Offshore Crew Employment

The purpose of this guide is to provide background on the employment and payroll of yacht crew from an offshore location as a method of simplifying a complicated situation for yacht owners and to introduce the services of Oceanskies Crew Limited which is our own dedicated provider of offshore crew employment and payroll.


The employment and payment of permanent crew working and living onboard yachts is complicated. The jurisdiction of a yacht’s ownership, registration and homeport will often differ.

The personal circumstances of each crew member in terms of where they are domiciled, where they might be resident, (if they have an ‘onshore’ residence), and where they might be liable to pay tax and/or account for social security will be different.

Throw in the often perpetual movement of many yachts between different countries and continents and suddenly a yacht owner is faced with a variety of complex jurisdictional issues in terms of employment law and the payment of tax and national insurance on behalf of the crew who work onboard their vessel.

In an effort to help simplify arrangements Oceanskies has developed a unique dedicated offshore crew employment vehicle based on the Channel Island of Guernsey.

The vehicle is known as ‘Oceanskies Crew Limited’ (“OCL”), a Guernsey based limited liability company.

OCL has been established on a clean sheet basis to operate from its inception within the requirements of the Marine Labour Convention 2006 (“MLC”) environment which applies to all commercial yachts and is recommended best practice for all private yachts. OCL will become fully certified and audited to MLC standards prior to the convention coming into force during 2013.

The yacht owner will usually enter into a contract with OCL for the provision of crew employment and payroll services for their yacht.

In cases where a third party yacht manager is involved it is possible to have a tripartite agreement clearly apportioning responsibility between the manager and OCL so that the employment and payroll services can easily be dovetailed into the vessel’s existing management structure.

The yacht owner and/or yacht manager funds OCL on a monthly standing order to cover each crew member’s salary plus costs.


The key advantages of our crew employment service are as follows:

  • Crew are employed by OCL separately from the underlying client and/or the vessel owner. The structure removes the client completely from the liabilities associated with the employment of crew and the onshore reporting requirements linked to the owning of an offshore company.
  • OCL is owned by Oceanskies Limited and is not only fully based on the Channel Island of Guernsey but it is also run by Guernsey residents.
  • All crew can be employed offshore even when the yacht itself is owned by an onshore company located in a jurisdiction that might not be favourable for the employment of seafarers.
  • All crew are employed through a Seafarers Employment Agreement (SEA) in line with Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) best practice requirements.
  • All crew are employed from Guernsey by a Guernsey based company (i.e. non-EU) without any deductions being made at source in Guernsey for tax or national insurance/social security.
  • Oceanskies charges on a fixed fee basis rather than as a percentage of the crewmember’s salary.


As with all of Oceanskies’s services, crew recruitment, placement and employment is offered on a fixed fee basis and not linked to the value of the yacht or a crewmember’s salary.

Next Steps

Please do not hesitate to contact us to request a free no obligation quotation from Oceanskies to provide a complete non-EU offshore crew employment and payroll service.

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Guernsey Office

Oceanskies Limited

Castle Emplacement

St. Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1AU

Channel Islands, Great Britain

Malta Office

Oceanskies (Malta) Limited

56, Ground Floor, Europa Centre

Saint Anne Street,

Floriana FRN 9011, Malta


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