Mental-health awareness is growing in the superyacht sector, especially when it comes to crew. The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), which supports seafarers, surveyed crew in 2018, discovering startling stress statistics. As a result, it has launched Yacht Crew Help. This free, confidential, multi-lingual, 24-hour helpline offers phone support, in addition to email and online support.
In its survey, ISWAN found that 82 percent of yacht crew felt low morale sometimes, often, or always. Additionally, 53 percent of female crew experienced discrimination, harassment, or bullying. It’s not unique to women, either. In fact, ISWAN found that nearly one-third of male crew experienced the same. Offending parties ranged from fellow crew to captains as well as owners or guests.
Yacht Crew Help addresses these and other myriad issues related to working long hours away from home and while living in close quarters with co-workers. Trained counselors, further with experience in assessing suicide risk, staff the helpline. Additionally, the counselors are familiar with numerous specialized organizations around the world that can provide more assistance to each crewmember who calls.
Capt. Brendan O’Shannassy, the founder of the yacht-management firm Katana Marine, is among the industry professionals who helped steer the creation of Yacht Crew Help. “The most valuable component of the superyacht industry are the crews,” he asserts. “Yacht Crew Help will be key to educating and supporting yacht crew as they strive to deliver the excellence demanded by the industry.”
Roger Harris, ISWAN’s executive director, agrees. “Although the superyacht industry can be glamorous, the demands on crew are very high.” He adds, “We want to make sure that men and women working on superyachts can easily access the support available to them worldwide whenever they need it.”
Crew onboard or ashore can tap the helpline resources.
Yacht Crew Help yachtcrewhelp.org