Made Hartawan: Yacht Crew Trainer

Made Hartawan was born in Singaraja in 1972 and attended school in Denpasar. He has worked in the hotel, food and beverage industries all his professional life. The son of a naval officer, seawater has always sloshed around in his veins. Made began working on cruise ships in the early 1990s, gaining years of experience on board ships as waiter, supervisor and manager. Combining his interests in cooking, IT technology, computers and the Internet, in 2014 Made opened the PT. Laguna Indonesia yacht academy which trains Balinese how to work on yachts that sail all over the world.


What was your first break in the hospitality industry?

In a desire to help my parents and improve my job prospects, I decided to get a job on a cruise ship. This was not an easy decision to make. I am an only son, which made it difficult for me to leave my family because of the need to uphold tradition, religion and responsibilities at home. Several times I asked my parents if I could leave but they refused. Finally, in late 1993, I quietly applied for a job on Holland America Line. I passed all the tests and told my parents that I had to go to Jakarta to train for 3 months. Reluctantly, they finally agreed.


What do you like best about being a crewmember on a yacht?

I really love it! Cruises and yachts offer different experiences. When working on a cruise ship, the crew faces a heavy workload with only a couple of hours break during the day and a limited time to enjoy yourself on shore. Working on a yacht is totally different. You have to be totally focused only when the owner is on-board 2-3 times a year. For crew working on a chartered yacht cruise, they often have to be on 24-hour standby, taking turns sharing duties with other staff. When no guests are on board, the crew can enjoy themselves onshore for longer periods – sometimes up to 2 days or even a week having fun swimming, diving and jet skiing in order to test all the toys that the yacht uses to make sure they are functional and safe.


What about your interactions with people?

For most of my 17-year career, I worked on cruise ships on the high seas. I travelled widely and would meet as many as 1000-3000 guests every week. Getting to know them and learning their tastes and preferences is an art. The yacht industry, on the other hand, serves the world’s wealthiest people. Yacht life is more interesting. Besides the sensory enjoyment of the yacht itself, I learn a great deal from the owner or the guests who charter. Most are very knowledgeable and successful people who inspire me to also become a successful person.


How did the yacht academy come about?

While working as a dining room waiter for the Disney Cruise Line, I met the owner of a yacht who first gave me the idea of opening a yacht academy. I had wanted to take my career to the next level and the timing was perfect. I began learning all I could about yachts. I researched yacht companies, visited the docks and asked questions. At last, the academy was launched in 2012.


Is this your own company or do you have partners?

I built the company from scratch and have run it up to the present by myself. I am in partnership with the well-known yacht-training organisation International Yacht Training Worldwide that is based in Canada. IYT is very well regarded in the industry and is accredited by MCA (Maritime and Coast Guard Association) whose certificate is accepted in 45 countries. With a complete, high-quality syllabus already in place, it made it easier for my company to train Indonesians for a wide variety of crew positions. I am proud that we are now able to give Indonesians an opportunity to find gainful employment on yachts around the world.


What courses do you teach at the academy?

We specialize in training students to qualify to work as crewmembers on yachts. We offer courses in hospitality, housekeeping, food service, laundry, yacht knowledge, seamanship, safety and instruction on the duties of a deckhand. We want our students to be ready on their very first day of employment. Because staff on a working boat has very little time to devote to training, the captain/owner wants a crewmember to know exactly what is expected of him or her from the very first day they step on board.


Are there many yacht training academies in Indonesia?

We are the only yacht academy in Indonesia. There are other training schools, but they focus on training crews for cruise ships. A cruise ship agency will find employment for more than 100 crewmembers in a year whereas a yacht agency might only find positions for 5 to 10 (if they are lucky). This is because the qualifications for employment on a yacht are much more demanding. The work standard is much higher.


Any advice for young people starting out in the industry?

New candidates should become as fluent as possible in English, the most common language used on yachts. They should be open, cheerful and positive. They should research the Internet to learn what it’s like working on yachts. They should always ask questions, upgrade their knowledge and experience, be open to learn new things and to work outside their comfort zone. They need to remember that success is a result of hard work.


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