Burgess launches crew recruitment database

Published 30 January 2024

This year Burgess has launched a new in-house yacht recruitment agency with ex-Chief Stew Gabriela Szmigielski at the helm. This initiative offers recruitment as a standalone service to all yacht owners and captains, as well as to Burgess managed yachts.

Gabriela joined Burgess in October 2023 to build this department. Her first action was to put in place a new database and CRM system to streamline the application process for crew and yachts alike. 

Marrying hands-on yacht crew experience with Burgess seven-star service adds up to greater staff retention, a happier crew - and peace of mind. It is no wonder that owners and captains are already lining up to talk to Gabriela and her team… 

Talk to the burgess expert...

Gabriela Szmigielski

Creating a well-functioning crew is more than ticking off a list of skills, there is an art to this science. The 24/7 nature of working on a yacht can create a pressure cooker within any crew. 

‘Building a strong crew is about blending skills, personalities, work ethics, relaxation styles and attitudes,’ says Gabriela. ‘A yacht is a very intense workplace - the crew work hard, play hard and need to relax hard too.

Gabriela Szmigielski, Burgess Recruitment Manager
Gabriela Szmigielski, Burgess Recruitment Manager

‘Our MO at Burgess recruitment is to know the yacht intimately, and equally know the individuals applying for each position. The importance of the new database is that it automates the application process, making it faster and more efficient.

‘The database spreads the net wider for each role we advertise and allows our team to really get to know each applicant. Already we have a deep talent pool of hundred of crew registered with us.’

Crew recruitment falls to the captain and heads of departments, so you can imagine their satisfaction at being able to call Gabriela to tap into her insight and expertise. ‘We know the yachts very well, and we get to know each candidate.

‘With this knowledge I can call the captain recruiting and say with certainty that I have someone that will be a good cultural fit for them. I know when it feels right – and that intuition is based on years of experience, knowing the lifestyle and the demands of crew work.

'I know what it takes to make a crew gel.'
'I know what it takes to make a crew gel.'

‘The new system allows us to offer a considered choice of three or four quality applicants. We talk to captains about each of them in great detail. As a result, we can place crew very successfully – which leads to crew retention and saves the yacht repeated recruitment expense – and the headache!’

Gabriela worked on yachts for over a decade. ‘My last role was Chief Stew on an 80+m yacht. When I left to have my daughter I took a recruitment role with Morgan Spencer, in the City of London. It was fast paced, and I enjoyed it.

‘I wanted to put my years of experience on yachts to good use. I was involved in crew recruitment in my role as Chief Stew, and I know what it takes to make a crew gel. When the opportunity came to build this team within Burgess, I knew that I wanted to take this on.’

'Everyone in Burgess Recruitment has experience of working on a yacht.'
'Everyone in Burgess Recruitment has experience of working on a yacht.'

The million-dollar question all yacht owners want to know is, what makes a crew a cohesive team?

‘It is all about the personalities,’ says Gabriela. ‘The atmosphere on a yacht is influenced by the captain. They play a crucial role in ensuring the crew work harmoniously, get on with the job at hand, and have assigned spaces for both exercise and personal time.

‘Everyone in the Burgess Recruitment team has experience of working on a yacht. That knowledge makes it really clear to us which crew will fit where.’

If you had one piece of advice for yachts owners…

‘There is one hard and fast rule - get the captain right and everything will fall into place. Allow your captain to build your crew. If you are recruiting crew for a new build, the captain may become your project manager as well – that person is your linchpin at every stage of yacht ownership.’

'There is no other job like a yacht crew role. You make life-long friends.'
'There is no other job like a yacht crew role. You make life-long friends.'

Any rule of thumb for captains?

‘Trust your instincts, and trust our instincts. Also, be open to giving green crew a chance. 

‘Burgess Recruitment has solid connections with UKSA and their cadetship program. There is a lot of untapped talent and commitment there. The cadets are young, they have already invested heavily in their career, and they are well trained. The last piece of the puzzle is to find the right cadet for your crew. We work alongside captains and cadets to find the right cultural fit.’ 

'I have worked with great owners who wanted their crew to see the world with them.'
'I have worked with great owners who wanted their crew to see the world with them.'

What would you say to anyone considering a career on a yacht?

‘I would strongly recommend it. You need to be a grafter with a good attitude and a lot of drive.

‘There is no other job like a yacht crew role. It is immersive, challenging, and amazing in equal measure. You will make life-long friends with the crew that you work alongside.

‘I worked for some really great owners who wanted their crew to see the world with them – diving for pearls, travelling to places you can only access by yacht.

‘I loved it, and only moved ashore to start a family of my own. 

Burgess Recruitment is a professional recruitment company, that yacht owners can come to – whether or not they are taking any other Burgess services. 'This year we are improving the department in response to the demand we are already seeing. We have the tools in place to operate as a professional recruitment agency within Burgess. 

‘We look forward to talking to you about your crew needs, so please get in touch.’

Discuss your crew needs with us today. Enquire now.

Click here to view the new Burgess crew database.

To find out more about Burgess’ yachts for sale and yachts for charter, please contact a Burgess broker. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our offices directly: London, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore or all other locations.

- Yachts, prices and availability are correct at the time of publication.

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