Lauren Wardley, founder and owner of Ethical Yacht Wear, provides her insightful observations as an experienced stewardess in the superyacht industry.

The world of superyachts evokes images of luxurious travel and opulence on the high seas. Yet, behind the glamour lies a unique set of challenges faced by the dedicated crew who ensure smooth sailing for guests onboard. Lauren Wardley, the founder of Ethical Yacht Wear and an experienced stewardess, brings a compassionate and astute perspective to the many physical and emotional challenges encountered by crew members. In this discussion, Lauren shares her observations and experiences, shedding light on the significance of fostering a supportive and wellness-oriented environment onboard. She talks through the measures that can be taken to enhance crew members’ mental and physical health, ultimately ensuring a rewarding journey at sea. 

“As an experienced stewardess, I know all too well that crew members face challenges aligned with other professionals working in high-pressure situations” Lauren states. “It often results in tiredness, fatigue, emotional ups and downs and mental strains. It’s crucial to address these issues effectively to ensure the ongoing wellbeing of the crew.”

Lauren highlights the importance of good crew management and a focus on general wellbeing. An initiative she encountered on a previous boat stands out as an effective approach to address these challenges, “On my last boat, we had the option to start the day with a workout before beginning daily tasks. This initiative was fantastic as it kept the crew active, happy, and healthy, making a significant difference in our mental wellbeing and always starting the day off right”. Whilst Lauren hasn’t had the opportunity to collaborate with health professionals or mental health experts specifically working in the marine sector, she believes that integrating their guidance into onboard wellbeing programmes can have a profound impact. “Having comprehensive welfare initiatives for crew members, designed with the guidance of dedicated professionals, would be immensely beneficial. Providing a holistic approach to maintaining mental and physical health is essential in such a gruelling industry.”

Considering the confined spaces and limited resources on a yacht, finding effective and enjoyable fitness activities can be a challenge. Lauren suggests practical solutions she has found helpful, “Static workouts and yoga are excellent fitness activities that can be easily incorporated onboard. Additionally, there are wonderful online resources offering routines specially designed for confined spaces and limited resources.”

Lauren Wardley, Founder of Ethical Yacht Wear

Expressing her enthusiasm for initiatives like Superyacht Fitness, Lauren clearly recognises their potential to positively influence a crew’s wellbeing, “I believe resources like Superyacht Fitness can be a game-changer for the marine industry” she enthuses. “By prioritising crew wellbeing and encouraging fitness activities, these solutions can significantly improve crew members’ engagement, job satisfaction plus overall mental and physical health.”

The superyacht lifestyle often involves extended periods away from home, leading to homesickness and added pressure. Lauren shares her insights into effective coping strategies,

“Crew members who form strong bonds with each other and become like family often cope better with homesickness and pressure” she remarks.  “Encouraging individual interests, such as fitness, journaling, podcasts, or other hobbies, plays a crucial role in cultivating better mental health among the crew.”

In this exacting industry, sleep deprivation can be an issue during busy periods with demanding guests and busy schedules. Describing how she copes with these challenges, Lauren is realistic in her approach, “To manage sleep deprivation and maintain peak performance, I focus on sustaining a healthy diet and taking beneficial supplements. Additionally, my previous boat emphasised good rest hours during charters, which significantly supported me in providing exceptional service while also being able to stay mentally sharp”.

The management of Ethical Yacht Wear has been a positive channel for Lauren during testing times onboard, “Running Ethical Yacht Wear has been a wonderful distraction and outlet during the demanding lifestyle of the superyacht industry. It keeps me mentally occupied, and I also dedicate time to learning various subjects.” Furthermore Lauren emphasises the significance of establishing a work-life balance, which her previous boat recommended. “On M/Y Samadhi, my last boat, they actively encouraged and supported my pursuit of a balance between my professional and personal passions, making it much easier to manage both aspects while at sea.”

To those entering the superyacht industry, her guidance is clear, “My advice would be to find a good crew with an upper management that genuinely cares for and believes in crew welfare. Having a supportive team can make a world of difference in the overall yachting experience. Prioritise and be aware of your mental health and wellbeing, and promote a positive work environment. It will ensure you enjoy a fulfilling journey in the superyacht industry.”

Through Lauren’s expertise and firsthand experiences, she has developed a clear understanding of the mental health and wellbeing challenges faced by crew members in the industry. Her insight underscores the significance of nurturing a supportive work environment and proposing individual pursuits to ensure crew members’ overall health and happiness. As the marine industry continues to evolve, Superyacht Fitness stands out as a collective solution towards prioritising crew welfare and enriching the journey of those who dedicate themselves to providing the ultimate in service in an often challenging environment.