Luxury yacht recruitment agency’s crew hire app tops 5,000 downloads


Dinner is about to be served. But have you sourced the best crew members to prepare and deliver the waterside feast?

Luxury yacht recruitment agency Cotton Crews has achieved more than 5,000 downloads for its Cotton Crew Hire app, which enables captains and owners to locate top-quality team members worldwide.

The app, dedicated to identifying crew members for vessels varying in size from 20m to more than 80m, streamlines the selection procedure, Cotton Crews founder and president Lauren Cotton told Superyacht Investor.

“It’s important to take the time to hire the right candidate. Sometimes the hire timeline is tight, and yachts are sometimes limited to finding local crew,” said Cotton. The good news there is, the Cotton Crew Hire App can search crew based on your current location.”

Checking on candidates’ credentials should be a key part of the selection procedure. “Verifying their work ethic is very important. Someone can look good on paper but it’s hard to tell if they will fit in with the programme and have what it takes to succeed. Taking the time to check references is crucial.”

1,000 CVs downloaded

Cotton launched the Palm Beach-based recruitment agency in 2013, after realising there was a high demand for quality crew placement. Since then, the agency claims to have placed thousands of permanent and temporary positions across South Florida, New England, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean and has recorded more than 1,000 CVs downloaded since launching the free app a year ago.

In addition to the expected roles of captain, engineer, chief steward, steward, mate, bosun and deckhand, there has recently been a significant interest in private estate positions or housekeeping roles. “Estate positions are becoming more frequent, which is great for ex-yachties who want a land-based role,” said Cotton.

Data from the app suggests private-yacht positions dominate the luxury yacht industry. Typically, the app advertises a total of 650 private jobs compared with 400 charter-yacht jobs, representing a 62% to 38% split.

Motor yacht positions

Motor yacht positions significantly outweigh sailing yacht jobs at 86% to 14%, with 900 motor yacht crew roles advertised on the app compared with 150 sailing positions. The high prominence of motor yacht jobs is reflected in the global yacht market, said Cotton.

The app is said to combine the speed and flexibility of social media crew sourcing with the accountability and quality of agency vetting. Captains’ demand for faster recruitment is leading many to move from traditional methods to hiring through Facebook, but this is not always a reliable way of sourcing quality crew, claims the agency.

Finding staff with the right polish can be challenging for superyacht captains and owners.

“The app enables captains to search for temporary or permanent crew by location, download CVs direct to their phones and instantly review complete crew profiles, including recommendations from past employers,” according to the company. Recruitment managers can filter candidates by position, experience and nationality.

The agency even caters for more-unusual crew credentials.  “From a private chef specialising in vegan cuisine, to a bosun-turned-kitesurfer-extraordinaire, we can cater to every request. We match your personality and requirements with that of our available yacht crew to ensure that it is a perfect fit all round, leaving you with happy crew that will stay with you for as long as needed.”

Read more details of the Cotton Crew Hire app, which available on the Apple and Android platforms here.

Lauren Cotton: Data from the app provides fascinating insight into the structure of the luxury yacht industry.

Industry insight from the Cotton Crew Hire app

  • Motor yacht positions: 86% (900 adverts)
  • Sailing yacht positions: 14% (150 adverts)
  • Total app downloads: 5,000
  • CV downloads: 1,000