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Best and worst captains
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2009 10:38 AM
Hear, hear! Cohesion, skill and leadership are the key words for any unit iot perform. Good chief engineers understand and emply this every day (they wouldn't survive as professionals without it). Good masters should live and breathe this mantra. One can ask oneself what kind of training and experience offers the biggest likelyhood of attaining such qualities. Hawsepiping in the yacht world, merchant, navy? Which training prepares senior mariners for emergency situations, coping with stress, coping with crew politics, coping with regs, understanding own strength and weaknesses, ie a comprehensive approach to responsibility? Which training establishments/institutions provide schooling in diciplines that go beyond licensing? I think that it's a given!!!
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2009 10:51 AM
Many ways lead to Rome, why not take the best one instead of criss crossing the backroads? Faster, safer and more focused!
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2009 6:26 PM
I think most of the replies here completely miss the point. When it comes to boat handling skills we're not taking a tanker through the suez or standing off an oil rig by 10ft in a force 8. I think most will agree that the majority of captains, good and bad can put the boat on and off the dock when needed. Knowing the rules of the road word for word rather than just the practical application is of no consequence to owners and crew. With the leadership skills, there's too much talk of commanding a team of guys in the merchant navy or forces as being relevant to yachting. It is not and there in is the problem. Only in numbers. They are a team of people with a job, they're there to get the job done, complain about it then go home to their families. Yacht crew tend toward being university educated motivated and energetic types who treat it more of a lifestyle that a profession. Mostly it's only captains that have come up through the ranks this way that truly understand how this works. I've sailed with Yacht, Navy and merchant captains. Yachties are a mixed bunch good and bad, but definitely the best captains I've worked for have been through this route, and some of the worst. Merchant, are of a general level. You almost know what you're going to get. I have several friends captaining yachts from this route and the ones that have embraced the yachting culture are the ones that run happy boats. People that have come for the rotations and money just don't get it. Navy, I've sailed with a few ex naval captains and a lot of crew. Personally I won't employ ex navy nor work for an ex naval captain again. Too many personnel issues in general here. The good guys seem to be the exception to the rule. In my opinion the merits of a good captain on top of the given driving skills and keeping the boat clean are: Approachable by all the crew on a first name basis with good steady grounding to deal with any personal/job related issues. Treats the boat as our home and not their place of work Proves themselves worthy of our respect continually rather than demand it from rank Understanding that we are there to live, and keeping the boat immaculate is what we do. We work to live, we're not there solely for the job. Being allowed off the boat and downtime is not a privilege as shore leave is to a merchant sailor. It's our life. Us real yachties are there to live and enjoy life, not work for money and go home. Getting paid well is one of the perks of the job, and we sure earn it when the boss is on for 2 months straight. - an ex merchant engineer and many years convert to yachting.
Kirsty-Sky
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2009 7:34 PM
Joined: 12/09/2008
Posts: 4


I cannot beleive some of these comments!
'Becoming a commercial Capt. is'nt hard' ???????????????? What the hell are you thinking, you obveously dont know what your talking about sunny boy!
most of the seaman on commercial vessels have to go to Maritime school for atleast a year befor joining a ship and still have to do courses while onboard. and then, after a few months at sea they have to go back to school!!!!!!!!!!! And all of that just to be quallified as 1st or 2nd Mate.
On the White boats most qualifications (not all) come from a course that takes a couple of weeks and then your legally a Capt... starting with a 200ton and upgrading when you have the seatime to do so.
you can make up your mind as to wich one is more difficult. ( i know neither is easy)

As for those of you who think being a Capt is an easy go lucky job, you obveously have allot to learn!

There is no comparing a stew and Capt. position! as i find allot of Stew's commented about how easy the Cap's job is. And this is extremely funny to me as i dont find many Stewardesses out there striving for their Captain's liscence

I notice so many crew who have their STCW95 think they know all there is to know about boats. (usually girls on the interior) mouthing off!
i know from experience that someone who knows a little bit about boats is more dangerouse than a person who knows nothing at all. especially when in an emergency situation.
wich leads to one final statment; your Capt. is the one who has the responsibility of keeping you safe!
If the boat is sinking the Capt is to be the last person off the boat. if that dose'nt earn him a slight amount of respect i dont know what will.

it seams that crew on White boats are having less a less respect for the Captain or Master position. VERY SAD!



Kirsty-Sky
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2009 7:38 PM
Joined: 12/09/2008
Posts: 4


This is just my oppinion im very sorry if any one disagrees. its just a friendly debate.

