By Lucy Chabot Reed
Lloyd’s marine surveyor Sjaak Bot died of a heart attack on July 20. He was 61.
A Dutch native, Mr. Bot had spent years as the principal surveyor for Lloyds in its office of 15 surveyors just outside of Ft. Lauderdale, and had recently been promoted to regional technical support manager for North and South America. He worked at Lloyd’s Register Marine and Offshore for 20 years.
“He was the most dedicated, highly qualified, technical surveyor,” said David Callahan, vice president of client relations in the Americas and Mr. Bot’s boss. “He was sincere about finding reasonable, technical solutions for yacht owners and captains.”
Mr. Bot trained “everybody in the office … and he affected many, many more,” Callahan said
“Anyone with yachts going through Lloyd’s survey knows him,” said Capt. Rusty Allen, manager of the Natita fleet, who saw him on the docks at Rybovich the week before he died.
“He was very approachable,” Capt. Allen said. “He realized things weren’t always black and white. He was willing to work with captains. The strict interpretation of the Lloyd’s rules say one thing, but if I could present a reasonable alternative, he would make it happen.”
Capt. Allen said Mr. Bot tried to impress upon the surveyors he trained to operate the same way.
“He had a lot of common sense, as long as it didn’t interfere with the safety of the vessel, the crew or the guests,” he said. “Hopefully, the new generation [of surveyors] will be as amenable to those of us running vessels.
“He was a pleasure to work with,” Capt. Allen said. “I learned a lot from him.”
As did many of Mr. Bot’s colleagues.
“I worked for him for eight years,” said Gerrit Cramer, a marine surveyor who reported to Mr. Bot. “He was a wonderful team leader, and he was a wonderful example of how you manage an office.
“And he was a person who put his clients first,” he said. “If there were ever any questions or someone needed help, 24/7, he was always available or looking for a solution.”
Mr. Bot is survived by his wife, Georgina, three grown daughters, one granddaughter, and many colleagues and friends.
“In the office, he was friend, mentor, comedian, priest, counselor, surrogate uncle, you name it,” Callahan said. “And he was my best friend.”
To leave a message for his family, visit www.palmswestfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Jacob-Bot/#!/TributeWall.
Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.