New resource to help yacht crew safely find work on board

September 11, 2023
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A new resource has been launched to support crew in safely finding paid or voluntary work in the yachting industry.

The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has worked with experts across the yachting industry to produce Personal safety precautions for job-seeking yacht crew, which aims to empower crew by providing the guidance and tools necessary to make informed, aware, boundaried and safe decisions about their next role.

The resource was developed in direct response to an increase in calls and messages to ISWAN’s free, confidential, 24-hour helpline, Yacht Crew Help, from crew who had experienced serious personal safety issues including bullying, harassment and sexual violence whilst working on board yachts. Many crew had secured their roles through unregulated means such as social media and crewing websites, and many were part of what is sometimes termed the ‘nautical hitchhiker’ community. In 2022, almost a quarter (24.3%) of yacht crew who contacted Yacht Crew Help about mental health challenges (16.6% of all issues) also raised an experience of some form of abuse.

A number of organisations provided invaluable knowledge and expertise in the development of the resource. Nautilus International, Bond TM, MHG Insurance, Safer Waves, Sailing Safely for Women (SSW), Salute Her, Wilsonhalligan and Yachts Mermaids were key partners who contributed to ensure the guidance is accurate, comprehensive and inclusive, and addresses the key personal safety issues facing crew working or volunteering on board yachts.

Personal safety precautions for job-seeking yacht crew has been created for crew of any gender identity, nationality or level of experience within the industry. It provides guidance to support crew throughout the process of finding work and joining a yacht, starting with how to find reputable agencies and practise safe dock-walking, as well as an individual’s rights and what checks to make before embarking. The resource also addresses personal safety while on board and what to do in the case of an incident, and provides a list of organisations which offer support to crew.

ISWAN’s Projects and Relationships Manager Georgia Allen said: ‘I am so proud to see this resource published because of what it represents – a coming together of those in the industry who recognise the seriousness of these issues and want to see long-term change. I am thankful to all who have contributed their time, expertise, and personal experiences to turn this into the comprehensive resource that it is today. I am hopeful that with continued support, we can reach as many crew as possible with this guidance and if we prevent even one individual from going through a negative personal safety experience on board then I will class it a success. I hope that this is just the start of many more collaborations to come which aim to make the industry a safer, happier and more inclusive place for all.’

A representative from Nautilus International said: ‘Nautilus is honoured to have been involved with this project. We are committed to supporting a successful Superyacht industry and ensuring that crew welfare is upheld at all times. Bullying, harassment, abuse and discrimination is unacceptable in any form, and we believe that this guide will be invaluable to those wanting to join the maritime sector, as well as those professionals already working at sea.’

Personal safety precautions for job-seeking yacht crew is available to download for free on the ISWAN and Yacht Crew Help websites and on the ISWAN for Seafarers app, which is free to download on Google Play and the App Store. Any yacht crew member needing support or someone to talk to can contact Yacht Crew Help at any time, 24/7/365 – contact details and Live Chat can be found at

Personal safety precautions for job-seeking yacht crew

Guidance to support crew in safely finding paid or voluntary work in the yachting industry.


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