Yacht crew during refit and repair
Last updated: 07/06/2017
No matter how new and expensive a superyacht may be, there’s still a good chance the yacht you’re working on will need some kind of emergency refit or repair. But what do crew do when a yacht is being repaired? What preparations need to be made?
Crew can play an extremely important part in a yacht or superyachts refit; read on to find out just what will be expected from the crew and what crew might be doing during the yacht’s time in a shipyard.
Preparing for a repairing
If you’re a crew member that’s required to play some part in the refit process, be it living on board while repairs take place, playing an active role during the entire process or staying in a villa away from the yacht, there are many preparations that need to be made and plans which need to be put in place.
During a yacht refit, it’s all too common for additional problems/issues to arise, which can delay the completion date or push the budget over the agreed cost.
Every crew member on board should write a list of the important areas, in their opinion, that need to be repaired or worked on and then compare this with the captain and other crew members. Crew should also create a “wish list”, with maintenance issues taking precedence; this should include tasks that may be required in the future. They should also note down any other tasks which they feel will be of additional benefit to the yacht, in case these can be easily completed.
However, even with perfect crew preparation, issues can still arise during the repair process and it is a good idea to make sure everyone is clear on how to proceed should extra costs/time be required.
Preparation on board the yacht is also very important. Having crew who know exactly what they are doing and fully understand their role during a refit or repair can be the difference between a successful project and a failure.
Crew should organise all items as much as possible, sorting things into the correct place, possibly putting items in storage and finding safe areas for fragile items, while also ensuring all paperwork and inventories are up to date to ensure the repair work can start as soon as possible and on time. Items should also be cleaned to the best possible standards in preparation for the upcoming works.
Project managers, owner's representatives and other support experts can be used to ensure that this part of the process goes off without a hitch. Support is particularly helpful on the larger projects and although it can incur a cost, it may well save money in the long run.
All crew should be briefed on what their responsibilities are during the refit. Clear communication between the yard staff and the captain/project manager is vital in order to make sure everything is well thought out and any problems are fixed efficiently and effectively. It’s a good idea to have daily meetings to ensure everyone is aware of the progress and developments made.
It’s all too common for damages to occur during servicing and repairs; to make sure nothing is damaged during the repair process, see a few important points below:
Make sure anyone coming on board wears the appropriate protectors on their feet to avoid any stains or damage to interior flooring. You don’t want to be re-carpeting or re-tiling on top of all the other works.
Any objects or items carried on board that have sharp edges must be covered; another all too common pitfall is a dent in the interior somewhere, which you will need to repair.
Ensuring the refit goes smoothly for crew
Below is some advice on what crew may be expected to do during a refit and the options available to you, as a captain or crew.
When the yacht is in for a refit, it’s a perfect time to let crew have time off to recover from the long working hours. Depending on the individual project, the captain may let all crew who are not needed have a holiday for a certain period of time, or may grant holiday on a rotational basis.
If the refit is a lengthy one, it can provide crew the opportunity to increase their skills through training courses and gaining extra qualifications. Check to see if the shipyard has any sailing schools or training academies nearby.
Help from the shipyard
Ask the shipyard for suggestions and information on what’s nearby for the crew if living on board. They will have been asked before and will probably have a list of nearby recommendations.
View Yachting Pages Refit digital book for more information.
Shipyard amenities and entertainment
If crew are going to be living on board during any stage of the refit, check the shipyard’s facilities; many will have shops, places to eat, gyms, pools and other items/amenities. Some yards will also throw parties and social events for both the yard workers and the crew – it can be a chance for crew to network and make friends.
If the yacht is due to be in the yard for a sufficient period of time, the shipyard should be able to provide recommendations on local accommodation options, such as houses, villas, hotels etc... for crew and captains, should it be required.
It’s also recommended to ensure crew have good transport links. Especially if crew have time off, allowing them to explore and take time away from the yacht or hotel/villa is a good idea. Shipyards may even be able to provide rental cars or suggest a local rental car company.
The role of yacht crew during refit and repair
Matt Liddell, business development manager at Marine Management Ltd commented, "Crew have only one role in a refit; ensuring the owner gets the best refit possible in the time available, for the budget allocated,"
"How they achieve this is the key. Effective planning well in advance of the refit period, recognising when they need external support, knowing what the requirements of the owner are so this can be clearly articulated in the project plan and work specifications are key indicators for success. The crew’s relationship with the refit yard and the yard’s team is essential and will support a positive outcome. This can be buoyed by early engagement with the yard, and face-to-face meetings prior to the refit (depending on length/cost etc) are extremely valuable."
MML have developed an innovative web-based, app-driven tool that supports crew to plan for refit as they complete their day-to-day duties. RefitPlanner.com enables users to dynamically collect data and images to inform refit work as they walk through the yacht, acting as a shared portal and repository for all refit planning information.
Liddell continued, “There will always be a requirement for contingency in any refit. The unknown will always be unknown, but we believe RefitPlanner.com will go a considerable way to reducing that unknown and assisting both the yacht’s crew and the shipyards in their resource, budget and schedule management. This will serve to ultimately maximise the asset (yacht or shipyard) and minimise any cost accrued.”