The Burgess Crew Services team have a saying, ‘There is no situation we haven’t dealt with before.’ As a team they have collectively chalked up 49 years with Burgess, running crews for Burgess yachts.
‘Burgess Crew Services takes all the pressure off the owner – on both the legal and logistical sides,' says Medd (17 years with Burgess, 25 years overall in the Marine Industry). 'We cover recruitment, employment administration, payroll, disciplinary, and termination… All of which is hugely time-consuming and specialised.’
When crewing your yacht is 50 per cent of your yacht’s running cost in an average year (less so in a five-year survey year), Burgess yacht owners expect something special – and they get it…
‘I often have owners asking me if I can find a staff member for their land-based home, as they want the same service that they receive on their yacht, but can’t find it ashore,’ explains Medd. ‘It takes a special kind of person to commit to being a yacht crew – they deliver at another level.’
Burgess Crew Services are well versed in the art of finding and retaining crew. Which is why they work closely with the crew once recruited, to ensure that each crew member is dealing with the rigour of life aboard, and finding a healthy outlet for physical and mental stress.
‘A yacht never stops, unless it is out of the water, and staffing a 24/7 business requires a different approach,’ says Medd. ‘We know that the crew are on call at all times.’
An onboard chef, for example, may be called to make an omelette at 4am, and then be expected to create a masterpiece fine-dining experience for 50 guests the next evening. Life as a yacht crewmember can be high pressure.
‘A yacht chef also has to be able to master all cuisines,’ says Medd. ‘A Michelin-starred chef on land will specialise, but a yacht chef is expected to create food of Michelin standard across all cultures and tastes – from Japanese to American, fine dining to barbecue.’
The Burgess Yacht Crew Instagram account has become a community hub for crew and owners alike. Burgess Crew Service host and upload podcasts on subjects ranging from fitness workouts for crew, to how to manage living with your work colleagues.
‘There’s a reason that there’s a legal Hours of Rest requirement,’ says Medd. ‘Many officers get rotation leave to ensure they are getting adequate rest; that’s two months on board, two months off. The job includes the huge responsibility of running the yacht, as well as the crew – all while ensuring that everything is perfect for the guests. It’s an all or nothing career.'
Once an owner sees the worth of investing in their crew, the rest is plain sailing – so to speak. Their charters go without a hitch, and they start getting repeat bookings. Often charterers will request the same captain or chef that they had on their last charter.
The owners themselves are getting in on the action as well… ‘We have several yacht owners who move aboard as soon as a charter finishes. There is definitely an increase in the number of owners living on the yachts we manage,’ agrees Medd.
‘In fact, seven to eight percent of yachts we manage now have the owner living on board full time. They love the yachting lifestyle, they love the level of service, they love being at sea. Their yacht has become their main base.’
Burgess Crew Services has an inside secret for yacht owners and captains… ‘Instead of looking for crew with three-years’ experience and paying top dollar, recruit a junior a few months before the season starts,’ says Medd.
‘If you take on a green crewmember in January for the Med summer season, by May you will have them trained, gelled with the crew – and loyal to you. It’s a tactic that will save you endless money and stress.’
Burgess Crew Services are part of the 360-service that Burgess offers. When yacht owners are so impressed that they make their yacht their permanent home, you couldn’t ask for a higher compliment for Medd and her team.