The superyacht sector is on the verge of a crew mental health crisis – that’s according to the results of our recent survey which over 1,000 crew members from more than 50 countries took part in.
Over half of superyacht crew say their mental health has deteriorated since working in the sector, with one in five currently suffering with poor mental health whilst onboard and a third having experienced this in the past.
Crew members across all departments (interior, galley, deck and engineering) suffer mostly from stress, anxiety and loneliness caused by burnout and fatigue, crew tension and politics, and poor
As a result, almost 50% have considered leaving the yachting sector, but most choose not to because of the financial benefits.
In terms of comparisons, mental health concerns are more prevalent among female crew and particularly common in the interior and galley departments. There also appears to be a correlation between the length of time someone has worked in the yachting industry, the amount of leave a crew member gets and their state of mind.
The findings are potentially catastrophic for the industry which, if not addressed, could not only lead to tragic consequences on an individual level, but cause a mass exodus of crew and long-term recruitment challenges in an already candidate short market.
With 62% claiming they are not aware of any policies or practices to address mental health issues, but almost three quarters saying they would like access to dedicated support and resources, the superyacht industry needs to take urgent action.
Some form of mental health training would be well received, the survey reveals. Although nine in 10 crew members say they have not received such training since working in yachting, 85% of them would find it useful.
This may also increase the openness onboard of discussing mental health concerns when they arise. Currently, 30% of crew would most likely speak to family if they felt they were struggling with poor mental health. In comparison, 30% would talk to a fellow crew member; 14% to the Captain; and only 4% to their Head of Department (HOD).
Positive mental health and crew wellbeing needs to be a key focus for owners, management companies, Captains and HODs. Compared to the operating costs of a superyacht, the provision of support services and training is extremely affordable. In addition, the survey results suggest
that even small changes to onboard working patterns, culture and leave packages could have a profound effect.
Combined, these preventative measures could not only ensure help is available to crew when they need it most, but encourage loyalty and longevity.
You can read the exclusive interview with SuperyachtNews here.
To find out more about our unique industry partnership with Mental Health Support Solutions (MHSS), click here.