Emmeline Gee is on a mission to make the world a better place, one therapeutic massage at a time.
First, tell us about your yachting career.
I joined yachting in 2010, when I was 33 and seeking a career change and some adventure. I worked as a stewardess/masseuse on the 236-foot (72m) charter yacht M/Y Kogo for two and a half years before going freelance as a massage therapist and yoga instructor. In total, I worked on over 10 superyachts, massaging all kinds of clients, including tech CEOs, Saudi royals, and film stars. I think I had one of the best jobs in the industry!
How did you get the idea for your business?
I launched Angels On Board in 2014, with the vision of creating a quality-assured pool of wellness professionals that superyachts could rely on for charters and guest trips. I could see the need for this service, and I found it fulfilling to match clients and therapists. Plus, I knew we would be stronger as a team rather than as individual therapists.
How did you make it happen?
To begin with, I placed friends who were massage therapists on charters I wasn’t able to do. We grew a good reputation, and charter inquiries increased. Inevitably, some yacht clients wanted permanent well-being crew — plus, crew started to send me their CVs. So I also started to offer a recruitment service for spa and fitness crew.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
My most challenging time was running the business when my son was a baby. I had no family living close by, and it was tough juggling being a single mum with the urgency that yachting often requires. On the plus side, I was more determined than ever to make my business a success.
What offboarding advice would you offer to other yachties thinking about making the transition?
Keep the faith and stick to your dream! If you’re unsure about your goals, or how to achieve them, get a good life coach to help you get clarity and to stick to your commitment. The other tip is obvious but crucial: Make sure you save as much of your salary as possible while you’re still on yachts – that money will go a long way when you’re living back ashore.
Do you miss working on board yachts, and if so, what do you miss most?
It was fascinating meeting some of the world’s most influential people, and of course working with such a variety of crew. Plus, I miss waking up to a different view out of the porthole every morning, and the amazing food of course!
How is your new career/business going and what does the future hold?
It’s an exciting time of growth for Angels On Board. Our team is expanding, and we’re adding new services, such as nannies for charter. Our next step is to offer our service to other sectors of luxury and corporate eventing and become the world’s leading provider of wellness professionals.
With this growth, I also see our social responsibility growing. Every year we donate 5% of our profits to Open Arms, a nonprofit NGO whose mission is to protect those who try to reach Europe by sea, whether fleeing from armed conflict, persecution, or poverty. It’s a big motivator knowing that as we grow as a company, our social impact can grow too.
I’m also keen to build community support within our industry area. I host a monthly Zoom peer group for stews with massage, beauty, or fitness skills. It’s still a small group, but feedback so far has been really positive.
Find out more at angels-on-board.com.