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Owner’s View: Captain wanted, perhaps couple?


Owner’s View: by Peter Herm

No, I am not replacing my captain or crew. They are awesome. But, it is time for a new boat on this side of the pond. I love the one in the Med too much get rid of it. I will shortly qualify for a two-room suite at the asylum by owning two boats of 100-plus feet. Or perhaps I should say one 30-plus meters and one 100-plus feet. In any case, I need a new captain and crew. Therefore, with my vast wisdom and experience, I will try something new — write a job description, publish it here and see what happens. Here you go:

General description of the “program”
Boat based in Fort Lauderdale, cruising Maine to Caribbean with focus on New England summers, Chesapeake spring and fall, and Bahamas winter. Boat used extensively for very casual entertaining of small groups. Boat is low-maintenance fiberglass with no exterior varnish. Huge crew quarters, proper engine room spaces, very long range. Boat will go slow with no more than six guests. No little kids and not over-the-top toy store.

Dynamic, smiling leader by example. Recruits and leads a team that understands casual service and high levels of boat maintenance. Enthusiasm more important than decades of experience. Possibly a first step into the 100-foot league? A great couple welcomed. Boat skills assumed, management acumen a must. This is not just a captain position, but a critical part of the owner’s business marketing. You will be face-to-face with the owner’s most important business contacts and clients. Compensation and benefits commensurate with attitude. Suggest you read my previous columns and you will better understand what we are looking for in a captain.

The following positions are to be filled by the captain, but some thoughts on crew:

Multi-tasking is critical. This is not an over-the-top, gourmet, white-glove program. No temperamental whiners need apply. The big grill is your friend. I don’t know what a “canape” is, so you don’t have to either.

Owner has a critical eye for detailed maintenance and budgets accordingly. But stuff still happens and the right person will be able to MacGyver on the fly. Grease under the fingernails is required — this is not about your cellphone calling in contractors. Whining about the towed tender in the Bahamas is prohibited. Caterpillar and Northern Lights experience is a plus.

Empty cocktail glasses are bad. Warm beer is bad. Big smile and positive attitude is the No. 1 requisite for this position. Communication skills with guests are critical.

Note that these descriptions are all specifically written with the “/” mark, meaning this is a multi-tasking team. Everyone does everything. Primadonnas need not apply. This is boating, not yachting. This is fun, not stuffy. A few toys, some diving. No slides or young kids.

This crew is an extension of my businesses, and personable, friendly personalities are required. With two boats in the program, time off is available and understood. But when you are on, you are on. As my current captain put it, “You run this like a charter boat without the tips.”

Yes, but think of all the new people you get to meet, and no BVI on the schedule.

I am open to any creative ways to get the right and amazing crew, so don’t be bashful about pitching me. Salesmen love to be sold.

Reply to:

Bow west and high tide only.

Peter Herm is the pen name for a veteran yacht owner who is an entrepreneur based on the East Coast of the U.S. Comments are welcome at

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5 thoughts on “Owner’s View: Captain wanted, perhaps couple?

  1. Captain Paul Figuenick

    It’s a shame one seeks a captain who has never run a large vessel before that is outgoing, than a mature one, who has the experience, knows guests and regulatory issues, is keen on drills and safety, one who has worked with many different budgets and crews before.
    I would like to think an owner wants someone to watch out for their investment with a keen and experienced eye. But this is not new in the yachting industry, lots of owners are now looking for newly licensed, inexperienced captains to operate their vessels, leaving the seasoned captains scratching their heads.

  2. Annie

    Love this post.. Wish more owners would take the time to do this. It gives a first line feeling for who they are and what they want, without a middleman. Don’t get me wrong.. Managers and Crew Agent help tremendously but it’s a rarity to have insight directly from the owner.

    I believe it’s this first step in finding a good personality match… If the owner’s and crew actually like each other and get along, it improves communications and therefore provides a much more pleasant working environment. In turn, increasing motivation and therefore outcome.

    You know what they say… Happy crew, happy boat!!

    Kudos to you sir!

  3. Ami G. Ira

    Dear sir,

    You sound like a prime candidate for a Bluewater ONE ACCOUNT. 🙂

    Our ONE ACCOUNT is subscription access to the industry’s biggest online self service yacht crew database, where you pay one yearly fee, and can hire all the crew you’ll ever need. Plus, you get the equal amount spent, in training credit for use at any of our maritime schools worldwide, to sharpen the technical skills of your new team.

    Please feel free to give us a call if you’d like to hear more, or feel free to stop in. We’re right down the plaza from the Triton, and look forward to working with you!

    1 (954) 462 4624

  4. Captain

    Captain Paul,
    Every successful businessman knows that employing someone with a high school diploma and no experience as CEO of their company is a lot cheaper than employing a Harvard graduate with 20 years experience of running international businesses.
    And the results are the same right?

  5. Christopher Hezelgrave

    Agree with what Mr Herm has to say in “most” respects, attitude in this service industry is a must though I would also agree with Captain Paul with the argument that a multi million dollar asset should be treated as such, and more importantly than an amenable joker is a Captain who can ensure the guests have a wonderful time enhanced by the fact the yacht was brought safely and “sans drama” back to harbour … experience is not learnt in a book…

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