Superyacht crew are urged to keep an eye on Covid travel restrictions which are continuing to present a challenge for the Med season.
Nautilus strategic organiser Rachel Lynch commented: 'The main [travel] stress is because of the different requirements for each country which are constantly changing. Members should check the government websites frequently prior to travel, take all of their documents, the exemption extract from the government website, and the Nautilus travel certificate.'
Emma Neill, director at The Crew Hunter yacht recruitment agency pointed out that while crew had been 'supported by many agencies, and the community had come together to support each other with information on rapidly-changing local travel and restrictions', certain periods had been particularly challenging for crew – depending on the countries of origin.
'Not being able to travel to yachting hot spots without contracts has certainly affected those new to the industry as they have not been able to get those "day work" opportunities which often lead to those precious first jobs,' commented Ms Neill. 'Brexit implications and UK travel restrictions have meant British crew cannot just relocate without a job to go to.'
Andrew Roch, founder of Nautilus strategic yacht partner training organisation The Crew Academy – a sister company to The Crew Hunter – said those that had been on extended double or triple rotations had faced many mental health challenges and a 'hang over' effect was likely for the industry in the next year or two.
Some crew had reported being 'in transit' for over seven weeks trying to get back to vessels that are in locations not allowing entry. Others had flown issue free and got straight to work – even without papers. 'It has been a time of extremes,' said Ms Neill.
The hardest obstacles are obtaining visas: 'US embassies have mostly not been issuing or taking appointments which has meant many crew have been out of the running for the Caribbean season,' said Ms Neill.
'South African and other crew [requiring Schengen] had a difficult time during first local lock down with embassies closed as they could not obtain the required Schengen [visa]. B1/B2 visas [required to work on any yacht in the US waters, and issued for up to 10 years] have somewhat been regarded as the equivalent to Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket – a few open embassies have allowed some vessels to get their crew issued prior but those without the location or ability to jump through the hoops have suffered.'
The obligatory quarantine in Australia and New Zealand had also been a huge blow to those nationals trying to get home from work overseas, said Emma. The financial hit on every return home has often been too much to warrant coming to work for many Antipodean crew, leading them to look to travel elsewhere for rotational leave. Many yachts offering rotational positions, had also paused on hiring those nationals due to the contractual obligations to repatriate and subsequent difficulty in obtaining a place on the flight allocation plus the additional associated costs.
Seek advice from Nautilus before signing any addendums for temporary agreements Rachel Lynch, Nautilus strategic organiser