An interview with Cara Lees, founder of Cara Lees Yacht Crew
Firstly, please introduce your name, work title, business name, when the company was founded and
any other important information.
My name is Cara Lees, founder of Cara Lees Yacht Crew. The company was founded in March 2021
and is primarily based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Please summarise what services your company offers:
The company offers a truly bespoke and personalised yacht crew placement service-based platform of
professionalism, honesty, transparency and unrivalled personal relationships.
We also don’t adhere to the ‘traditional’ set office hours, this enables us to be on hand for clients
when they find themselves in need of crew urgently ‘out of hours’ or on a Sunday for e.g., and this also
makes our service available to yachts working in the varying time zones.
What makes your company stand out from others/ what can you offer that others don’t?
Cara Lees Yacht Crew is about maintaining and reinstating the traditional values that perhaps may
have been lost along the way in recent years in crew placement services. Automation having taken on
a significant role in recruitment. I sincerely believe it is imperative to see and know the credentials of
whom you are working with and not just presenting a slick website that is often faceless.
Technology and automation certainly have its place and is essential, but person to person interaction
shouldn’t be substituted.
Another aspect is not just being solely driven by targets and sales, but making that placement because
it’s making a difference to someone’s life and career advancement.
And also, importantly, obviously contributing positively to the crew dynamic, operations and yacht
owner/guest experience. Therein lies the job satisfaction.
It’s also important to take the time to find out what is beyond a CV.
Too often good candidates can be and are overlooked by automation. If a crew member appears to
have ‘boat hopped,’ Ask why? Find out the back story, have that conversation, another perk of the
Having worked in the yachting industry for many years, on both private and charter, motor and sail,
combining that with several years in crew recruitment in a highly regarded crew agency, I’ve achieved
a wealth and depth of knowledge in all aspects of daily life in this unique setting, including
understanding the ideal crew dynamic. My business now brings this experience and knowledge
together in the recruitment and placement of top-class crew.
Why did you decide to reach out to CrewPass?
In this incredibly unique and ever-growing industry, it has become more of a necessity to now be a lot
more security and safety conscious when placing crew. Reference checks are obviously a good
indicator and must be completed diligently but usually do not bring to light anything unsavoury about
any candidates’ previous offences or convictions etc if they have any.
We are placing crew who work, eat, sleep and breathe in incredibly close proximity to one other. It is
imperative that we as a crew placement service have done our due diligence and vetted candidates as
comprehensively as possible. Crew Pass helps to ensure the safety of our crew in this regard. Not only
that but also our clients, who are some of the most influential and powerful individuals in the world,
giving everyone onboard peace of mind that every measure has been taken in creating that safe haven
What trends have you noticed in the superyacht industry in 2022?
When it comes to the crew recruitment aspect, it’s a become massively competitive recently and with
a great flood of entry level candidates wanting to break into the industry. It’s also an experienced and
quality candidate’s market out there with supply and demand being an issue. Also, more mental health awareness and support being made available. No longer is this an undiscussed and taboo subject with crew left to suffer in silence and perhaps going hand in hand with that is the ‘work/life balance. It is very much a term that is frequently mentioned, with more and more crew actively seeking out rotational positions.
What are your red flags when interviewing a crew member?
Lack of manners, over familiar, inappropriate language used. Not responding in a timely manner, or
not at all even, to any comms is another indicator.
Any stalling or evasion to pass on referee contact details , is of course a red alert. It’s very rare but has
What are your key identifiers when interviewing a crew member?
Attitude, enthusiasm and demeanour. Being positive, polite, and keen goes a very long way.
Whilst a candidate may tick all the boxes on paper when it comes to experience and qualifications, if
their manners and attitude are off track then that’s a cause for concern. To do well in the yachting,
you must be a people person, as after all, it is a service industry.
What advice would you give a green crew member trying to get their first yacht job?
Perseverance, determination are key. It can be very tough to break into the industry with such a lot
of competition. But present your CV and yourself well and appropriately. Use spell check! Be
courteous and polite. If given any day work opportunities, work hard, be punctual (early is better still)
show willing and leave any attitude or demands on the dock! Go the extra mile but be yourself.
Please can you provide a statement or a small paragraph about our new partnership and the
I’m delighted to have formed an affiliation with Crew Pass and firmly believe this is the way forward
when it comes to doing the best, we can to ensure a safer working and living environment onboard.
Without doubt, it’s a very affordable and worthwhile accreditation that all crew should have and
one that I wholeheartedly support and am very keen to promote.