Couple Goals

Couple Goals

Working together as a couple at sea requires strong communication, a whole lot of adaptability, and a clear understanding of the potential challenges involved. We're delving into the emotional, practical and rewarding realities of the yacht life of one such couple, in this Q & A with Dean and Kate.



Q. How did you both decide to enter the yachting industry, and what led to the decision to work together on the same boat?

A. We are both dive instructors and had been working at ocean based companies for about 8 years before deciding to get into the yachting industry. Dean was an IYT Instructor; teaching Yacht Master courses and his sister recommended we should get into yachting as it’s a great way to see the world and save money. We decided we would give yachting a try as long as we were able to get couples positions, as we wanted to always be together.


Q. What were your initial expectations about working on a yacht as a couple, and how have they compared to the reality of your experiences?

A. We were warned about how difficult it was to acquire a couples position. We were prepared to take positions on separate vessels if it came to that. We went in with a plan and timeline and were very lucky to be offered a couples position within a week of arriving to Palma. In reality we were extremely lucky to have found a couples position so quickly.


Q. Can you recount a time when you faced significant challenges or adversity on the yacht and how you supported each other through it?

A. On one of the vessels we worked on, there were certain crew members who were extremely negative, entitled and would not be team players, making life very difficult and uncomfortable. This made one of us question our ability to lead and be the head of the department. With support and positive feedback from my other half, we overcame this. It is a great, help having your partner on the vessel, someone you can truly trust and who will be honest when you are wrong. This makes a big difference.


Q. How do you navigate the balance between your professional duties and your personal relationship in such a close and demanding environment?

A. As we are in different departments this has never been a problem. We respect that we are both heads of our departments. It can be taxing on the relationship as we hardly see each other. We plan alone time and walks, when off charter, to make sure we are both happy and communicate.


Q.  In the limited space of a yacht, how do you manage to find personal space or alone time? Is it even possible?

A. Dean and I are very lucky and love being together all the time. We do get some alone time when our breaks are at different times.


Q. What are the most fulfilling aspects of working so closely together, and how has it affected your relationship?

A. We love spending time together and working together. We have grown stronger and supported each other along the way. Growing and becoming heads of our own departments has been an accomplishment in its own right and we are proud of each other. This has made us a very confident and stable in our relationship.


Q. Have there been moments where the close quarters and constant togetherness strained your relationship, and how did you overcome these moments?

A. Generally we have never had problems, but on one vessel the strain (from certain reasons that cannot be mentioned), we decided to leave the vessel to avoid us leading to a break up. The stress that was caused was not worth risking our relationship over.


Q. Have you ever had conflicts working on different departments? How do you handle any conflicts that arise between you in a professional context without letting them spill over into your personal relationship?

A. We are both very professional and believe work is work, and play is play. We do not allow this to spill over into our personal lives. If we do have any issues we will chat about this in private and sort it out.


Q. Working on a yacht offers unique opportunities to explore new cultures and destinations. How have these experiences enriched your relationship?

A. Going on adventures together has made us grow closer, becoming best friends and doing everything together, from learning to ski, to sky diving to going to a water park. We have learnt everything about each other and can always rely on being there for one another. The more we travel and explore, the more we get to learn about each other.


Q. Based on your journey, what advice would you give to couples considering embarking on a career in the yachting industry together?

A. It is extremely hard to find a couples position. Dean and I had previous ocean experience which was a huge first step. You need to be prepared to be on separate vessels if need be, until you find the couples position you are looking for. You need to be a very stable and strong couple to survive in the industry, as it is hard work and there are many temptations all around. I have seen this industry break many relationships and grow many. If you choose this path, be aware it could make or break your relationship.



Q. Looking ahead, do you see yourselves continuing to work in the yachting industry, or do you have plans to settle down on land? How do you envision this transition?

A. We plan to stay in the industry another 3 years at least, as Captain and Chief Stew. If we both get rotation, we will continue for a few more years. In the next 5 years we plan on buying a home in Mauritius and starting a business. While Kate runs the business, I will continue being a Captain on rotation. This will mean we transition to land slowly from working on the yachts.


Q. Working in such a high-stress environment, how important has emotional support from each other been, and can you share how you provide this support?

A. If either of us is having any issues, we always make time to talk to each other and support each other, even if its only for ten minutes. It can make the world of a difference to have someone you trust to talk to. Always be honest with each other. If your partner is in the wrong, they need to be able to accept this to progress and move forward.


Q. How have both of you grown individually and as a couple through your experiences working together on a yacht?

A. We have both grown in different ways and learnt from each other. Some things we have learnt is for me to not be a push over and pride myself in being a leader, while Kate has learnt to be more easy going and trust in her leadership.


Q. With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently when you first started working together on a yacht, and why?

A. Nothing significant. One thing we both wish, was that we joined yachting a few years earlier.

Kate and Dean's experience is the reality for many couples. However, some have a very different experience, especially with the unique dynamics of living in close quarters with other singče crew. If you would like to share a different experience or your perspective or if you are a recruiter or captain wishing to add your point of view, please feel free to write us at





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