Webster’s dictionary defines service as “to answer the needs of, and provide assistance that benefits, others.”
There are many levels of service performed in our economy every day, from the person who waits on you at Starbucks in the morning to the person who cleans that Starbucks at night to the person you speak with in customer service.
Within each of these levels are various standards, and we each have our own set of values and expectations. Unfortunately, many of the services that we take for granted have been outsourced, leading many of us to feel that our call is not that important to anyone anymore.
But think about this: The highest level of service is service within a private living environment. The level of service performed on a yacht may be the highest level of all. This kind of service cannot be outsourced; the responsibility is all on us.
Your function as a yacht stew is to provide service to the owners and guests while onboard. It is also your job to coordinate the many aspects of the job, including those that entail taking care of the crew to a certain extent. It’s up to stews to ensure that the departments interact seamlessly and that our own work is invisible and appears effortless.
In a nutshell, stews are the glue that holds the whole program together.
To be entrusted with a person’s private life, belongings, family, guests, and personal affairs requires a significant amount of trust. Without a doubt, it is an honor as well as a responsibility.Yacht stews help create order, dignity, and a sense of peace. That is a powerful and valuable contribution. We set the tone for others with our ability to remain unruffled in stressful situations. We must appear cool and collected, even when things are melting down around us.
Our superior communication skills can help crew who are at odds with each other to talk things out. Our insight can defuse a potentially risky situation.
A life in service is the highest possible calling. Service is not submission; it is a finely tuned set of skills. To succeed, we must identify expectations and values, and have a positive attitude. Along with the desire to anticipate guests’ expectations, we need the authority to carry out their wishes.
Well, exactly what sort of skills does one need to succeed on a yacht? If you’re just starting out, it can be hard. Most boats are looking for someone who already has some experience. But you can’t get experience without a job.
So to get that first job, identify the abilities you already have that will build up your yachting potential. You must be able to sell a future employer on your talents so someone will give you that first chance, or move you up the ladder to the next stage of your career.
Look over your employment history and identify the abilities that can be transferred to a yachting career. Do you have restaurant or hotel experience? Be aware that yacht stews must know about housekeeping and laundry as well as service. Bartending abilities comes in handy, as well as knowledge of wine. You will need to learn about flower arranging. Some boats are more formal than others; most will expect that you know what silver service is all about. You are also expected to know how to take care of all of the beautiful and expensive items you deal with every day, including china, crystal and other service items, along with valuable pieces of art.
But one of the most important skills you need is the ability to get along with others, because stews truly are the glue that holds the whole program together. It is up to us to manage crew dynamics, to be the liaison between the chef and guests, and to keep the captain and deck crew informed about events occurring onboard.
The work yacht stews do in a private service environment adds value and enriches the lives of the owners and their guests. By agreeing to serve, you agree to follow someone else’s agenda, and to do so with an open heart. As Ghandi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.”
I discovered an old British poster from World War II that said “Keep Calm and Carry On.” I love that saying. That’s really what it’s all about. Every day is a new day, and even if we are scheduled and micromanaged to the last second, we never know for certain just what situation may come up. We have to be able to respond rather than react, and to grow along the way. Sometimes the best we can do is simply keep calm and carry on.