Updated: May 29, 2020
Inappropriate photos have become one of the biggest And most common mistakes that I see people posting on the Facebook yachting groups/pages every single day. It could be a lot more career limiting than you probably think. Lots of potential employers will immediately be put off by an inappropriate photograph, and rightly so.
Let's be honest, yachting is supposed to be the absolute pinnacle of the service industry and to see people posting photographs that are wholly inappropriate is just going to get you eliminated from the running before you even know it in terms of your eligibility for work on many yachts.
Here's an example of what I mean. Just today when I was going through the various Facebook yachting pages and other online areas where people look for work in the yachting industry I found countless photographs that would instantly discount their owners from being considered for a position on a lot of yachts.
I found three today alone with crew members that had their hands in the pockets in the photographs. I really can't imagine what was going through these people’s heads when they thought that this was inappropriate image to be portraying for an industry such as yachting. This portrays a very slack attitude and certainly doesn't give an indication of a good work ethic. It could brand you as unemployable in the industry.
The most common offenders sadly are the girls.
There's an enormous trend at the moment for girls to try and portray themselves looking sexy and seductive on their photographs that they post on these groups.
It is entirely inappropriate, and in most cases will do you absolutely no good whatsoever and probably a great deal of harm in terms of your career prospects.
Almost without exception Captains, Managers, even Owners on smaller boats, and Heads of Departments, Chief Stews, Pursers etc. do not want to see a girl who's trying to portray herself as sexy because that will set alarm bells ringing right away. It will spell out things like “high maintenance”, “trouble with the boys onboard. Neither of which is likely to ingratiate you with any potential employer. It's not a smart thing to do as it very clearly gives out the wrong message.
I've notice that there's a much greater tendency amongst Eastern European girls to portray themselves more in this posing, sexy, would be provocative manner.
Perhaps it's just a cultural thing, perhaps there's a bit more lack of understanding of what is appropriate, but it's certainly much more common with girls from these geographical areas. Please take some sound advice and tone the style of your photos down a bit for your own benefit.
Another very common thing that started to happen with photographs over the last couple of years, is that a lot of girls are, shall I say trying to “show off their assets.”
Now by this I mean there their focusing substantially in some cases on their chests which are in many cases straining the buttons on their undersized blouses.
Now if that's how you want to present yourself girls to the wider world of internet land, that's absolutely fine, by all means please go ahead but this is not going to help you in the yachting industry. You need to tone it down a bit and don't send out a message that you're going to be high maintenance on board or possibly be causing trouble with the male crew members. I would recommend a much more toned down, sedate photograph where you're not pushing your chest out as has become so common these days.
Sunglasses are another thing to avoid, as are any other accessories.
The best type of photographs to use on these groups are exactly the same as your CV photograph. You should just use a straight forward head and shoulders shot. If you want to portray the fact that you're slim and fit, that's fine but if you feel the need to put this across, (personally I would not), then take much longer short whereby the person looking at it can see that you're fit and well-proportioned but you're not focusing on that, it’s more of a “just by the way’ I’m fully presentable, rather than capitalising on the shape of your body.
Another fairly common trend which I would avoid as well, is photographs of you using the boats tenders and toys. Lots of pictures of crew on jet skis etc. portrays a very bad image you should really steer away from this kind of photograph completely.
Another huge no-no which just never seems to go away and is such a completely inappropriate thing to do, is any type of selfie.
For God’s sake, just pass your phone or camera to someone else and get them take a proper photograph of you from a sensible angle. Selfies are a massive no-no. Using them shows a clear lack of knowledge as to what’s acceptable.
Another thing to avoid is photographs that show the name of the boat that you may happen to be on at the time if the name is on your polo shirt for example don't use that photograph. Put on a plain polo shirt or blouse as appropriate but something that doesn't show the name of the boat. Ii you feel you must use a photograph that has the boat in it, ( I would not), make sure it doesn't show the name of the boat, or that shows the boat in such a way that it is easily recognisable.
This is just a matter of consideration for the owners, a matter of privacy and you may very well find that if you actually read the non- disclosure agreement that you probably signed when you were on board, that any photographs that portray the name of the boat, or identify the boat in any way should not be shared. This can justifiably get you fired as it is could be a breach of the NDA, that you probably never read properly.
According to the criteria that I use when I'm hiring, and I know this is the case for many other Captains, Heads of Department Managers etc. If I deem your CV photograph to be inappropriate or if I happen to see photographs of you on Facebook yachting groups that are selfies, if the girls are posing and trying to look sexy, if they're pushing their chests out etc. you will instantly be discounted from consideration for employment.
The reasoning behind this is simply the very fact that you've put these photographs online for the world of yachting to see, you obviously think that it's acceptable, which it’s not. This shows that you have very little or no understanding of what is actually acceptable within the yachting industry. Consequently, it is very unlikely that you will fit in with the policies, values, and way things are done on a great many yachts. You certainly on any yacht that I’m in command of.
You should also not underestimate the long lasting consequences that these inappropriate images can have on your career. I'm sure you're all familiar with the term first impressions count and that they last. You better believe it, because they most certainly do.
I've come across CVS second time around the I've seen in the past, albeit that the candidates have corrected some of the errors that they had originally made. But having seen the way a person portrayed themselves 18 months ago for example, that can, still enough to put you off that person for a substantial amount of time in terms of their suitability to work on a vessel that you may be in charge of or a Head of Department on.
The smartest thing to do is just to get it right first time. Only ever use photographs that are completely appropriate to this industry in any place that you're going to post them where they can be seen by other people within this industry. I advise that crew only ever use their CV photo on all the online areas that are for people looking for work or about yachting in general.
You will ignore this advice at your peril.
All of the things I've listed above will instantly discount you from working on a lot of yachts within the industry. It is a big and completely avoidable mistake to make, but so many people are still getting it wrong.
About the author.
Iain Flockhart, MD, Saor Alba Holdings Ltd, is a highly experienced yacht captain with over 265,000 nautical miles in the role of master since 1996. He bought and completely refitted his first yacht at the age of 20 and went on to buy a larger ocean going yacht a few years later and set sail across the oceans, often with novice crews.
As well as being a Master, Iain provides professional mentoring services to yacht crew and advises on issues relating to hiring, managing and retaining the right crew. He’s an ambassador for the exceptional Rafnar brand of RIBs. through his brand SA Marine.
He enjoys simple pleasures such as using his 7m RIB to go exploring and wild camping in the natural beauty of his native Scotland.
Captain Iain Flockhart, The Yacht Crew Mentor.
+44 7958 301 111