Archive from 2009:
For the first time, The Triton is taking one of its networking events to a crew house. Mary’s Crew House in Ft. Lauderdale is sponsoring this month’s second event, on the third Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009 from 6-8 p.m. All captains, crew, our supportive advertisers and readers of The Triton are welcome to join us at the original Mary’s Crew House, 816 S.E. 12th St., which is Davie Boulevard east of U.S. 1.
In the meantime, learn more about crew house owner Mary Gaudette.
Q. So tell us a little about the Mary in Mary’s Crew House. How did you come to operate homes for yacht crew?
Before moving to Ft. Lauderdale in the summer of 2000, I lived in New Hampshire, where for 14 years I ran a licensed children’s daycare in my home. Though it may seem a stretch between that and the operation of a crew house, there are actually more similarities than differences.
One has to be very organized, there is a big focus on cleanliness, building and facilities have to be maintained constantly, rules need to be established and followed, and there has to be constant monitoring to ensure safety and smooth operation. In other words, we had to run a tight ship.
When I was introduced to the concept of a crew house by a woman who had been in the industry for more than 17 years, I was fascinated by it. She encouraged me to pursue one and helped me in the beginning. I was quite overwhelmed by all that I had to learn, and all that I did not know about the yachting industry. Yet, it has turned out to be a wonderful and interesting experience and a blessing for me.
Q. Tell us a little about your business. You own more than one home, right? How long have you been doing this?We started out with the main crew house (the one with the pool) at 816 S.E. 12th St. in October 2003, then added two houses in 2005, one owned and one leased. These two are even closer to 17th Street, one on 14th Court and one on 18th Court.
The one on 18th Court we try to reserve for those going to school. People can study and do not have to rent a private room because it is so quiet. Many times three or four guys study together around the dining room table.
We also may put more mature people there, those who are past the networking/interaction/lots of activity phase. We have shared accommodation, as well as private rooms in these two houses. The main crew house is all shared accommodation.
Q. Some crew houses can be pretty strict, and others pretty relaxed. Where do you fall on the strict scale?
We strive to maintain a high-quality facility where captains feel free to contact us at anytime when they are looking for day workers and/or crew, knowing that we will send good quality people who will work hard for them. We try to hold the reputation of a “working crew house,” with serious-minded young men and women here. Not that we don’t have a lot of fun, with get-togethers and cookouts, etc. But, we refuse to become known as a “party” house or a “flop” house.
Therefore, we do what needs to be done to accomplish that with rules of the house, a.k.a. Mary’s Love Letter, handed out before anyone signs in so that people understand what is expected. We monitor the places daily to ensure that things are in order, and unfortunately, must put out those who refuse to follow those rules, which ensure that everyone feels safe, secure and able to sleep at a reasonable hour to be ready for work in the morning.
It appears that this is working because we continue to have a wonderful, high-quality group of people who shine when we send them for day work (we get lots of feedback from the captains). Our people are very friendly, helpful and accommodating to each other, calling and passing on day work to one another if they hear about it and are not able to take it, and they help out the new yachties. It is a very pleasant operation.
Q. What do crew need to know about your reservation system?
People interested can call or e-mail us for a reservation. Once someone is in a bed, we do not put them out for another reservation. They can stay for as long as they need to. The phone is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or if not answered immediately, we promptly return the call. We have a Web site that anyone can look to for more information: www.maryscrewhouse.com.
Q. The big story circulating around town earlier this year was about bed bugs in crew houses. Did you have to deal much with that?
There are no problems with bed bugs at any of our houses. We have white metal bed frames, and all mattresses are enveloped in zippered vinyl mattress protectors underneath the linens, both of which provide a strong deterrent to bed bugs or any other type of insect infestation.
In addition, we maintain a regular schedule of professional pest control, one for the outside and one for the inside. The inside pest control is non-toxic and not harmful to anyone.
My advice to crew to prevent dealing with bed bugs … come stay at Mary’s Crew House, and you will have no worry.