The last few weeks has been a unique situation for many of us, depending on where we are based, with governments imposing varying degrees of lockdown upon its citizens. Here at Quay Crew we are business as usual, albeit this is working from home and self-isolating which we have been doing since Monday 16th March.
As crew, a lot of you won’t be leaving the yacht for the next few weeks, or even months. So, we’ve put our heads together and come up with some ideas about how to boost crew morale and improve your working environment. Some of the ideas below have been suggestions from our clients , so thanks to those who have contributed. If you have any additional ideas please feel free to email them over to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I will pass them over to other yachts in another blog.
Educational & Career Development
- One member of crew a week does a presentation on a relevant subject. eg every Wednesday morning, the presentation lasts 5 mins and then there are questions after. I actually think this is brilliant. It’s great for building confidence, sharing knowledge and developing some leadership skills in crew.
- Babbel , the online language teacher is currently running an offer of 6 months free if you subscribe for a year. The yacht can pick up the cost and you can choose a language for everyone to learn. Regular lessons for 15 to 30 mins would be an amazing thing for a yacht to encourage. If you have a fluent Spanish or French speaker on board then maybe get them to run the lessons.
- Run regular training amongst the different departments, once a week for a few hours. The HODs can do the training on a different area within the job. You could even, after a few weeks of training, have a substantial test on Navigation and Col Regs for example. Whoever wins the test gets a small course paid for them.
- Swap roles. Have half the interior helping on deck and vice versa. Builds up everyone’s knowledge of a different department, will improve performance when the yacht is busy with guests, and breaks up the monotony of things a little. You could do this on one or two days a week. Make sure people work together who wouldn’t normally interact much.
Keeping Fit and Healthy
- A really easy thing you can do on a daily basis is PT sessions on one of the decks. If you don’t have a trained PT amongst your crew then get the most gym focused crew member to take the session, or find a suitable video on YouTube. You can even build it into the work day. If you join in training then you start work at 900 as PT session is from 8am to 8.40am. If you don’t train then you start work at 8am. Ben Craig Cameron from Cogs for Cancer operates something like this on his yacht and he is sure it pays dividends.
- Yoga / Pilates is another brilliant option if you have someone with the knowledge on board. Great for mental health too. https://www.thehuslers.com/online-offering is a friend of mine who is one of the best yoga instructors in the world. He is releasing an extremely reasonably priced online Yoga / Meditation package which a crew could follow together. Alternatively yogaandyou.co.nz is doing a free class every Tuesday.
- I strongly recommend some boxercise if possible. Hitting pads is an unparalleled stress reliever and very hard to beat.
- Get one of the tenders in the water and give the crew access to it a few evenings a week after work to go wake boarding in. When I was on Leander we started early and finished early so we could go out in the tender everyday. That’s brilliant for blowing the cobwebs away.
- The water sports Olympics. This is a brilliant one if you are somewhere a little off the beaten track. Get out the paddle boards and do various team based races. Make sure there is a decent prize for the winning team.
- If your owner is generous look at renting a villa or a big apartment nearby to the yacht. Allowing crew some decompression time away from the yacht could be amazing, even more so if you manage to rent a private villa with a pool which is what one of our clients is doing.
Regular access to fresh air and some sort of fitness related activity is vital so we would definitely embrace one or more of those options if feasible.
- Super Yacht Radio are organising a ‘Yachting’s got talent’ competition which is encouraging crew to enter videos of themselves demonstrating their exceptional and not so exceptional hidden talents!
- Cinema night with popcorn and snacks. Can be a classic or access a film from Netflix etc. You could put up a brief synopsis of 5 choices and then have a vote. Favourite film is picked each week and discussed after. Or choose a classic and go online and look at the key discussion points. There are so many hidden meanings in so many films. Choose one person to do the research for that each week. You could even theme the night, depending on the movie.
- Karaoke night. Divide into teams. Each team gets to choose a song and they can dress accordingly. They then perform their song. Best performers as voted for by the crew get some sort of reward. With this, people need some time to prep so draw names out of the hat on Monday and organise for a Friday night.
- Poker night. As the name suggests. Very basic / easy idea and can be very entertaining. Limit the gambling though so no one loses their tips from the previous season!
- Games night. There are loads of different games you can play from the serious eg Monopoly, to the silly like balloon races or bobbing for apples on the sun deck in some sort of race format.
- Quiz night. An oldie but a goodie. As per usual divide into teams which are all a mix of departments, get the chef to knock up pub snacks and have a few drinks. Choose a quizmaster and go from there! Alternatively, Quay Crew is currently investigating hosting an online quiz for yachts who are interested. Email me if you are.
In times of trouble food can be hugely beneficial on morale so we have quite a few suggestions on this front.
- Come Dine with Me! Always a classic although your chefs may need to flex on their menus depending on provisioning! Divide into teams of 2 and each evening a team has to do a 3 course dinner party. I would suggest that maybe you divide this up over a few weeks. Ensures that people get fed properly on the nights in between! The winning team gets to go to the restaurant of their choice once the dust has settled.
- Chef is assisted by a different crew member each afternoon with prep for evening meal. All the crew learn a bit more about cooking and means the chef isn’t feeling too hard done by working on their own, so boosts their morale too. Have a favourite meal list so everyone can put meal requests out there. Mixes things up and makes it a bit easier for the chef to keep things fresh.
- BBQ on the dock. Obviously this can’t be done if you are in a busy port or on complete lockdown. But if you are in middle of nowhere then we don’t see the harm in a BBQ which is strictly limited to the crew onboard.
A few final thoughts. There is a lot of suggestions in here so maybe have a vote on board about what people want to do and choose a few of the things above.
Limit the drinking of the crew on board. It is very tempting to let the crew get well boozed up a few times a week as it seems to improve people’s mood. We think that it will rapidly turn sour though if you do. People are far more likely to fall out when drunk or hungover. Alcohol is a depressant too and will increase people’s anxiety levels on board, so bad news for people maintaining good mental health.
I think the key thing with all these suggestions is that it is very easy to talk about it and nothing gets done. The Captain or HODs have to implement some of these things into the daily routine. I would also pass on the responsibility for organising these things to individual crew members and then a weekly schedule goes up on the crew mess wall.
Good luck with everything guys and speak soon!