Real crew stories series:

Transitions and mental health

Richard Craven is a chief officer who started his career in cruise ships and made the transition to yachting. He tells us his view about this industry, with great insights about mental health, advice for green crew and the many lessons he learned along the way.

Worth the read.

 

1) How did you start your yachting career? 

I started my career at sea with Princess Cruises with whom I completed an OOW cadetship. On qualifying I spent another year working for Princess Cruises and P&O Australia before deciding I wanted to make the transition to the yachting industry. I then was offered an opportunity as Third Officer on a 100m+ yacht through a former cruise ship colleague who had made the transition a few years earlier. 

 

2) What was your best moment in your career so far? 

The best moment in my career so far was being given the opportunity to step up to Relief Captain for a period of time on my last vessel. 

3) What are the most difficult things in the lifestyle of a yachtie? 

I think most recently one of the more difficult aspects of working in yachting has been the extended periods of time that crew have been stuck on board, often without shore leave due to the pandemic. On a positive note though, this has really brought mental health awareness to the forefront of the industry over the last couple of years. I myself have seen a better appreciation of this amongst crew and the development of yachts offering mental health support and training. I think this is great for the future so that crew know whatever hardships they are facing, there is a support network for them.

 

 4) What advice would you give to a greenie starting his/her way on deck? 

For someone new to the industry I would advise them to be willing to learn, humble in their approach, and prepared to work hard. This is a tough industry where we pride ourselves on the highest standards, but the rewards we get in return are great with opportunities to see the world, experience different cultures and meet many lifelong friends. I would also tell them to be aware that their reputation carries with them throughout their career. This means, as deckhand or junior stew, holding themselves to standards on which they would happily be judged later in their career as Chief Stew, Chief Officer, Chief Engineer etc.

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