Mark moved to work ashore in 2017. | Erica Lay


Each week Erica Lay, owner of EL CREW CO International Yacht Crew Agency talks to a crew member who’s made the transition from working on yachts to a land based role -effectively, from ship to shore, here in Mallorca. For more info on any of our stars featured, you can contact Erica directly on

This week I’m chatting to British ex captain/engineer Mark Williams, who, after several years in the yachting industry is now working as Service Technician for Princess Motoryachts in Cala d’Or. Having lived here since 2007 but continuing to work on yachts, Mark moved to work ashore in 2017, and lives here with his wife Sarah, and their little girl.

What attracted you to the island? What do you like about living here?

Initially because it was a good base for yachting, close to the UK and the island had everything you need within an hour’s drive. Now, we’ve grown to love the lifestyle, and the food!

What’s the hardest thing about living in Mallorca?

Adapting to a Spanish way of life. By that, I mean the language barrier and not necessarily being fully aware of the government systems that you should or shouldn’t be following. I spent the first 10 years of our life on Mallorca working away, leaving Sarah to not only raise our daughter in a different culture but also miles away from any real support network. She’s done brilliantly and our daughter is a real credit to how Sarah embraced the Spanish lifestyle and culture.

Can you give me a summary of your career?

I’ve worked on several yachts both sail and motor, starting as deck and worked my way up to be mate, engineer, and captain. I’ve been in the yachting industry for 19 years.

When/why did you decide it was time to move ashore?

When my daughter turned 10 in 2017 I realised how many birthdays I’d missed, and would continue to miss if I continued working away. With Sarah now working we decided that we could survive if I moved to a shore-based income. So, I contacted Andrew Fairbrass of Sentinel Yachting and began working for him, firstly as a self-employed contractor, then as permanent staff.

What were the challenges?

Adjusting to the new expenses! On yachts, everything’s paid for. Ashore there are suddenly so many costs you’ve not had to consider before. Who knew razor blades were so expensive? So I grew a beard…

What are the best things about being land based?

Working (predominantly) Monday to Friday 8-5 is awesome!! My family life/work balance is great and being there for my wife when it hits the fan is great. Being around for my daughter is amazing, helping with homework and seeing her growing into a daughter to be proud of is fantastic.

What do you miss about working as crew?

Travel, new food and cultures, and the money.

What do you do now?

Through my time with Sentinel (now Berthon) I was lucky to work alongside and under a fantastic manager/engineer Nic McMullen. I owe a lot of my current knowledge to his tutelage. After a few years travelling to Palma every day, I saw an advert for a service technician for Princess Motor Yacht Services based out of Cala d’Or, 15 minutes from my home. I’ve been doing this now for almost 2 years.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Working for PMYS is fantastic most of the time and being so close to home has increased my work/life balance even further, bringing me closer to the Santanyi community that we live in. As a jack-of-all-trades, I enjoy the variety of work that gets thrown my way, as opposed to cleaning and maintaining the same bit of paint or fibreglass everyday, which is what it sometimes felt like on yachts.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Something that’s required a real shift in mind-set, is that you’re carrying out this role as a part of a business and therefore to a timeframe and budget. Sometimes on yachts, detail was the priority and time didn’t matter, if you wanted the perfectly shiny bell you could spend a week detailing it. As part of a profit-based company this would be absurd, also buying 10 different products to see which worked best (guilty of that onboard) would not be acceptable to an accounts department!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I love to cook and spend time with family. Pizza Friday is a big thing in our house, we love coming together in the kitchen with a few beers, making the dough, sparking the bbq and eating.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to make the move ashore from yachting?

Do your sums. You’ll take a hit in salary but it’s not what’s coming in that’s the biggest issue it’s what goes out. You’re paying for everything and where 2 new pairs of designer sunglasses a season might not have been an issue before, that money now could be a weekly food bill.