On superyachts, crews often consist of individuals from various cultural backgrounds. | T. AYUGA


I’m back with more information for our superyacht newbies! This week let’s talk about communications. One of my favourite topics, communication is everything. Without good comms, relationships (and I don’t just mean romantic, I mean friendships, and professional relationships too) will crumble.

Communication is the lifeline of a superyacht, weaving through the intricate web of daily operations and ensuring the seamless coordination of tasks. For new crew members stepping into the dynamic world of luxury yachting, mastering onboard communication is a fundamental skill that transcends job titles. This guide explores effective communication strategies, emphasising both formal and informal channels, and the paramount importance of clear and concise messaging.

1. Understand the Hierarchy:

Familiarise yourself with the chain of command onboard. Understanding the hierarchy ensures that messages are directed to the appropriate individuals, promoting efficiency and minimizing confusion. Don’t go above your senior straight off the bat, always talk to them first to see if they can resolve the issue. Of course, if they are the issue… then you may have no choice.

2. Use Formal Channels:

Formal communication channels, such as yacht-wide announcements or designated communication boards, are crucial for sharing essential information. Respect these channels for official announcements, safety updates, and operational instructions.

3. Establish Clear Protocols:

Clearly defined communication protocols set the foundation for effective interaction. Understand and adhere to established procedures for reporting incidents, requesting assistance, and conveying information to ensure a standardised approach across the crew.

4. Active Listening:

Actively listen to your fellow crew members. Whether receiving instructions or participating in discussions, attentive listening promotes understanding and helps avoid misunderstandings or mistakes. Again, this doesn’t just have to be on the formal side, your crew mate might just be telling you about a recent experience or a good/bad day.

5. Use Clear and Concise Language:

The art of clear and concise communication cannot be overstated. Express your thoughts in a straightforward manner, avoiding unnecessary complexity. Clarity minimizes the risk of misinterpretation and ensures everyone is on the same page. If someone asks if you’re ok and you say “I’m fine…” when you’re not, well that’s on you.

6. Choose the Right Communication Medium:

Different situations call for different communication mediums. While urgent matters may warrant direct communication, less time-sensitive information can be shared through written channels like emails or message boards. Choose the medium that aligns with the urgency and importance of your message. Some yachts employ whatsapp groups so make sure you understand when / how you should use that group and when not to.

7. Learn the Standardised Terminology:

Yachting, like any industry, has its own set of terminology. Use standardised terms to convey information accurately and efficiently. This practice enhances communication among crew members who may come from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

8. Encourage Open Dialogue:

This one’s for the seniors. Foster an environment of open dialogue. Encourage crew members to express concerns, ask questions, and share insights. A culture of open communication promotes collaboration and problem-solving.

9. Be Mindful of Cultural Differences:

On superyachts, crews often consist of individuals from various cultural backgrounds. Be mindful of cultural differences in communication styles and adapt your approach to ensure effective and respectful interaction. Some cultures prefer a kinder softer approach, so try to be aware and adapt your style if necessary.

10. Address Conflict Proactively:

In the event of conflicts or misunderstandings, address them proactively. Effective conflict resolution is a crucial aspect of maintaining a harmonious onboard environment. Seek solutions through open discussion and cooperation.

11. Leverage Technology:

Embrace technology for efficient communication. Whether using radios, messaging apps, or electronic communication systems, leverage available tools to streamline information flow and enhance real-time coordination.

12. Continuous Improvement:

Communication is a skill that can always be refined. Seek feedback on your communication style, learn from experiences, and continuously strive to improve your ability to convey information clearly and effectively.

Mastering onboard communication is not just a professional skill; it's a cornerstone of a cohesive and successful crew. I’d rather have too much information than not enough, so make sure you share anything you think is relevant with your fellow crew. Even if it seems insignificant, it may well prove to be important down the line.