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Every Stew’s Nightmare: Uniforms.

What items should I get?

How much should I have onboard?

It’s not an easy task and you won’t be able to please everyone, that’s guaranteed. But here are my 2 cents on uniforms.

What To Get

For your typical small to medium sized Med-Carib yacht, I’d recommend the following items:

Things to consider:

  • Unless you have the luxury of having an unlimited budget, I think it’s okay to have only one jacket, fleece and cap per crew member. Just make sure to explain to your crew that if they are going to revarnish the caprail – they really shouldn’t be wearing their fleece.
  • Stripes or No Stripes, That is The Question – Having had this dilemma on a few yachts, I would check with the captain and/or owner’s what their preferences are. At the end of the day, it’s their yacht and they should be part of deciding what is worn onboard. If they’re not fussed, choose whichever you prefer and if it helps: “Showing up in your stripes at the bar, guarantees some extra attention” (old captain of mine) – question is whether you wan’t this attention or not!
  • Shipyards: It’s always a good idea to buy some special clothes for shipyard periods. Dickies have great work trousers and are available at many workwear shops and online – no need to go through a specialised yachting clothing store. As shipyards often take place at the end of the season, you can be more relaxed towards crew getting permanent rust/varnish/paint… stains on their uniform. Simply discard the stained uniforms at the end of the yard and start with fresh uniform for the new season.

How Much Should I have Onboard?

How long is a piece of string? My go to numbers –per person, per season– are:

In addition to the above I’d get the following:

  • A spare cap for every crew member onboard. Caps wear out easily as the salt, sweat and sunscreen lotion gets to them. They also fly away. Get eaten by mattresses. Get given away to that cute chick from the bar that the decky just couldn’t resist. Get Spares.
  • Belts: If they’re branded, you will be paying through the roof and you’d better get at least an extra half a dozen to a dozen. Branded belts are a similar species to the branded caps. They fly, they disappear and are loved by guests as a keep-sake. Get Spares. If you’re getting non-branded belts, just get a few spares in different sizes, ie. 1 x small, 1 x medium, 1 x large, for those times a crew member just can’t remember where they last saw their belt. “I had it on yesterday”…
  • Rashguards and Boardies: I’d get 2 spare rashguards, unisex, one size medium and one size large and 2 spare boardies, unisex or men’s, one size medium and one size large – as guests might ask for them when they’re about to go snorkeling or jetski-ing. You can’t possibly stock all sizes so this is a good start.
  • Spare Off -Charter T’s and On-Charter Polos: Get 2 each in a Ladies size S and M, and 2 each in Men size M and L. If you’re unlucky enough to have to go through a crew change mid-season, you can pool from your regular crew spares cupboard and have these in addition. Again, if you have the luxury of a larger budget, get more sizes and throw in some spare shorts as well, but if not, I’d recommend this as the bare minimum.

Any more questions about what kind of uniform you should get or the quantities? Feel free to pop me an email here.

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