Interview with Paul Rutterford, Operations Director for Viking Crew.

CrewPass teams up with Viking Crew to bring background checks to the attention of the yachting industry. Employers need to feel assured that who they place on board are not only well-qualified but also safe. Our integration into Viking Crew’s software allows employers to search CrewPass Approved crew who have passed a comprehensive criminal background check and ID verification. Whilst providing crew with the opportunity to gain the trust of their employers by validating their CrewPass status through Viking Crew’s website.

In the following blog post, Paul Rutterford speaks on behalf of Viking Crew to shine a light on the yacht recruitment industry, our partnership, and Viking Crew’s services.


Viking Crew is the leading Cruise, Superyacht and Specialist maritime crew services provider.  Our aim is to keep the at-sea operations moving through Crew Placement, Crew Management and Crew Deployment.  A British company with a global reach, for over 30 years Viking has long been a pioneer in the maritime industry.

With 25 years’ experience within the maritime industry, as Operations Director I oversee all services that Viking Crew delivers to our clients and candidates on a daily basis.

Tell us about your experience in the yachting industry

I have been actively recruiting and crewing within the super yacht industry since coming ashore in 2011 and taking up the position of Marine Recruitment Manager with Viking; since then and progressing to Operations Director the company has placed and crew managed thousands of individuals in positions onboard some of the worlds most exclusive and prestigious super yachts.

What advice would you give green crew before joining the industry?

Do your research, and make sure you have the relevant and transferable skills that the super yacht industry requires.  It is a very high profile industry when only the best will do. Additional qualifications and training can assist in securing an opportunity within the industry.

Tell us more about Viking Crew

Viking Crew has been in business for almost 25 years, established in 1988 our reputation is a name that is at the forefront of the industry.  Our services offer a professional solution to the crewing challenges and needs across the superyacht sector.

"Viking was involved in the initial set up and delivery recruitment for the world’s largest yacht, and we still source candidates for her now, almost 10 years since her launch."

– Paul Rutterford, Operations Director for Viking Crew (2022)

What is the yacht recruitment market like in 2022?

After the challenges of the pandemic the yacht recruitment market remains strong, and with many new builds in the yards and some crew not returning to sea since Covid there are some excellent opportunities across the industry.

Why did Viking Crew join forces with CrewPass?

Safety and Security are two words synonymous with the yacht industry, Crew Pass provides the technology in a cost effective and efficient way to allow crew, captains and yacht professionals to have this all taken care of.  Viking Crew understands the importance of this within the superyacht industry and are proud to partner with Crew Pass in delivering this superb solution to Captains and crew. 

Where do you see Viking Crew’s future?

With more yachts being built, and the need for more crew we see the continuation of growth within the superyacht industry as an exciting time for Viking Crew.  Our services remain to be at the forefront when you need to source and manage super yacht crew onboard.  

Viking Crew's social media

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Interview with Marli Schoonraad, founder of Pull North Yachting

CrewPass is delighted to announce that we have formed a new partnership with Pull North Yachting. Pull North Yachting is joining us on our mission to make the yachting industry safer! Our newfound partnership enables CrewPass to spread awareness of the importance of background checks at the very beginning of every yachties journey… yacht training academies. Pull North Yachting is an exceptional yacht training academy based in Cape Town, South Africa, that fully prepares green crew with every tool they need to succeed in their yachting career. As a celebration of this new partnership, CrewPass wants to shine a light on the training academy and introduce our readers to the founder, Marli Schoonraad.


My name is Marli Schoonraad and I am the founder of Pull North Yachting that started out in January 2019. I used to be a yachtie myself who has now gone from an adventure seeker to newly aspiring entrepreneur. The change has been real! But so rewarding. My passion lies in nature, adventure, creating, travelling, hospitality and helping others find ways to step out of their comfort zones. I believe we all have so much more in us, we just don’t always take the opportunity to meet. Networking has always been a big part of who I am, and I think due to that, here we are today! I grew up in Stellenbosch, and left home after studying photography and marketing when I was 21, 9 years later and I am now based in Cape Town, I live and work from here these days!

