Updated: May 29
Tolerance does not equal loyalty.
The very best kind of loyalty is not that which is bought but rather gained through respect. Anyone that can afford a large yacht can pay well and give good contractual terms with additional benefits, bonuses etc. If they choose to.
This however in no way guarantees loyalty or that crew will want to continue to work for such an owner. A genuinely good owner or Captain for that matter will gain respect even if they do not pay especially well or give large bonuses.
Financial, or other incentives alone do not necessarily, bring loyalty. What they more often do is to buy a higher level of tolerance of difficult owners and or circumstances. This is not the same as loyalty by a long shot and many crew will jump ship simply to work for a better owner or Captain as soon as the opportunity arises.
Why do most of us stay loyal to our partners? Mostly because we love them and respect them and it’s generally a mutually reciprocated arrangement.
Lots of men or women have wealthy partners but this does not guarantee loyalty and many stay in such relationships because the trappings of having access to more wealth than they may otherwise would have can be attractive and often merely buys extended tolerance of remaining in a relationship you would otherwise choose to leave.
Infidelity and the yearning to move to a better relationship where there may be more respect for you because of who you are will likely prevail especially as your own financial security increases.
The same can be said of and is frequently the case on yachts. Most people’s tolerance will exceed even their own expectations if you throw enough money at them.
But at your peril will you confuse tolerance with real loyalty, they are poles apart.
Real loyalty is grown from a mutual trust and respect, and a willingness to remain with someone and support them because of who they are, not because of how much money they have, and what proportion of it they are willing to throw in your direction.
Loyalty can never simply be bought and it is delusional for anyone to believe that it can be. Tolerance however, can and frequently is bought, and often is on yachts.
If you want to earn, real loyalty, (and it needs to be earned), you need to treat people with the respect they deserve.
As my learned father quotes occasionally, "Don't confuse us with the facts."
There are lots of factors that will help to retain a good crew which I’ve written extensively about. Earning their loyalty is not always easy but it can pay great dividends throughout your career as a Captain or head of department if you can do it. The same goes for an owner. Having a loyal crew where there is a mutual trust and respect will likely result in a happy ship.
It is worth the investment of your time and effort.
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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