Dutch and German yards most respected by crew: Quay Crew Survey


Dutch and German shipyards are the most respected by crew searching for new build positions, according to a Quay Crew survey. The survey found that most crew would consider taking on a new build position.

Quay Crew expect the new build boom to continue into the next year. With backlogs continuing to grow into 2025, the number of senior crew positions available at shipyards is rising in tandem.

Made in collaboration with Pinpoint Works, the survey of 220 captains and senior crew revealed that most would consider working on a new build project. It also found respondents’ salary and benefits expectations, length of time crew would be prepared to work full time and their preferred boat builders.

Topping the list of preferred shipyards was Lurssen and Feadship, with over 96% of all respondents saying they would take a new build role with these yards. The Italian shipyards were the less favoured, with only 33% of respondents considering taking up a new build position.

Some 98% of all respondents said they would be interested to join a new build project. The data showed that captains and chief engineers were most willing to join a project 12 months or more in advance.

Tim Clarke, director and co-founder, Quay Crew, said that this was good news, especially as more than two thirds have previous experience.

“Despite this, there are some discrepancies between the skills crew think they would need versus those that are considered essential by some builders,” he said, adding that this is because they have been recruited to the project too late.

Background knowledge and operational experience were ranked as the most essential skills by crew. But Clarke said project management and foresight are crucial in the earlier stages. “This is the biggest challenge in new build recruitment at the moment.”

For over 75% of crew, the most appealing aspect of a new build project was to understand the design and operation of a vessel, whilst one fifth are attracted by traditional working hours.

However, for over half of all crew, the lack of leave and tax implications of working ashore are the most discouraging factors.

The tax implications of working ashore is one of the biggest perceived cons of working on a new build,” said Clarke. “Comments which came up repeatedly were that some crew felt the yacht should factor in the additional tax bill in salaries, and we know some boats are prepared to do that.” Two in five crew would also expect all travel costs to be covered.

Clarke claimed that recruiting crew as early as possible to a project reduces risk, improves performance, and enhances the overall owner experience.

James Stockdale, founder, Pinpoint Works, agreed: “Having key crew members involved from the early stages is essential to increase the chances of a successful build, a productive warranty period, and most importantly, a safe and enjoyable first season for the owner.


Survey findings – at a glance:

  • 98% of crew would consider working on a new build project
  • Dutch and German yards most respected by crew; Italian yards least popular
  • Only 1 in 5 consider project management an essential skill
  • Crew would expect a 13% average uplift in pay for a full-time yard-based role
  • One third of crew would expect to join a project 12 months or more before the launch
  • Over half of crew would expect more than 60 days leave
  • 44% would expect to be able to travel home at least once a month
  • Almost 4 in 5 crew would expect reasonable living expenses to be covered, with three quarters requiring accommodation