How did you get into yachting?

One of my best friends arrived at my house in Stellenbosch after class asking if she could please shower as she was extremely dirty, she started telling me about her Fire Fighting course she just completed and that she was about to fly to the USA and go work on a Superyacht. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about, but all I wanted to do was join her! We both ended up going our separate ways, I stayed in touch with her and soon as it was possible, I made my way to Palma! I’ve always enjoyed hospitality and meeting new people, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to escape the norm. 

Do you have any advice for green crew joining the yachting industry?

The hustle is real and building your network is so important! Not to only get jobs (which is of course very important as well) but to get to know others in the industry who you can always learn from and gain as mentors! Chasing YOUR vision and what YOU want out of this going forward can open doors you never even knew existed you just have to keep faith!

Why did you leave yachting?

I injured my wrist (not knowing how), and it took exceptionally long to heal as no one could really tell me what was wrong. Turns out it was a pinched nerve that stemmed from my back, and I just needed a really good chiropractor.

Tell us a bit about Pull North Yachting

Pull North yachting is like a seed that landed in the right soil and now it’s this amazing tree that keeps on growing, and the branches are starting to flower in all directions. Haha

We started out as a Guidance & Consulting agency who assisted green crew on how to step into yachting and how to pursue it as a career. I was actually on holiday on the West Coast in South-Africa and so many kite surfing friends of mine wanted to know how and what they can do to get into the industry! Before I knew, I had daily consultations booked with people I have never met. Soon thereafter we started assisting crew with their Visas as well. I recently finished developing an amazing Steward/ess Training Program which I am extremely proud of and excited about! We focus a lot on industry values and how to be the best you. I have added two modules which includes mental awareness & financial guidance. We like to have our team members start out by being prepared while also thinking ahead and focusing on their futures. 

We are based in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South-Africa.

What is Pull North Yachting, and where are you based?

Pull North yachting is like a seed that landed in the right soil and now it’s this amazing tree that keeps on growing, and the branches are starting to flower in all directions. Haha

We started out as a Guidance & Consulting agency who assisted green crew on how to step into yachting and how to pursue it as a career. I was actually on holiday on the West Coast in South-Africa and so many kite surfing friends of mine wanted to know how and what they can do to get into the industry! Before I knew, I had daily consultations booked with people I have never met. Soon thereafter we started assisting crew with their Visas as well. I recently finished developing an amazing Steward/ess Training Program which I am extremely proud of and excited about! We focus a lot on industry values and how to be the best you. I have added two modules which includes mental awareness & financial guidance. We like to have our team members start out by being prepared while also thinking ahead and focusing on their futures. 

We are based in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South-Africa.

Why did you create Pull North Yachting?

I’ve always had a passion to help others and with my experience in the yachting industry it just kind of happened. I wasn’t ready to leave just yet, is one ever… So this seemed like a great way to still be a part of the industry whilst waiting to go back, little did I know. I also have so many stories & lessons to share, by helping others take the leap I can now make proper use of what I’ve learned throughout my time in the industry and how it made me grow as an individual. I have created a space where I can network & keep meeting new people as well as be creative while guiding & teaching others, I’ll never be bored haha It’s everything I enjoy in one.

Can you explain what makes Pull North Yachting unique in the market?

We give hands on guidance and like to get to know you for who you truly are, that way we can guide you better and hopefully also assist in finding you your first position on board! Not only do we teach you job related skills that prepare you for your physical position, but also how to stay resilient under pressure and keep your mind set positive while working with your team. We also focus a lot on Networking, we find ourselves to be pretty diverse and once you are apart of the team we will always be by your side, we always help where we can!

Why did you start a partnership with CrewPass?

