This site uses cookies
We use cookies to help us to improve our site and enables us to deliver the best possible service and customer experience. By clicking accept or continuing to use this site you are agreeing to let us share your data with Google for analytics and marketing purposes. Learn more
+44 (0) 238 218 2604


Should crew have a written agreement?

Crew agreements2

Taking new crew onboard, especially for an extended passage, is likely to be made more harmonious if your arrangements are agreed in writing.

In most cases, yachts that are not operating commercially have no legal requirement to have a written Crew Agreement in place. However, there is no doubt that it is advantageous to have such a document to avoid any uncertainty and to give a clear understanding to both sides of what is expected on a passage of long duration with associated costs.  

This agreement should outline the expectations of the skipper with regard to the crew's participation and an unambiguous description of the financial arrangements onboard. It should make clear that arrival at the intended destination cannot be guaranteed and include an explanation of the agreement surrounding crew repatriation. Each party should ensure that they have the required insurance cover.  Both skipper and crew should discuss this in advance and once satisfied should sign and retain a written copy of any terms and conditions.

For shorter journey's this is unlikely to be necessary and a simple "you bring the lunch and I'll supply the boat" discussion will probably suffice.

Pleasure vessels, as defined in the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Minimum Requirements for Seafarers etc.) Regulations 2014, whilst falling outside the requirement to have Seafarer Employment Agreements do require Crew Agreements if they undertake voyages, other than a coastal voyage, for which more than 4 members of the crew receive wages for their employment.

The Maritime Labour Convention requires that seafarers on registered sea-going ships ordinarily engaged in commercial activities shall have individual Seafarers’ Employment Agreements.

Full details of these requirements can be found in Maritime Guidance Note MGN 474 (M).

A sample Yacht Crew Agreement is available to download.


The information and views contained herein and in the attached document are not offered as legal advice and Crewseekers does not offer any warranty implied or otherwise as to the legality or fitness for purpose of this information.

we love sailing as much as you do

Crewseekers is run by experienced, professional sailors offering a friendly and helpful service to yacht crew and owners. We are the original yacht crew introduction agency – established for over 25 years, offering amateur and professional sailing opportunities throughout the world.

Read our story