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How to Get Fired


As with any industry there are several things that would eventually lead to dismissal. Most yachts tend to operate on giving verbal warnings, often 2, then a written warning, and then that’s it.  So, a bit of a three strikes and you’re off ruling does apply to minor offenses, but obviously there are rules for gross misconduct which basically means you’re off the yacht with immediate effect.

Most of these minor ones are common sense (a dangerous term to use these days but still…) and may well be incorporated into your contract.  For example, consistently arriving late to start your shift, or your watch.  Not performing your duties to the best of your abilities.  Being drunk/high on duty. Or being so hungover from the night before you’re a danger to yourself or others. Being disrespectful to your peers or seniors, or disruptive.  Bullying other crew members. Acting in an unsafe manner. Lots of little things that over the course of a season (or often just a few weeks) will pop up when you’re living with people 24/7 and the cause of these could be down to the fact the crew member just simply isn’t happy.  Who knows – happiness is another topic to cover another time!

Immediate sackable offences again can be quite easy to think of; violence of any sort is not permitted.  Especially whilst in crew uniform at the local bar.  But in seriousness, any physical threats against other crew members or actual violent acts are usually greeted with zero tolerance.

Overstepping the mark and being too familiar with guests is not only awkward, it’s not accepted by many owners.  Others like to banter, so just be aware and if in doubt – ask your peers/seniors. Some guests find it an invasion of privacy.  Sometimes guests seek you out to get you drinking with them or joining in – again you must check with your captain to see what the limits are (are you leaving others to do your jobs whilst you sip champers?). Remember you’re there to work, you are not a guest.

Lying! False documents, falsifying references, lying about experience – you’re gone.

If the yacht has policies of no visitors without permission, bringing your own “guests” back is generally a sackable offence.  Especially when they drink the boss’s booze…. Or worse, the captain’s!

Non disclosure agreements are super delicate and warrant an entire discussion on their own merits but breach of these is immediate dismissal.  Owners value their privacy and you should respect that. They pay your wages so don’t Instagram EVERYTHING you do on board!

Having drugs of any kind on board is another one. Obviously. Similarly if you’re on a “dry” boat (i.e. no alcohol permitted at any time) and you have booze on board stashed in your cabin, you’ll be off in a heartbeat.  Whether it is the captain’s policy or the owner’s. Also if you turn up drunk after a night off, if you’ve been warned not to do that then again – you’re off. 

Religious or personal beliefs of the owner must be respected.  There’s the chef who was fired because he served bacon-flavoured canapes to non pork eating owners.  The other chef who was fired for keeping non kosher food in the kosher fridges, and another one who was caught making the crew bacon sandwiches… Oh and one who put marsala wine in the tiramisu for non-drinking owners, I’ve actually heard a lot of these ones so chefs, watch out!

In addition to these ones above which are, arguably, understandable to a point, research one Sunday morning on Facebook uncovered some absolute corkers of reasons for instant dismissal. 

A stewardess who got fired for making eye contact with the owner. I’m waiting to hear if either party turned to stone.

A deckhand fired because the chairs were not lined up with the caulking on the aft bridge deck.

The first mate who was fired and then re-hired for doing his actual job correctly and making the broken boat work.

The chief stew who was let go for not using fabric napkins when the owners of the yacht came for lunch in the shipyard (they were well aware the yacht was packed up with no interior gear on board as they were mid massive refit and had said they’d be happy with sandwiches).

The other deckhand who slept with the boss’s daughter.

Another stew who didn’t steam the correct outfit for the Mrs (she only steamed the other 10 she’d picked out earlier and forgotten to use her crystal ball).

The chief stew who as a size 40 (UK 12) was “too fat” for the boat’s look. The captain’s wife was responsible for that one. Nice.

The chef who was caught drinking on the job. Several times.

The other chef who threw a hot baking pan containing a roast joint of meat at the stews for asking her to wait on dishing up mains on the boss’s request.

The poor stew who was fired for not putting the shower head back at exactly the same angle after cleaning the bathroom.

A chef who had to depart after ripping paper towels whilst the boss was onboard. Evidently he hated the sound.

Another chef who was accused of putting gluten in her gluten free cake.

The stew who was fired after being caught performing fellatio at the back of the boat in St.Maarten. At the dock.  But it was dark….

An engineer who “let” sky TV go down during the World Cup whilst in Greece. 

And another stew whose eyelashes were too long.  Owner told her to remove them as they were “false” and when she couldn’t, well…

The galley hand who was tasked with going ashore in France to buy croissants. Fired by the boss because they were straight and not curved.

I’ll leave you with this to show that instant dismissal can happen to any rank: The captain who was released from his duties early due to being caught pleasuring himself on the bridge whilst viewing porn on the Kaleidoscope system which was, rather unfortunately, linked to the owner’s cabin.

Crikey, never a dull moment eh?

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