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Work habits that will help you to stand out onboard

These are just some ideas and habits it’s worth forming at work which will make you stand out from the crowd. They cost nothing and are relatively easy to implement. It just takes a bit of discipline and effort.


If your working day starts at 8am be in the crew mess at 7.45 and make yourself a coffee and be on deck or in the interior ready to go at 7.55. Not making your coffee at 8.01 and rubbing the sleep out of your eyes.

Smarten up

I understand one of the pleasures of no guests or owners around is not shaving. However you should still make sure it is a trimmed beard, your hair is done and you’ve showered. Daily, if not twice a day. Sounds obvious the showering bit? Apparently not. I hear stories all the time of crew who don’t shower. There is no excuse for it.

Clean and tidy

No one wants to tidy up after you so all communal areas should be free from your clutter and bits and pieces. Also, make an effort to keep your cabin clean. For multiple reasons, not least out of respect for your cabin mate.

Team player

Help others! At all times. Just because you finished at 5 on the dot don’t finish for the day. Go and help your colleague finish their task, help tidy the work area and put things back in various lockers. Share ideas and knowledge and make other people’s lives easier. This helps you build trust with each other too.


Simple. Treat others with respect. Don’t mock, belittle or be sarcastic with your colleagues. If they are letting the side down with their performance let a senior member of crew deal with it. Basically, treat others as you want to be treated. And don’t forget, no one likes a bully….

Work ethic

Work hard. Very simple and obvious. Too many crew are last on deck, first into the crew mess at lunch and last back to their workstation. Constantly on their phones and nowhere to be seen when there is hard work to be done or a horrible job to do. Don’t be that person. Put in a good shift and work to a good intensity, especially if you are working to a deadline.


Being that positive, happy go lucky presence in a department is an amazing quality to have. It will make you popular on board and valued by your superiors. Equally, being that miserable, whining pain will get you sacked, quickly. So if you are about open your mouth to say something negative don’t…


Listen to your superiors. If they want something done a certain way, don’t question it and don’t ignore and do it another way. More often than not they have the bigger picture in mind and know things you don’t, so just get on with it.

Help other departments

Pretty obvious. If you have some downtime and another department is struggling, help them. Whether it is putting out fenders or washing glasses, just do it. Also be considerate of the other departments. Eg Don’t hold onto all your laundry for days and then give it to the interior.

Take a deep breath

Sometimes someone will do something that pisses you off. Don’t instantly react or shout or scream. Take a moment and act like a responsible adult. If you are having an issue with someone have a discrete word with them away from other crew and try and sort it out. Again, the key thing to remember here is to behave like adults. Sometimes you have to be the bigger person and suck things up for the greater good.

Don’t get involved

There will often be things going on that have nothing to do with you, in different departments or with other people in your department that probably don’t affect your life in the slightest or only marginally anyway. Don’t get involved, don’t offer up your unnecessary opinion on the subject in the crew mess, don’t stir the pot, don’t gossip and don’t take sides if it involves petty, mundane BS.


Know what your job involves on the yacht and take ownership of what are your responsibilities. Not complicated, you just need to take personal pride in your work and your standards.

Take initiative

If the bins are full in the crew mess empty them even if it isn’t your specific job. Do things that need to be done. Don’t always wait for someone to tell you to do something. Not to be confused with ignoring your superiors orders as you ‘know better’.

Develop yourself

Always be looking to learn. Develop new skills on board by assisting with something you’re not familiar with. Being coachable and developing yourself will also make you a lot more likely to be promoted internally.

Work etiquette

Don’t spend too much time on personal calls, e-mails, WhatsApp etc and don’t constantly be on Facebook during the day. In fact, your phone shouldn’t even be with you on deck, it should be in your cabin and checked on breaks. For the majority of crew you don’t need a phone with you constantly.

All of this sounds obvious. Have a quick think and see if you ticked all these boxes today. Most haven’t. If you are missing things out then print this off and put it up in your cabin. Reflect on this list a couple of times a week and modify your behaviour accordingly. Not everyone can be a superstar who is brilliant at all aspects of their job. But… do the above and you will be a genuine asset who gets a good reference.

Featured image credit: Drozdin Vladimir

Work habits that will help you to stand out onboard

About the author

Tim Clarke

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