Anonymous
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 12:58 AM
Some earlier pundits seem to think that merchants only travel in massive freighters or tankers, while navy are snotty armchair admirals. Oh, what bliss to entertain such notion!! They have even met representatives that apparently have displayed such characteristics! These pundits display very little understanding of the complexity of the marine industry. Merchants and navy are not overly represented in the yachting industry, rather a fraction of a fraction, and therefore subject to prejudice, arguably stemming from ignorance, other times from 1st or 2nd hand accounts of some bad egg. The captains running the racket in the white fleet are overwhelmingly born and bred in the white fleet. They will not hesitate to talk trash about people from a different walk of life. It permeates the industry. However, 99 pct of the marine world is actually crewed by people not belonging to this "elite" group. They seem to manage, be it fast ferries, fishing boats, small, medium and monstrously huge vessels. To say that people skills, boathandling and leadership is predominantly better in the yachting world (because of the "special requirements"), and that merchant and navy are markedly lesser in these fields of expertise is overwhelmingly ignorant (approx 99 pct). As for the guy earlier who apparently had a bad experience with some navy people, what was really the issue? The argument seemed a bit fuzzy! What was the beef??
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 6:53 AM
It's a whole different industry, which I think is what people fail to grasp. I don't think anyone would claim that an average yacht captain would be much use behind the wheel of a north sea supply boat or ferry, nor much cop at sorting out the crew. I'm the guy commenting on Naval experience. Having worked for 3 different Navy Captains, and god knows with how many Navy crew it's always been the Navy guys that have caused problems amongst the crew, they have the skills and time to do the job well but not the attitude, almost universally. There's obviously a few exceptions and there's a few I know that I'd work with and consider friends, and have a few friends still in the Navy. That's fine, I'm not knocking it, they're good at what they do but 10 years of experience have shown me that about 2 out of 3 will not last the duration on a proper yacht and will usually bring the whole crew down as they struggle to battle it out. If you work for a Navy captained boat, particularly one that has come from the Navy straight to captain you should instantly see what I mean, where keeping a happy crew is put on the back burner in favour of.. well I don't know what you'd call it, a military style I suppose. Keeps the Navy boys on track but changes the Job from a good place to be to just work for us regular yachties. Despite the fact that everyone has the skills to operate the boats, it's attitudes that are not always interchangeable between the industries.
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 7:01 AM
Kirsty - 4 years as an apprentice just to become officer of the watch. Another 2 at least, even if you spend a lot of time at sea to be eligible to sit mate's exam. Another 2 at least on top of that before being eligible to sit your masters.
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 7:20 AM
What sort of changes did these three ex navy captains implement? Why did the crew go from happy to indifferent? Were there suddenly other rules, less or more liberties, a departure from "how it's always been"? Were they well received from the "regular" yachties? Pls explain so we can get to the bottom of this!
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 7:23 AM
They probably banned the excessive drinking. Not good for morale.
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 9:19 AM
I can give you a couple of quick examples here. 1st is a boat captained from build ex navy. 4-5 years ago, at the time one of the large high class motorboats. I was temp engineer for a couple of months. All the non navy junior crew were green and changed out regularly. There were a couple that had experience and were onboard, the sort of brown nosers that usually don't last long as they get caught lying, or stabbing someone in the back to promote their own interest. Bosun and 2nd mate. I found the captains attitude to be that the guest were a hindrance to his running of a safe boat. It's not good to have the captain in the crew mess ranting about the guests, particularly the owners! He was unwilling to put the best effort in to pleasing the guests which also rubs off on the crew. There was a very strict regime of what you can and can't do to the point of being controlling. Working hours were set in advance, and you stick to them. No flexibility, whether the guests need something extra, or you have the chance for a bit of downtime. The Guys had been on charter for 3 months straight, at the end of which they got 1 day off for the weekend, which they must be up early and off the boat enjoying themselves. Anyone who got drunk was not allowed to return to the boat. I would say this would be perfectly acceptable in the navy, or merch and would happily work for this captain under those circumstances but it's not yachting, There's no 3 months off after this trip (well there was for me but not the permanat crew).
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 9:46 AM
2nd would be another large motorboat more recently, where I was permanent crew. The captain was offered rotation and his relief turned up on the way of an ex navy captain, 1st yacht and unwilling to start as mate. After a short handover things started well, the guy was (still is) real friendly and undoubtedly would have been a great guy to have in the navy. Then little things start to change. "We're just going to make this slight change and do things this way" ok, no biggy to most of the crew, little more work maybe but makes sense. Have to say this started alarm bells ringing in my head as I've seen where this leads. The boat already had a high workload and as such and with guests on things like drills tend to slip until you have some downtime. We catch up at the end of the trip, it's not like there's new crew every week that don't know our procedures. So now, when the guests are off for the afternoon it's time for drills, no getting that job done that was needed, or getting bit of time to relax after a couple of weeks of 16 hour days. On top of that, where as an experienced captain knows the cruising grounds, now we're shifting anchorages and extra few times a day to find the good spots, there's not the years of knowledge about this is where you go and this is the way to get there. This captain was the opposite of the other one in attempting to please the guests, to the point of always being nervous about it and causing yet more work. "we'll use this tender, now bring that one in and clean it, put the other tender in the water, we'll use that one if (insert random senario)" getting all the toys in at inappropriate times. The change was from a smoothly run yacht to a.. safer? yacht where everyone is working to the point of exhaustion in a state of semi-panic. Personally I saw where it was going and handed in my notice once it got to the point of what I consider silliness. I still speak to the remaining crew and even now 2 years on it's the same scenario, albeit with a bit more knowledge of where to go. I will add to that, for a while all the replacement crew coming in were ex-navy as per this new captain. After a short period this was stopped by the regular captain due to crew moral I suppose.
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 9:59 AM
Now we're getting somewhere! The example you described above is deplorable. The guy simply didn't understand the raison d'etre of running a charter yacht. What I find odd about the account is that an ex military so grossly misinterpretated his mission statement. That is not usual in the armed services. My suspicion is that the person in question never held a commanding nor executive officers job in the service. CO's and XO's in the navies direct their focus on mission accomplishment, and keeping happy crews is by far the favoured tool for being able to. Sounds like your guy had some serious ego problems! Ex. navy CO
Kirsty-Sky
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 10:09 PM
Joined: 12/09/2008
Posts: 4