CrewPass is something that immediately puts you in the league of a professional yacht crew member and it makes it easier for the person on the hiring end to know they can trust you instead of taking their time to find more out about you. I feel it can also make a great beneficial difference when it comes to industry standards going forward. 

Where do you see Pull North Yachting in the future?

My vision is to support and guide crew, I want Pull North to make their lives easy offshore & on. I have a big passion for the industry and what I’m busy with excites me a lot. I really believe that yachting has so much potential, the opportunities you can create for yourself (and others) are endless. We are busy with a few very exciting projects. There’s so much fun to have with Pull North and I can’t wait to see it happen. I feel very strongly about keeping it a “Boatique agency” as I like to work with our clients personally and the team that I’m busy building has the same vision, keeping it real and personal is important.


We want to take the time to thank Pull North Yachting for supporting CrewPass and enabling us to spread awareness of the importance of background checks internationally. Partnerships are truly the backbone of all businesses, allowing all to thrive and sustain within the industry. This mutually beneficial partnership also allows us to offer more tools to our crew, furthering their yachting careers. If you are looking to get into yachting and are based in South Africa, we highly recommend Pull North Yachting as your future yacht training provider. To see our other partnerships, please go to our Home Page.

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Pull North Yachting Links


Why Everyone Needs a Mentor in their Life

There are times as a crew member, no matter how senior your position and how many years of experience, when it’s difficult to know where to turn when you need advice. It could be career related, a professional, personal or ethical dilemma, your training, your future plans, a business idea, or your own professional development. 

Finding a mentor isn’t easy, someone who is truly committed to being available to supply intelligent, informed, advice without agenda, someone who has “been there and done it” who will challenge you as well as support you, with the benefits of their own experience and knowledge. 

For the uninitiated, the idea of seeking a mentor, is to find someone that has specific skills in your sector and who has the experience to help an individual to develop and grow within their career, supplying time, wisdom and direction. In my capacity as a professional mentor, I help crew find solutions to their career, training, business and sometimes personal challenges, finding pathways and resources to lead them to successful outcomes. The aim being to enable them to find clarity and motivation to achieve their goals, not only in their current careers but forward onto life beyond yachting. 

At times it can be a very careful balance, my role is to seek to add perspective and insight to help solve a dilemma, issue or decision that an individual is facing. By taking the wrong line of approach it would be easy for me to undermine the line of command on a vessel, rather than seek to give the individual the tools to deal with a situation professionally. Sometimes there is no perfect answer, the nature of the industry means that the issues I discuss with a mentee can kick up real moral and professional dilemmas, where tough decisions have to be made as to whether the response is one that would reflect the individuals personal moral and professional code, or one that retains their job. 

Being a mentor is both a privilege and a challenge, I am acutely aware of the responsibility, especially when it comes to major decisions. But it’s not all a one way process, it’s a hugely rewarding experience for me too. A good mentor/mentee relationship is full of debate and conjecture, where both parties learn so much through each interaction. I love the work, following crew through their careers and watching them grow as individuals, the highs, the lows the cock ups, and the triumphs….. it’s all a huge pleasure. Even the whatsApp messages at 4am in the morning when someone “forgets” the time zones. On a more serious note it continues to allow me an extraordinary window on to the day to day reality of life onboard, and the collaboration of a group of professionals who support and underpin the work I do to effect positive and proactive change within the sector. 

I take on a small number of new mentees each year, if you think it is something that would enhance your professional life, then please take a look at my testimonials and get in touch.


Mentor Q & A

How did you start mentoring crew? 

Completely by accident, after 12 years at sea, I was fortunate to transfer my skills into developing and delivering training for superyacht crew in interior, chef and latterly running the first Superyacht Deck Cadetship Programme for 10 years. 

