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Superyacht owners face crew shortages

Discussion in 'Yacht Crews' started by airship, Jul 30, 2007.

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  1. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    Superyacht owners face crew shortages according to the UK's Daily Telegraph.

    Employing crew aboard superyachts must represent one of the few remaining domains where a rich individual (or corporate body) can ostensibly and legally circumvent the rules usually applied to the employment of personnel in the guise of employer's and employee's deductions regarding payroll taxes etc.

    Thanks to yachting back in the '80s, I have a huge 6 year "hole" in my contributions to social security towards a basic state pension. Whatever that might be worth one fine day. However, it does mean that I shall only obtain a "full basic state pension" after the age of 73, provided I continue in full employment until then obviously.

    What currently "goes on" in superyacht crew employment today is totally and utterly unacceptable. And the point that "professional crew agencies" may be encouraging the phenomenon should not pass without comment. It may be legal for a superyacht owner "not to have to pay" payroll taxes etc. on their crew, but I'd suggest that this might change in future. Retrospectively speaking. Everyone had better have a good insurance policy. And ex. crew should endeavour to know as much as possible about their employers...?!

    Once upon a time, working on a superyacht represented the means towards a little adventure, satisfying a wanderlust, good pay for hard work and "bugger the taxes". No longer IMHO.

    Superyacht owners and prospective crew should take note...:rolleyes:
  2. cranky

    cranky New Member

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    I disagree. I knew without a doubt 20 years ago that no goverment was going to look after me when I became old a decrepit. For me I saw yachting as one of the few ways to stash away for my future and not be reliant on some goverment who will undoubtedly mis spend my tax dollars if I were paying them, just look at history in any developed country.
  3. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    This varies a lot. On Swedish yachts you are under the same (tax) rules as the normal merchant navy. Under other flags, you are sometimes free to cater for your own retirement and tax situation and some like to spend their income on a Harley Davidson or the local Pub. If you are earning a lot and spending it all, I don´t think it is right to blame the yacht owners when you feel miserable at 73...?
  4. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    cranky, may I be the first to congratulate you on your prescience:
    I think today, the majority of people who'd paid their share of taxes etc. would agree with you. And those more fortunate who've voluntarily paid into supplementary (non-state) pension schemes must be wondering whether they'll ever get full-value or whether the additional benefit will simply be "deducted" from their state pension entitlements...?! Unfortunetly, for the vast majority (ie.) outside of certain specific industries, deductions (ie.) payroll taxes etc. are automatically deducted at source, so they don't exactly have any choice in the matter.

    AMG, I'm not blaming or attacking the yacht owners directly, it's rather the advice they are given by miscellaneous yacht brokers, crew agencies and why not legal counsel, who profit from yet another sale or service contract on the basis of inaccurate or even false information. Your over-simplistic response about yacht crew being guilty of spending it all on motorbikes or at the pub demonstrates a serious lack of consideration and / or knowledge of the magnitude of the problem in the yachting industry today.

    It's a very complicated subject, I would agree. There are private yachts, commercial yachts and even passenger vessels. Under all and any flags. Some yachts cruise for a month or 2 in the year and are based in a foreign country the rest of the time. Others are always on the move. Some flags allow employing crew of any nationality, others don't. Whether the beneficial owner is European can have important consequences should the yacht be based or cruise in European waters. I'm no specialist, but I think that at least some of the time, most yacht "owners" fall foul of the rules that could be applied to them. And it's only because the national authorities remain unaware (or more often) that they choose "to ignore" or make allowances "for the importance of the yachting industry" that certain abnormalities go without sanction. Until of course, someone complains...

    here's an example:

    A 30m UK-flagged yacht which is based in the south of France employing 4 permanent crew and a total of 7 for the 2 month annual summertime cruising season. All the permanent crew also live ashore. But only the captain and engineer "are declared" to the French authorities: that means that the owner's agent deducts the employee's social security charges and pays the additional empolyer's payroll taxes. That almost effectively doubles the cost of the Captain and engineer to the owner. At some stage, one of the permanent deckhands suffers a small accident and is not fit enough to rejoin the yacht for the summer cruising season. He's replaced. He makes a complaint to the French authorities (as far as I'm aware, this particular deckhand was not even French, but a British national and residing in France normally. And he'd been more than adequately compensated for not being able to work that summer by a magnaminous gesture on the part of the yacht owner). However, the French authorities decided on the basis of the complaint that the yacht owner had been illegally-employing this deckhand. And was made to pay a very heavy fine in addition to "making good" the back-dated social security deductions and employer's payroll taxes on all previous (and current) crew. I guess that the owner's agent in this case reimbursed the yacht owner...?! :cool:

    This UK yacht owner would never have dreamed of employing an au-pair at the family home without ensuring that all the proper formalities had been taken care of. But just because it concerns the employment of somebody, probably in his or her early 20s on a yacht, in foreign waters, suddenly the yacht owner feels absolved of all responsibilities. And we wonder why?!

    And if just one of those early 20s somethings, now in their 40s one day decides to at least forewarn future superyacht crew about the pitfalls of the profession in a time of supposed crew shortages, we are immediately mauled by those accusing us (me) of buying Harley davidsons and spending all night in the pub.

    Employers have a duty to their employees. And vice-versa. Just because your employees come from halfway around the planet shouldn't mean that an employer has any less responsiblity towards them. That means ensuring that the young, keen but ultimately ignorant youthful crew looking for a little adventure in 2007 somehow keep their basic pension rights (and why not other fiscal obligations - even income taxes are deducted at source in many countries these days...?) intact.

    One might be able to comprehend how these sorts of "failures" might accompany an ageing Liberian-registered tanker that runs aground releasing a few 100,000 barrels of crude oil in the English channel. But those who own or operate "yachts" should be on a whole other level IMHO. And I'd like to think that up until now, the authorities in most nations have done their utmost to accommodate yachts and their owners. But with the lack of regulation in the professional yachting industry today on these matters, it should hardly come as any surprise that some of us would like to see at least a little "self-regulation" within the industry. We wouldn't like to be compared to the "sub-prime" market, would we...?! :eek:
  5. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    I don´t think we have met, so don´t take it personally, but I have myself been a crew and spent five years in Antibes, so I have met quite a few at the pub. And I think most of them were fully aware that they had a pretty good salary and that they did not belong to the French social security system. But many of them had health and dentist insurances arranged by the yacht and those who had settled in France sooner or later became part of the normal tax system. This is a period in your life, as you said initially, where you take the chance to see the world and decide what to do next.

    I don´t regret my five year "hole" in my future pension.
  6. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    That's probably because you've been able to make up for the "shortfall" since then.

    Would you still feel the same way if you were still "merely" working as yacht crew after all those years today? Or if someone cannot make up the shortfall, this is their problem, perhaps one that we could safely blame on any number of factors: laziness, upbringing, genetics...or just plain unluckiness?!

    On the other hand, as far as I'm aware, Sweden has one of the most generous social security systems on the planet: so perhaps you're more than entitled to your opinion considering that you're footing the bill today anyways...?! :D
  7. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    We used to have, but today we just have added taxes on everything, by far the highest in the world. France is much better in this respect.

    But on crew, I can agree with you that some praxis should be established, but fiscal laws and regulations will always be circumvented.

    We actually have MYBA, but I don´t know what they are doing in this matter?
  8. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    The MYBA?!

    This must be a "trade union" which to all intents and purposes exists solely to protect her very highly paid members within a "self-regulated" regime.

    Other "trade unions" could once upon a time stop the trains, or buses or the underground from running. One day, the MYBA will stop all yacht charters in the Mediterranean because of serious environmental or other concerns (why not crew issues...?)

    Yawn...?! :eek:
  9. charleskwinter

    charleskwinter New Member

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    crew shortages? the yachts are too big and there are too many of them. let us take the total amount of people in the industry and compare the number of people it takes to run a MONSTER yacht. it seems these are being run more commercially but it is still draining great captains and mates from the smaller 20 million dollar yachts. i don't want to instigate some sort of war here, but at a certain point i ask myself what is just simply too big.