Next Generation of Yachting – Part 12: James Pool, Y.CO

The next generation of yachting is fresh, and has a lot to offer. Read more about James Pool of Y.CO here.

Looking to the future of yachting, YATCO interviews several fresh faces in the industry to discover how they got their start, their career highlights so far, and what they predict for the future of the yacht market. 

James Poolis a yacht sales broker for Y.CO.

Featuring James Pool

How did you start in yachting? 

It’s safe to say many of us stumbled into this industry by chance, and I am very much one of them. In my instance, my sister had already taken the leap to Palma de Mallorca, where she started her own career in yachting as a stewardess and chef. My life was very much geared around sport, and I was based in the UK working for an events company when I decided to use my sporting background and Personal Training qualifications and follow my sister into the yachting world. In 2014 I took to Palma de Mallorca where I joined the swarm of green deckhands walking the docks looking for their first yacht.  

After a few day working gigs, it became very apparent that amongst the junior ranks, my personal training qualifications were not working enough magic to get my CV in front of employers, especially when there were other deckhands with a season under their belts. So, to improve my chances, I adopted a different strategy to obtain my first job in yachting. I continued to network and walk the docks, but instead of presenting another green CV, I started a fitness boot camp through which I targeted yacht crew. ‘JP Fitness’ had crew from various yachts attending and it was through this platform that I met a stewardess on Motor Yacht Oasis, 59m Lurssen.  

I started a fitness boot camp through which I targeted yacht crew. ‘JP Fitness’ had crew from various yachts attending and it was through this platform that I met a stewardess on Motor Yacht Oasis, 59m Lurssen. 

After some consistent follow-ups, I managed to score a day’s work on Oasis, which led to 5-days, then 5-weeks, then the opportunity to cross with crew to the Caribbean – all as a temporary crew member trying to make break my way in. I was asked to stay on for the Christmas and New Year charter and was then hired as a full-time Deckhand and Personal Trainer. It was a proud moment for me having finally broken into a new industry and what is more, on a fantastic charter yacht with great Captains, Crew and Owner.  

It was a proud moment for me having finally broken into a new industry and what’s more, on a fantastic charter yacht with great Captains, Crew and Owner. 

I came shoreside in 2016 where I worked as part of the sales team at The Superyacht Group in London for a year. An opportunity then arose with Y.CO in Monaco in 2017, where I have since developed my career under the leadership of Gary, Charlie, and many other reputable figures in the company. My first role here was in Yacht Culture, I soon transitioned into a Client Manager role, before moving into Yacht Sales a year ago. 

As a younger professional in the industry, what trends have you seen, and what do you predict for the coming years?  

The industry is evolving more rapidly than ever, and a key driver of this is the fact that yacht owners and charter guests are getting younger. We’re seeing a new generation of buyers who are less focused on owning an ultra-luxe status symbol, and more interested in the experience of yachting – in doing unforgettable things and having extraordinary experiences. This is an adventure-hungry generation that is looking for yachts that can give them adventures off-the-beaten-track.  

Y.CO manages 77.4m Legend, which cruises everywhere from the Antarctic peninsula to the Norwegian Fjords, to Svalbard onto Greenland and back to the Med, and offers everything from heli-ops, glacial skiing, submersible diving and everything in between. This kind of operation is the perfect example of how a well-equipped, well-crewed yacht can provide the perfect platform for adventure for this new generation.  

M/Y Legend is the perfect example of how a well-equipped, well-crewed yacht can provide the perfect platform for adventure for this new generation. 

I’ve also seen that there is a shift from an individual broker to a team approach. Having been a crew member, worked in yacht management and now moved into yacht sales, I have a well-rounded experience, but will willingly admit that I don’t have all the answers. What I do have, however, is the backing of a team of specialists within the Y.CO community – from engineers to marketeers – that I can draw upon to make sure I’m absolutely giving my Client the best advice.  

A third trend I foresee is a shift in Yacht Management to a more culture-centric approach. If you line up ten 60m yachts, and step on board all of them, they will each have a vastly different culture: different leadership, different recruitment strategy, various levels of crew turnover, training and development. Yacht culture is a crucial non-tangible element to any yachting operation and experience. Get it right and you will have a slick programme with well-trained yacht crew who have been on board for many years, have mastered their roles and responsibilities and can deliver a gold standard service In line with their owner’s vision and charter guests’ expectations.  

Get a yacht’s culture wrong and you have an operation that could lack safety and cohesion, with high crew turnover and personnel who are undertrained, demotivated and misaligned with the owner’s vision. This is an onboard management challenge that when prioritized, introducing basic principles such as core values, mission and vision statements and an effective recruitment and training strategy, can turn around an operation for Captains, Crew, Owners and Guests. I think we will see more yachts prioritizing their onboard culture through shore-based training and solutions to increase onboard performance and morale and drive down crew turnover and costs. In turn yachting standards will improve, crew and owners will be happier.  

In the future, we will see more yachts prioritizing their onboard culture through shore-based training and solutions to increase onboard performance and morale and drive down crew turnover and costs. In turn yachting standards will improve, crew and owners will be happier. 

What kinds of challenges have you faced in yachting, and how have you overcome them?  

As a Client Manager aged 28 and becoming a Yacht Broker at 31, I have had to combat the perception that my age means that I am inexperienced. When I am advising Clients and Captains or working with older industry players, I will always show respect and professionalism; however, this is not always reciprocated, and age plays a factor in this. Managing your confidence and communication style is paramount, and of course, exceeding expectations needs become a basic standard.  

Another challenge I overcame was getting into the industry in the first place. I feel for all green crew trying to find their way in, as competition is fierce and getting your first job requires challenging work and luck. 

What are some of your most memorable and successful moments? 

My most memorable moment was playing the role of Santa Claus to a high-profile client and their family on a charter in St Barth’s! 

In terms of success, I am incredibly happy to have sold two yachts during my first year as a broker. This is very much a personal and team success; I am fortunate to have the backing and support within Y.CO to achieve this.  

My most memorable moment was playing the role of Santa Claus to a high-profile client and their family on a charter in St Barth’s! 

What advice would you give to someone looking to join the yacht world? 

Work hard, ask questions and jump at all opportunities. Let the setbacks make you stronger and do not expect things to fall into your lap. Be proactive and always look to add value, listen, and learn. Very few people know much about yachts before starting in the industry, so don’t pretend that you do as you will be caught out. Learn from the those around you and earn your stripes… something I continue to try and do each day. Everyone starting in yachting is underqualified and underexperienced: personality and work ethic are key. 

Work hard, ask questions and jump at all opportunities. Let the setbacks make you stronger and do not expect things to fall into your lap. Be proactive and always look to add value, listen, and learn. 

What do you aspire to for the future?  

I aspire to grow my presence as a yacht broker and evolve within Y.CO and the industry. I have the tools and support at Y.CO, as well as the motivation to achieve this and will continue to keep pushing for years to come. I am still very much in a developing phase of my yachting career, and as it progresses, I will aim to take a more prominent role wherever I can add the most value. The industry is changing, and I aim to be at the front of it. In years to come I look forward to being an older, more experienced figure in the industry that inspires and unlocks the younger generation of talent.  

In years to come I look forward to being an older, more experienced figure in the industry that inspires and unlocks the younger generation of talent. 

You can connect with James on LinkedIn here

Browse Y.CO yachts for sale on YATCO here.  


Stay Informed

Sign up to receive updates on the latest
yachting and boating news and events.