Every crew member has rights. Depending on where your flag is registered, your location and the use of the yacht, these rights will differ.
MLC—the Maritime Labour Convention—has been ratified by most countries, and part of this convention is that you are entitled to a Seafarer’s Employment Agreement (SEA).
The SEA is not written in stone and there is flexibility in the terms and conditions. There are five non-negotiable details that must be stipulated transparently and clearly evidenced.
Employer’s name and address
You have a right to know the name and address of your employer; a phone number is recommended. There must be a clear line of communication with your employer while on board. Note: the employer will be the registered owner, not the beneficial owner.
Details of your salary and contract length
Your salary, how it is calculated, must be shown in your SEA. In the case of temporary contracts, this must also include the end date of the contract. For permanent positions, terminations conditions, and any minimum notice periods must be detailed.
Your paid leave entitlement
The minimum amount of holiday you can accrue under MLC rules is 2.5 days per calendar month spent on board. You might get more under different flag state law, never less. Note that An SEA under the MLC does not have to specify how or when your holiday allowance can be taken. Rolling over holidays and also national holidays will depend on your role and the season.
The policy and name of the company providing medical insurance provided, including benefits if you are sick or injured. The MLC does not specify the details so you have to check this out. A copy of the policy will show exclusions.
Right to repatriation
At the end of your terms of employment, the shipowner is to cover the costs of your repatriation. If you are laid off or even if you’re fired, you have a right to repatriation to a specified location, food and accommodation, and 30kg of personal luggage for your travels. Time spent travelling does not count as leave.