I built relationships with the individuals that I trained both in the classroom and once they were at sea actively working in the industry. It became obvious very early on in the evolution of the program that the students stuck at the training and developed a much more professional approach to their careers if they were able to access advice and support when they needed it. WhatsApp was the key to making it work and enabled me to message and chat to crew globally with ease. The immediacy of it meant that, I was able to help in real time and help them avoid, knee jerk decisions and unwise behaviour. The vast majority of those individuals are still in the industry in senior positions or are out on the other side working in related careers, and although I moved on in my working life, our relationships have endured, and I still work with them to support their career journeys.

How do you have the knowledge and experience to mentor crew from all departments? 

That’s a really good question, I am fortunate that I have a pretty good level of emotional intelligence and I find it easy to both understand and build strong empathetic relationships with crew. That and three other factors, I am passionate about the industry and have built an in depth knowledge of all aspects of it over the years, I am a bit of a geek in that respect! I worked in the industry for a long time across all departments bar engineering however I have a strong technical interest, particularly in sustainability and recently worked with a UK College to develop a pioneering superyacht engineering cadetship, and that combined with my previous experience, means I can tick most boxes. Ultimately the issues and challenges are different onboard when an individual goes from a junior to leadership level, I am always learning and developing my skills and that’s something I try and pass on in my work.

Do you mentor crew new to the industry? 

Yes I do, I do work to encourage awareness of the industry amongst young people whenever I can, through partnerships and collaborations and also by talking to anyone who will listen!, through that, I take on a small group of individuals each year to help them to find the right training and support them into their first roles and beyond.

Who do you mentor? 

I work with over 200 crew, on a regular or ad hoc basis, across the board from Captains, Chief Engineers, Officers, Pursers. Interior HOD’s Bosuns and deck and interior crew.

How does it work?: 

Usually I start with a phone call, where we just chat and get to know each other a little better, we can start to look at the individuals hopes for the mentoring process whatever that might be and gain an understanding of potential goals or what the relationship will look like. From their we will arrange an additional call where we set goals and agree terms of engagement 

Alternatively not everyone is ready or interested in that kind of process and what they require is someone who they can consult occasionally for guidance on how best to deal with issues onboard or help at certain points, for instance when looking for a new job, and weighing up the pros and cons or different job offers. So it’s very much tailored to the individual and completely flexible, from regular structured sessions to occasional calls or WhatsApp messaging, to close contact through an intense period where advice is needed.  

  • Ad hoc: We range over all areas of the help and advice available and start and stop on an open basis. 
  • Agreed process: Agreed goals and a series of sessions and agreed outcomes over a period of time.

Back up: I am here when needed.

What do you help with? 

    • Education and Training: Advice on mandatory and non-mandatory training and education, what’s available, when to do it and what benefits your career the most.
    • Professional Development: Building qualifications and professional skills, associations and experiences to build on your career and employability.
    • Personal Development: Guidance on your own personal journey of discovery and growth alongside your career.
    • Career Planning: Making the best decisions to benefit your career, weighing up the options, choosing the right time to stay and the right time to move on and how to best do that to for all concerned. How to choose the right position on the right vessel to achieve your goals and have a happy and rewarding career. 
    • Life Goals: Long term planning and guidance on how you can balance your career whilst learning new skills and preparing for the future. 
    • Burn Out: Helping crew survive and avoid burnout and find a strategy to move forward, reset and regain their focus and enthusiasm. 
    • Interpersonal Issues and challenges onboard: Un biased, neutral, honest and professional advice to navigate the challenges of working onboard. 
    • Life After Yachting: Help with planning and achieving a successful exit from the industry 
    • Business and Start Up advice: Guidance and advice on business ideas.

Wouldn’t it be better for crew to find a mentor who is a senior member of their crew? 

Mentoring is so important in all its aspects, I would always encourage finding someone on your yacht who is senior to you or having someone who is ahead of you in their career to advise and guide you, there is no limit to who you work with and ask for support. However sometimes it is valuable to have a mentor that is neutral and is not directly involved in the operations of the vessel and who can provide unbiased and much broader guidance through the nature of their career.

Have there been highs and lows in the experience for you? 

