past President of the International Superyacht Society. Dieter Jaenicke says, “As Viking Maritime Group Chairman, my role has changed from running the company on a day-to-day basis into acting as an ambassador for our three businesses.”

“Viking Crew provides a wraparound Placement, Management & Deployment service to superyacht clients. Many of these also take advantage of the training offered by the Maritime Skills Academy, which this year adds officer simulation training to our staple STCW courses. Chiltern Maritime is now managing UK superyacht cadets who take additional modules for this popular qualification option.”

When Terry Wilson a longtime member of staff at Viking left the company in 2007 to set up shop on his own, he created wilsonhalligan, a recruitment company that clearly has no capital letters or space bars on its computer keyboards. Terry steered his fledgling superyacht crew recruitment company to great success, basing it in Hamble. Having achieved fame, if not fortune, he has moved on to a life of golf courses leaving the firm he founded in very capable hands.

Nicola Morgan is one of the firm’s directors and describes her role as overseeing the office. She says, “I ensure that our clients and candidates are receiving the best possible service when it comes to recruiting crew or finding a new job. The company has always been based in the UK and although we travel regularly to events and shipyards worldwide, having our headquarters here on the sunny south coast does not hold us back at all. Over the years, we have seen the superyacht industry within the UK grow, not only with more yachts heading this way but with additional yacht support companies (management, uniform suppliers etc.,) having the UK as their base – we now have a great network of local businesses within the UK, many of us work collaboratively to help further propel the industry.”

Many people work on yachts for just a few seasons, but equal numbers of people choose yachting as their permanent chosen career. At the moment, there is very little in the way of information to guide professionals about how to move around within this space. The British based on line jobs board Yotspot, has made it their mission to rectify this making it easier to see all the opportunities in one place. They have been successfully trading online jobs for the yachting industry since 2010.

Steve Crawford, Director, explains their plans for 2019 and beyond. “For years now, we feel there has been a large disconnect between captains and crew who work onboard the yachts and those individuals who work within the shore based side of the industry. We want to bridge the gap and make it easier to transition between these roles. So now, you can advertise shore based vacancies such as Yacht Sales Broker, Charter Manager, or Designer in exactly the same way you would advertise roles for Captains and Crew. Everything is under one roof, so even if crew a re not directly looking for a post on land, whilst flicking through yacht based positions, they might stumble across a land based job that just makes sense to them.”

One final success story within this industry has been the development of Port Profile by Anthony Park. Back in 2004 he jumped on board with his first job as a chef, 15 years later and he’s still there, well sort of, but on a slightly different tack.

When Anton decided to dip his toes into the waters of the tech world and create a software-led platform, designed to reshape how recruitment is carried out in the yachting industry, it wasn’t exactly what he set out to do! The tech solution came much later! Back then, it was still all about cooking.

He created a Facebook page in 2015 and called it; Yacht Chef Support Network there are a fair few yacht crew who may remember it, if only for the infamous party he jointly hosted at the Antigua charter yacht show with Shore Solutions, the provisions company back in the day. There are crew who still talk about that part some six years later!

“The initial concept quickly moved from a support network solely for chefs, to a system for all yachting crew in the industry. Fast forward and the Port Profile platform went live in April 2019, and we took full advantage of the Palma Boat show to showcase what we had built. Interest came in many different shapes and forms and gave me lots of ideas going forward.”

The cost of a posting single job post is £50 plus VAT. That post will remain active for 30 days and then there is an option to extend for a further 30 days for £25 plus VAT. Each paid job post gives the recruiter unlimited access to the extensive Port Profile database for the duration of the advertisement.

Anton explains, “I do all the social media postings myself using Hootsuite and various other programmes to schedule posts. As we grow so I will in time be able to employ people. For now, I am proud that Port Profile is helping improve the way crew get to choose their perfect job.”