Nautilus partnerships

Inside view: How Covid-19 is affecting the Mediterranean yacht season

15 April 2020

Nautilus caught up with yachts strategic partner and recruitment firm Wilsonhalligan about whether the season will go ahead during the coronavirus pandemic and what type of global yacht industry may emerge post Covid-19. Nicola Morgan of Wilsonhalligan provides some insights

Q: Will the 2020 northern Europe yacht season happen? 

Image: Nautilus yacht partner Nicola Morgan wilsonhalligan
Nicola Morgan

This is very uncertain at the moment – sadly we are hearing of many yacht owners that are holding off on all plans for the summer.

But equally we also do have clients who are continuing to recruit, which suggests that they may be expecting some sort of a season.

No doubt, it won't be a usual Med season, but I'm hopeful that it might just start later and may run a little later into Autumn. 



Q: What is the current state of the job market?

Many of our positions were put on hold completely when the Covid-19 pandemic became serious in Europe. I think there was an initial shock with what was happening, so most of our positions were cancelled very quickly. However, as time has gone on, we do now have clients willing to go through the recruitment process, most just cannot give a definite start date or will quarantine crew prior to joining. It's not like any other pre-season we have experienced in recruitment, but there is definitely some movement going on. 

Q: What are the biggest obstacles faced by crew?

Travel is a huge obstacle – even if we have jobs available, depending on where candidates are, it may be very difficult or impossible for them to travel. It is also having a big impact to those on rotation – crew change overs have in many cases been stopped, meaning crew are staying on board longer than what they should be (according to their rotation pattern). Unfortunately, we are also dealing with crew who have been made redundant or seeing a reduction in salary, which also has a big impact on these crew members who have mortgages, families, and other financial commitments.

Q: What difficult decisions are the owners/ Captains having to make?

Sadly, as with many other industries and businesses, Owners and Captains are having to look at any cost savings, which can result in crew being made redundant or having to take a reduction in their salary.

Many logistical decisions are still unclear. Image: yacht crew operate a personal submersible in Palma. Nautilus, Danny McGowan

I'm sure there are also lots of logistical issues and decisions having to be made – this time of year many yachts will usually be heading back from the Caribbean / United States to the Med, but with many ports in Europe closed this is resulting in yachts having to look at other places, like the UK.

Q: How will this affect the future of the industry?

I am hopeful that this won't have a long lasting effect on the industry, even if it does feel very uncertain at the moment. I think many people (including myself) will feel that this situation has certainly put a lot of things into perspective and I wonder if yachts (and businesses) will put contingency plans into place for the future to deal with similar situations.


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