Yes for sure, I still get emotional when crew that I have trained and or supported pass their CoC’s or attain their lifetime career goals. I know how much blood sweat and tears; sheer hard work and tenacious drive lies behind those achievements.  It’s always fantastic to share the euphoria of a new promotion or position gained. It’s also very rewarding when an individual has maybe lost heart, lost sight of themselves and is considering leaving the industry and through our interaction is able to rediscover their enthusiasm and find a new way forward. 

But yes, there have been lows and continue to be so, not all conversations are uplifting and not all conversations result in the outcome you would wish. There continues to be some very unprofessional individuals and practices within the sector and when those behaviours are supported from the very top, it can be very difficult to find a solution. For me it’s always very disappointing and frustrating to see and hear about circumstances that were prevalent 20 years ago still going on now, but that’s what drives me to run my business and create training and change in the sector to create a more innovative, equitable, professional and inclusive future.

What is the one most important aspect of being a mentor? 

I think building trust, listening, and whilst supporting, giving guidance, and sharing experiences and wisdom are very important, the key to the process is to enable a crew member to develop the skills and tools to help them find solutions independently.

What else do you do? 

Mentoring is just one aspect of what I do, I am fortunate to run my own company called THE OM (which roughly translated means pathway to enlightenment) which is dedicated to working with crew and the industry. I work to develop pathways and solutions for superyacht crew to achieve success within their professional lives; whilst driving the industry to develop new strategies to evolve and grow towards an innovative, sustainable and equitable future.  My work takes me right across the board from mandatory and non-mandatory training and education to business development and involvement with a number of partners and industry bodies to help influence and effect change.

Competition Time!

If this post has sparked an interest for you there is an exciting opportunity to win a year’s free professional career mentoring support and advice with Emma Baggett at THE OM, exclusively for CrewPass members. 

How to enter: 

Simply write a short sentence/paragraph on “Why I would value the help and support of a career mentor.”

Send your answers to 

Competition ends on: 

31st of August at 11:59 pm

We will contact the winner on the 1st of September directly.


This or that: Yachtie edition

This week CrewPass decided to ask our Instagram followers a variety of this or that questions based on yachting. We aim to help green crew feel completely prepared to join the industry; sometimes, it’s best to go straight to the source and see what the people within the industry have to say. After 24 hours of voting, the results are in. Let’s look at what our followers favour in the yachting industry…

Jet Skis or Jet Packs?

Yacht toys play a massive part in the charter experience for guests and crew. There has been an increasing demand for water-based toys noticed by charter brokers. “Most successful charter yachts will have an excellent selection of toys onboard. They are seen by the crew as crucial to meeting and surpassing the guests’ high expectations for enjoyment.” (Ocean Premium).

Jet skis are a standard on most yachts, and they tend to be great fun for all. Jet Skiing also gives your cardiovascular system a great workout as just 30 minutes a day improves your endurance hugely.

A jet pack is a device worn on the back that uses gas or liquid jets to propel the wearer through the air. However, unlike jet skis, learning to fly with jet packs is a challenging, time-consuming process. But once you get the hang of it, you can fly 30 feet above the ocean, dive under the surface like a dolphin and walk on water.

The Results:
Jet skis: 68%
Jet packs: 32%

There is an unmistakable winner; jet skis are the favourite water toy! They are a standard on many yachts, they are great fun and easy to manoeuvre!

The Med or The Caribbean?

The Mediterranean and the Caribbean are arguably the most popular yachting destinations in the world. Both places offer a unique charter experience full of individual culture, food, scenery and landmarks.

The Caribbean sailing season is from November to July. The tropical paradise in the Caribbean islands offers pristine beaches, vibrant cultures, ideal sailing conditions and crystal clear water. The warmer water in the Caribbean makes it more pleasurable to swim in. But the Caribbean is prone to way more rain and unpredictable weather.

