Crew Rotation – The Only Schedule That Makes Sense

While rotational crew schedules have been the norm in the commercial shipping industry for years, it is only just recently being accepted as a standard in the private sector of superyachts. One may wonder why a rotational schedule would be the best choice for both an income generating commercial vessel as well as a recreational private vessel. The benefits of running a ship under a rotational crew schedule go beyond affecting the just the functions of a commercial ship and are truly the best practices for any ship on the water. It is, to put it plainly, the only schedule that makes sense in the long term.


In the short term, there are cost increases incurred with hiring two people to cover a single position. This is to be expected and is now a common practice. In even the medium term of operating a superyacht, the costs of replacing crew members who have departed the ship due to burn out and the costs of training up their replacements to approach the proficiency and skill level of the departed crew member go far beyond the costs of implementing a rotational schedule for that position. The most expensive issues associated with errors caused due to exhaustion, or the costs of replacing a valued crew member who left due to burn out are all far more expensive than the cost of implementing a rotational schedule, even if you implement it for your entire crew.


One must keep in mind exactly how expensive a serious issue caused by an exhausted crew member can be. Not only could it be an issue that costs tens to hundreds of thousands in repairs to you ship, but a serious issue could put the very sea-worthiness of your ship at risk, or even put your life or the lives of your crew members in danger. Even the less serious of issues can be extremely expensive and one must keep in mind how much cheaper the cost of prevention is when compared to the cost of repair or replacement of crew or vessel.


By implementing a rotating schedule for your crew members, you are maximizing your chances of retaining those crew members. The longer you are able to retain the same crew members, the more knowledge and experience they gain on your particular vessel, and thus, the more value they have on the ship itself. It is that knowledge and experience that will bring you a return on the investment that you’d made in the form of the added cost of a rotational schedule. Without investing that initial amount to cover a rotational schedule, you put at risk your ability to retain your crew in addition to risking the possibility of incidents caused due to crew duties being performed under exhaustion of low morale.


The situation for private superyacht crews are improving due to this change towards accepting rotational crew schedules. In addition to that, situations for superyacht owners are improving as well due to the minimization of risk and the reaping of the benefits brought about by implementing crew rotations.