THANKS for pointing that out! however the training does vary depending on what country u study.  Smart Ass!

Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 11:39 PM
Pointing what out?
Kaj
Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 10:42 PM
Joined: 05/08/2008
Posts: 83


Wow, I am almost dizzy from reading these letters! For the record I am a Captain and have worked in the Super yacht business for the last 14 years mostly as Captain. My experience was previously 6 years in commercial in the fields of ferries, tourist trips and thrill seeking jet boat rides in New Zealand. It took me some time for me to break into the super yacht facet of boating and I faced the usual replies when applying for jobs such as "you don´t have any experience in the Med´" and at that stage there weren´t as many Kiwis in the business. I even got told that "you guys are coming over and taking our jobs" by what we call a Pom.

As far as the good Captain and a Bad Captain scenario is concerned I have to say that overall this super yacht industry is a very unprofessional one. There are many Captains who when they put on their stripes or reach the job as Captain they begin the downward slide of professionalism. Being a Captain doesn´t automatically give you all the many skills required to run a business. On dry land a similar business investment of money equivalent to what is tied up in a super yacht would have others doing the accounting, hiring and firing, bookings etc not to mention the many personalities the Captain has to deal with on a daily basis. Often it is all too consuming to many Captains, but they will never admit it nor will they try to do anything to improve it.

Then there are the crew who never do wrong, who never leave dirty dishes in the sink, don´t scrub the shower floor, don´t make their beds, leave a reminder at the back of the toilet bowl, get drunk and don´t get out of bed, do drugs,drink the owners booze, and even steal from fellow crew members. I could list more, but I am sure many of you are aware of what I am talking about. Sadly a part of my job that I hate is cabin inspections, but as I often prove, they are necessary. I play both Mother and Father to many crew, and often my reward will be that I receive the the dubious reputation of being a bit of a bastard. Hey, someone has to do it.

Then there are the amazing crew who support me no end in the running of my yacht both interior and exterior no matter what role they have from the beginner entry level through to Mate, Chief Stewardess or Engineer, it won´t run without them. Believe it or not, there are rules for both crew and Captains, call it protocol, knowing your place and having respect. Often we all live with people in small spaces that you wouldn´t necssarily choose to flat with or even socialise with.  Basically you are forced to live eat and breathe with these people. So there is alot of give and take here. Often peoples bad habits are magnified as are their inefficiencies as well, however we can often forget their skills because of this.