Whilst the Mediterranean prides itself on the best food in the world, extensively rich cultures and breathtaking cliffside sites. The Mediterranean is the world’s largest yacht charter area, covering Greece, Croatia, Italy and more. The history in the Med is incomparable, featuring the Greek and Italian ruins, monumental cathedrals, mosaics, music and art.

The Results:
The Med: 54%
The Caribbean: 46%

Overall, the results are pretty close, whilst they fluctuated in the last 24 months. From these results, it’s clear that they are equally impressive, but both locations offer something unique, with pros and cons.

Sailboat or Powerboat?

Sailboats and powerboats both have notable advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the size, both sailboats and powerboats will have the same marina costs. The main thing people focus on is the type of experience they wish to have on the water.

People who choose sailboats tend to feel pride in navigating the water, and the sailboat arguably offers a more adventurous type of travel. Sailboats connect people to the water and the weather on a primal level whilst feeling a sense of satisfaction. Plus, this form of travel is more environmentally friendly as wind powers the boat. However, sailboats tend to be more time-consuming, energy-draining and demand more training.

A powerboat is an ultimate bay and ocean boat and is excellent for transporting short fishing trips into the wide-open water. Sailboats will never contend with the speed of the dual engines of a powerboat. Plus, powerboats tend to have more space, including deck space and interior space with amenities such as cabins and stand-up galleys. However, powerboats rely on fuel, have expensive engines and have constant noise of an engine.

The Results:
Sailboat: 27%
Powerboat: 73%

Powerboats are generally more comfortable for living and sleeping than sailboats, and more of the boat is above water and tends to be more open in space. Powerboat decks are not cluttered with sails or masts; therefore, they are much more leisurely moving around and excellent for onboard entertaining.

Private Boats or Charter Yachts?

In a private yacht job, you will work on a yacht used only by the owner and their guests. On a charter yacht, you’ll be working on a boat chartered primarily by families for lavish holidays, businesses for corporation use or special events. Before you apply for yacht jobs, we recommend you learn what type of yachting experience you wish to undergo.

Private yacht jobs typically pay a little less than those working on a charter boat. However, private yachts offer generous bonuses and other benefits, including health insurance. Private yachts go where the owner fancies, which means crew may have the opportunity to explore some of the world’s remote destinations, anywhere from Antarctica to the Galapagos Islands. Plus, surpassing the owner’s expectations is more manageable as you develop a working relationship.

Yacht charters offer lucrative tips! Crew typically receive a gratuity at the end of charters, which could end up being 20% of the price of the charter. A charter yacht has continuous guests coming on and off the boat. This means the crew is constantly kept on their toes and must try to anticipate their guests’ needs. On a charter yacht, every trip is different, which is a great opportunity for crew who enjoy spontaneity in their lives.

The Results:
Private Boats: 41%
Charter Yachts: 59%

Although the results were relatively close, charter yachts came up on top overall. Many crew a drawn by the lucrative earning potential that charter yachts tend to offer.

Yoga or Gym?

Many green crew question if they can keep up with their fitness routine and stay in shape while working onboard. Even with cramped living quarters and long work hours, there are still opportunities to maintain a good exercise programme and stay fit at sea.

Many superyachts contain a gym board, and now that the rise in health and well-being has directly affected the yachting industry. Some yachts have the state of the art gyms fully equipt. Many crew members are allowed to take advantage of the equipment when guests are off board.

Yoga and pilates on yachts are taking social media by storm, with many yacht crew creating separate social media accounts dedicated to this type of fitness. Yoga is a set of specific exercises, called poses, combined with breathing techniques and meditation principles which can be practised anywhere. Yoga can be practised on the beach, on deck, in the gym, in a studio and pretty much anywhere with a bit of space.

The Results:
Yoga: 26%
Gym: 74%

Shockingly, the gym surpassed the yoga results, with the majority of yacht crew voting that the gym is their favourite way to keep fit and healthy.

Do you agree or disagree with the results? Let us know what you think and comment below if you have any other questions you would like CrewPass to ask our followers!