Crew Labor Law International

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YCPO – YachtCrewPotentialOptimization – our Innovation for Crewing and Leadership

Innovative personnel management on superyachts

At first glance, the organizational structure on board a superyacht follows a strong hierarchy based on a military model. Precise work assignments and lines of authority are defined and strictly followed. This hierarchy is followed on the vast majority of yachts. On smaller yachts, crew responsibilities and positions are often combined in personnel unions.

On yachts there are four departments with a clear organizational structure:

  • Deck (including bridge) – safety, passage handover, maintenance of the yacht’s exterior, guests’ outside activities.
  • Engineering – safety and smooth operation of the yacht
  • Interior – housekeeping, guests’ well-being, activities, accounting
  • Galley – food preparation, inventory control, hygiene, galley maintenance

At second glance, the successful crewing of a yacht is a highly sensitive and complex undertaking in which many humanly sensitive relationships in a confined space with many, often different cultures play a role and the “whole” must ultimately function in interaction and often under pressure and risk. The following control loops must be brought into harmony:

Captain <> owner or owner’s or operating company and its management.

Captain <> guests of the owner or charter guests

Captain <> service providers and stakeholders around the yacht operation

Captain <> extended management team on board:

  • First Mate / Chief Officer
  • Chief Engineer
  • Purser   
  • Chief Steward(ess)
  • Chef

Extended management team on board <> professionals such as

  • Boatswain’s Mate / Senior Deckhand
  • Deckhand
  • Second / Third Engineer
  • ETO / AV/IT Officer
  • Electrician
  • Purser
  • Interior Manager 
  • Head Servicer    
  • Head Housekeeper        
  • Spa Manager     
  • 2nd Steward(ess)  
  • 3rd Steward(ess)  
  • Spa Steward(ess)
  • Service Steward(ess)     
  • Housekeeping Steward(ess)     
  • Laundry Steward(ess)
  • Single Steward(ess)    
  • Junior Steward(ess)       
  • Butler      
  • Steward/Deck    
  • Sous Chef – Assists the Head Chef in all aspects of kitchen work. The Sous Chef may independently prepare crew or guest meals at the direction of the Head Chef.
  • Crew Chef/Cook – Large yachts employ a separate crew and guest chef. The crew chef provides meals for the crew.
  • Beautician      
  • Hairdresser     
  • Massage therapist    
  • Nurse         
  • Diving Instructor        

Hiring and managing a yacht crew is mainly about:

  • Recruiting – finding and engaging the right people with the right “fit”.
  • Leadership and management competence of the leaders
  • Social competence of the individual and among each other
  • Ability to work in a team despite hierarchy
  • Conflict resolution and risk-taking skills

We have taken an excellent potential analysis tool as a basis and applied it innovatively to the yacht crew world. YCPO was developed as a combination of the consistent use of the findings of modern work psychology with the leadership model of the Harvard Business School and is the analysis basis for efficient and highly effective personnel development.

The scientific basis of the method was developed at the Max Planck Institute by Dr. Strasser under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Brengelmann. In a development phase lasting several years, an overall system was created which was tested in a scientific study by Prof. Dr. Bo Ekehammar, University of Stockholm. Known and latent potentials slumber in every employee. But practice shows that many of these potentials are never uncovered or even buried through ignorance or wrong leadership. With YCPO, existing and missing potentials are uncovered and purposefully built up or rebuilt. But only where it is necessary! As a potential measurement procedure, YCPO not only uncovers the naturally existing skills, but is also a development procedure for managers, teams and employees on board.

How does YCPO work?

Surely a flight simulator tells you something. There, a pilot is confronted with a plethora of situations that he has to cope with. How he copes with them leads to an evaluation of his abilities and potentials with hints for improvement and further training. YCPO works in a similar way, only with situations from the working world in general or on board and in addition quite simply on any PC or notebook by means of a TAN access. On board, in the home office or wherever.

  • In YCPO, the candidate has to cope with certain given situations and questions, make decisions and assessments, evaluate and judge. These situations were developed on the basis of Harvard leadership knowledge and Max Planck psychology.
  • The evaluation runs on an intelligent benchmark of knowledge built up over years in comparable personnel task profiles.

There is potential slumbering in every employee. But practice shows that many of these potentials are never uncovered or are even buried through ignorance or wrong leadership. The other side: missing potentials. Often these are not even recognised, although they are frequently the cause of performance deficits.

For managers, we analyse leader qualities and potentials and provide pointers for improvement and further development:

Goals and benefits:

  • Assessment of the current situation, analysis of potential
  • Support and development recommendations
  • Use in management development programmes, in assessments and selection procedures, in the context of management team development as well as in individual coaching and training.


  • Measurement of 17 success factors in the area of social competence and 25 success factors in the area of management and leadership.
  • Optional: Parallel survey of performance parameters and KPIs
  • Benchmarking with the best in the position
  • Detailed reports: Personal evaluation for the participant, certificate of strengths and coaching and development plan. Serves as a basis for individual feedback and development discussions.
  • Individual action and development plans; (tailor-made development programmes, seminars, individual development, coaching)

  In recruiting, for example, we can compare the potentials of several managers/captains and provide a selection guide:

For all crew members, we analyse the social competence as the basis of their interaction in the team, with superiors as well as owners and guests:

Book your YCPO analysis and evaluation via the contact below.

We will then be happy to make you an offer – either for your own personal YCPO test or for the crew or specific positions in it.

Each test candidate will then receive an individual TAN with which they can register via this


can log in.

You can then choose from many languages – we suggest here for international yacht use to complete YCPO in ENGLISH.

After completion you will receive a detailed assessment: Personal evaluation for the participant, certificate of strengths and coaching and development plan.  Serves as a basis for individual feedback and development discussions.