Samantha Watson

People have always gone to sea for many different reasons – for some there is still a sense of adventure, for others the challenge, while some are in for the money – mine is for the love of the maritime industry.

I graduated with a Masters in Business Administration & Hospitality Management, certified with a Diploma from Portsmouth University in Super Yacht Project Management (Refit & Newbuilding), including a ParaLegal Degree, further seasoned with an additional 8- years on- shore in the luxury hospitality & legal sector.

In 2008, I set off to walk the docks in Antibes, France in the hope of landing my first Junior Stewardess position. Since then, I have worked my way up through the ranks from Junior Stew, 2nd Stew, Head of House, Chief Stew, Interior Manager and finally landing my first Purser role in 2013.

One could say that I have become an accomplished white-collar with over 14-years working aboard private and commercial yachts with a demonstrated work history in administration, yacht operations, HR, events & financial management with experience in charter, private, new build & refit projects.

I am currently enrolled and studying a Life Coaching Masterclass which will hopefully aid me as a Purser and in general life to discover how to better understand personalities, and learn the skills and knowledge needed to communicate effectively with crew and get to the heart of their needs and desires in life onboard. A life coach is like a supportive and trusted adviser rolled into one.

One thing I feel passionate about is safety at sea which is directly linked to preventing accidents from occurring or maintaining a wellbeing onboard. But, what about the unwelcome behaviour onboard. Lately, we hear that more and more crew fear to pursue a career onboard believing that they might have to deal with harassment and the unwelcome behaviour while at sea. Indeed, this is still an issue in the maritime industry. For this reason, I would like to support, promote and educate crew on these types of challenges inclusive of cultural and social differences, which is why I am now certified with the MHFA as a Mental Health First Aider.

As for working on board a luxury yacht, this can be one of the most exhilarating experiences of a lifetime. As many newcomers to the industry soon realize, it’s easy to be seduced by the glamour of the setting without appreciating the incredible amount of hard work that goes into every workday and it’s certainly not as glamorous as many think. Therefore, I am currently working on a tool to aid newcomers in regard to what to expect and the expectations on how to behave onboard, how to overcome the challenges in the industry and how to adapt to the ever changing and demanding environments, including pitfalls and how to cope with the lifestyle at sea.

The thoughtful management of The Human Element is a combination of choosing the right people, providing the right training and creating an environment where everyone feels valued, motivated and part of the team. Steering away from antiquated models of top-down management, where crewmembers are more akin to factory workers on an assembly line, can help you capitalise on what has the potential to be your yacht’s greatest asset – the human one.

The longer you can keep your team together, the stronger they become as a team and the stronger the team, the better the yacht will run.