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Is your crew in need of team building support?

13 December 2019

If you’ve just started another season and are surrounded by a variety of new team members, it’s probably not surprising to learn that an entirely new dynamic is starting to form onboard. But, since the launch of social media and uninterrupted internet connection in the majority of crew cabins, it’s becoming less and less frequent for crew to socialise, play board games or watch movies together in crew quarters, leading to a decline in crew bonding.

According to an article published by Onboard Online, majority of yacht Captains think that crew bonding is key to overcoming some of their biggest challenges, including ‘crew retention, crew recruitment, crew conflict, crew issues, guest/owner expectations and external factors’. Whilst some might not see the value in paying for specialist team-building advice, it’s definitely a small investment compared to the time and money required when things go wrong. 

To ensure that your team is set for the highs and lows of the season ahead, we highly recommend taking on board some of the following team-building techniques to ensure that crew politics don’t ‘rock the boat’ and affect the experience for your guests. 

Break the Ice 

Encourage your crew to get to know each other. Going out for a meal or simply playing a number of ice-breaker games is a great way for everyone to get talking - especially for the more reserved members of the team. Here’s a list of fun ice-breakers you can play.

Inspire teamwork 

Try to get your crew working together by encouraging new bonds and friendships to form. Taking part in team activities like paintball, bowling or a quiz night is a great way to get crew from different departments working together. It also helps make each crew member aware of their strengths and talents whilst developing a greater understanding of others and what makes them tick. If you’re based out at sea, here are some easy team-building exercises.  

Foster a positive working environment 

Taking simple steps to create a positive environment can go a long way. Conducting regular check-ins, encouraging communication or simply putting up a positive quote each day in your crew quarters will help build a positive atmosphere, which will have a big impact on crew happiness and performance. Here are some simple steps to start with. 

Deal with conflict tactfully 

By understanding the source of onboard conflict and nipping it in the bud quickly, you can stop it escalating. Simply encouraging crew to talk, understanding the source of problems and helping them find a solution together can avoid conflict and unhappiness onboard. Here are some guidelines for dealing with conflict.

Get help from the professionals

In addition to the techniques listed above, there are a variety of companies offering training and advice tailored specifically to the challenges faced by professional yacht crew. Luxury Hospitality Industry (LH) has been running courses for a number of years which develop crew team dynamics and wellbeing. In addition, Impact Crew and Crew Glue offer facilitated training to develop crew team building, whilst also providing crew management tools, tips and techniques.

If you have a specific crew issue or would like more advice on crew training and development, contact our Member's Assistance Service at

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