Watergate and drag queens aside (this picture is hilarious!), did you know many yachts with 'older' crew on board have been known to host a stable lifestyle while having great owner relationships leading to longevity with the crew? Not to say this doesn't happen with younger crew but there are several great reasons why hiring an 'older' stew, or other 'older' crew member, is a great idea.
First, we must define, 'older'. For some yachts, perhaps an older stew is 27 years old, depending on the experience of the Captain, crew and sometimes, of the owners. For others, 50 may be the magic 'older' number. For anyone out there looking to hire a Stew with a number in mind, perhaps add 5 years to your most senior Stew and this could be the, 'just outside your comfort zone', number.
And the number one reason to hire an older Stew IS...
Experience, experience, experience!!! And we're not just talking yachting experience. As we all know, so much can happen on a yacht, from a surprise birthday party for 100 with 2 seconds of notice (take a second to imagine how the crew reacts to this news) to an at-sea emergency where perhaps a rescue takes place. Who are the ones who freeze the longest and who are the fastest to react? I would venture a guess that those with the most experience, including life experience, would jump first and improvise best.
What about client relationships? So often the owners and guests of a yacht are a little older, themselves, and with who better to foster a close working relationship than a contemporary. Or someone with at least some different career experiences under their belt. Quite often, a 55 year old female yacht owner or wife-of-yacht-owner or even daughter-of-yacht-owner will find a much closer working relationship with a 40-year old Stew than with perhaps a 20-year old Stew. And a lot of it comes down to life experience and the ability to have a personal yet professional conversation.
For any 'older' Stews out there, the key is flexibility. Each yacht comes with it's own soft rules and 'the way the owner likes it' and adapting to these can sometimes be tough. Even a new Captain can create some challenges where attitude is everything. In fact, this flexibility is probably the toughest part of the job. You know your silver service etiquette, but what if the owners' wife wants you to serve differently? Your job is not to do as the book tell you, but to nod, say 'of course' and to get on with it. All without missing a step. And the better the attitude to a change in methods, the easier your job will be. Even if you're on the same boat doing things the same way for 2 years, and all of a sudden the grand-daughter takes over....!
Always consider 'older' crew as they may just surprise you with their experience, their energy and their ambitions! Some of the best knowledge in the industry can be shared from someone who's been around for 40 years. To all of you 'older' Stews (and other 'older' crew), we say Cheers! And Hooray! May you never stop learning and may you keep all your newbie crew in line :)