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“What happens on the boat, stays on the boat”: the dark side of luxury yachting

Brianna Wyatt (Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management, Oxford Brookes University Business School, Oxford, UK)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 11 April 2023

Issue publication date: 28 July 2023




The purpose of this paper is to discuss the dark side of luxury yachting, with specific focus on the treatment and well-being of yacht crews.


The paper is based on a literature review of key terms: luxury yachting; yacht crews; well-being; maritime tourism and yacht guests.


The paper observes luxury yachting as having a hidden dark side that is impacting on the overall well-being of yacht crews who are responsible for producing luxury yachting experiences. It discusses scholarly research and industry reports into both luxury yachting tourism and yacht crew management and experiences.

Practical implications

The success of the Below Deck television franchise has had a direct influence on the growing phenomenon of luxury yachting tourism. Behind the happy smiles and grandeur of the luxury experience, there is a dark side to this booming industry that requires further investigation and resolutions to enhance yacht crew well-being without impacting the guest experience.


This paper presents luxury yachting as a growing tourism phenomenon. It explores the dark side of this industry from the experiences of yacht crews, who are generally seen, but not heard.



Wyatt, B. (2023), "“What happens on the boat, stays on the boat”: the dark side of luxury yachting", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 442-450.



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