Not all industries are the same when it comes to the number of sexual harassment claims. The most prominent include food services, retail, and manufacturing, all places where a vast majority of people work. Even more high-level professional, scientific, and technical services industries are known for toxic and sexually-charged job settings.
However, a smaller industry seems to be doing its part in keeping up with businesses best known for hostile work environments. Many refer to it as a “dark secret” that permeates a workplace primarily residing on the ocean.
Troubles at Sea
The yachting industry defines leisure. However, for those who work on yachts and superyachts, their glamourous work settings are rife with bullying, abuse, and overt sexual harassment from superiors, co-workers, and passengers. According to victims who have stepped forward, the environment seems to be the rule and not the exception.
To make matters worse, crew members victimized by this bad behavior have limited options in reporting instances of harassment. The industry itself lacks any formal framework, partially due to yachts being subject to international laws while on the ocean.
As with any type of harassment, potential consequences keep workers silent. Some claim that coming forward resulted in termination and subsequent blacklisting throughout the industry.
Even more alarming is their inability to leave a job site after acts of abuse. Working on a yacht means being on board 24-7. Being trapped on a large boat with potentially predatory people far from the coast of the United States make them prisoners.
Industry experts that include members of management companies and yachting non-profits are well aware of the issues that occur on these vessels. They are well aware of the toxic settings and validate the claims made by many victims of harassment, bullying, and outright racism, referring to it as an “endless cycle of abuse.”
Without formal policies and procedures to report sexual harassment, employees will continue to suffer in silence, if only to keep their jobs.