The owners of large yachts and mega yachts often have had significant experience with numerous types of organizational contracts. From operational guidelines to restrictive covenants, business owners and managers alike must be familiar with drafting and enforcing agreements. Unfortunately, employment contracts on a seafaring vessel are different from land-based businesses and can often seem overwhelming.
After purchasing a large yacht, one of the first orders of business is securing an experienced and trustworthy captain and crew. Since a yacht’s payroll often represents a significant portion of its overall running costs, a carefully drafted employment contract is essential.
While there are numerous factors that make up an effective contract, three elements must be considered:
- Accident prevention: In many situations, experience is key. For some hiring managers, though, gauging a potential employee’s level of competency is just as crucial. From training manuals to required certifications, the employment agreement must specify the qualifications necessary to safely operate the vessel.
- Crew working hours: To reduce the possibility of fatigued crew members, the employment contract must specify working hours and required periods of rest. On a yacht, it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between on-duty and off-duty hours. Often, the employment contract clearly defines working hours as the time a crew member spends at the disposal of his or her employer.
- Schedule of duties: To enforce the management hierarchy and division of responsibility, a schedule of duties should be drawn up. This provision in the contract can also reiterate working hours and rest periods.
While the reward of yacht ownership is clear, many might find numerous details frustrating. Finding the right crew, for example, can be an arduous task. Taking the time to carefully draft and thoroughly review the crew’s employment contract is crucial.