It is difficult to find the right "mix" no matter the size of the yacht. From my side, I do reward my crew handsomely for a good job well done. We all share equally the tips and I do take all my crew out for dinners both at the beginning and end of the season. There is also extra time off for them between charters and the bosses visits, but it aint a one way street. We all earn each others respect for the jobs we all do onboard. I´d like to think that if mistakes are made we are all big and ugly enough to learn from them and do something about it. I don´t hold grudges as long as mistakes don´t become a regular thing or repeated.

My last point is that all crew need to remember that we are working in a 5 or 6 star hotel and it is an extremely diffucult , long houred job and it floats on salt water which is very hard to keep clean. We do wierd and even dirty nasty jobs, meet wierd and wonderful people, see amazing places and it is often a very un-rewarding experience. But that is the nature of this industry, there is nothing out there like it. No one really understands what we do unless they have experienced the same jobs we hold down. In a nutshell, it is a hard industry to survive in, but also a very rewarding one full of life experience!

Cheers

Capt Kaj


Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, June 27, 2009 12:43 AM

Pointing what out??? Ego-problems manifest themselves in many ways. The above mentioned example is not one of a bloated ego, rather than one of basic insecurity, pushing an "imaginary" previous position of responsibility as proof of excellence. I admit that it is not unknown to ex servicemen to go down that road, but I think you would find many a fine example from the homegrown, ie born and bred yachtie masters. There exists an inherent resistance, nay prejudice towards commercials and navy in the industry. I submit that this is so because they are perceived as a threat to the MCA IV/USCG 1600 cads running the racket today. And perhaps they are right! God forbid, having trained mariners coming into the business, their very own cozy little corner of the market! A very special place where norms and legislation are suspended/tweaked/softened to accommodate the incubent! We can only hope that international legislation will root this thing out in due time. Perhaps then the yachting industry will be a place regarded as for elite mariners. Outside the industry yacht drivers are considered as TonkaToy drivers, they invariably ask us what we did before we got in to the industry. They give little regard for how good you are at putting your stern up to the Soggy Dollar in a dashing manner. They want to know if you can manage a ship and a crew without firing/hiring one third every summer blaming personnel issues. [Comment deleted by moderator]


KMiller
Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 8:48 PM
Joined: 07/07/2009
Posts: 6


Kirsty-Sky - where are all these posts where you say the 'stews' say the captain's job is easy????  I couldn't find 'lots of stews' who commented that.  Because it would be a ridiculous statement.

Oh.  You're a female 'cappy'.  Of course you're going to bash other females onboard.  How predictable.  I for one know the Captain's job is difficult.  So is mine.  I certainly don't compare them, but respect where respect is due.  For both sides.

Anonymous
Posted: Monday, September 28, 2009 11:08 AM
Great post, a lot of debate and this subject has been bandied around for many years. I myself am a captain in this industry, and moved up the ranks position by position over the years. I do not hold an especially large licence however I have over 16 years experience, with another 15 sailing before that. One thing I would like to point out here is the amount of crew who think my job is easy. The Captain of ANY boat, commercial, yachting or military has the ultimate responsibility for all lives on board. Please remember this before you decide you can do a better job. In between arranging berths, fuel, accounts, covering for the owner, arranging visas for crew and guests, dealing with customs and immigration (even the police for some instances), the constant licence upgrades, paperwork and crew issues and holidays there is not much time left. If we are constantly on the computer try asking what we are doing rather than thinking we are playing cards!

I agree the respect earned in this position cannot be garnered from a few weeks at school, but must be earned over the years. My crew respect me and some even like me, but it all comes down to experience. Being firm, fair and consistent has allowed me to keep my crew around for longer than most. It also does not hurt to occasionally get your hands dirty and help out a strugglng crewmember by showing them the correct way to do something rather than shouting at them.

To all captains out there, please remember 'No-one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care'. Firm but fair and stop the shouting!

Good luck to you all, have a pleasant winter season.

Stephen
Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 5:31 AM
Joined: 10/10/2009
Posts: 5


Well this is all very interesting reading, and yes I am a Captain, so of course I have my opinion too. I'll just smile and keep them to myself. But for the person who asked about Captain and Master. The Master is/was the person who is responsible for the Ship, signs for her, lock stock and barrel. The Captain is the person who is responsible for the crew and all of their actions and also is responsible for the actions of the ship. Many years ago, it became common to combine the two into one person. Hence, “Master and Commander. When I sign something on the boat, a clearance or the logbook, it is usually as Master, if I sign a letter for someone or something it is as Captain. Master is the position and Captain is the rank. We could go on with this but I hope you get the idea. This is a really general explanation and I hope it helps in a general way. And Captain Perfect can't really be; All things to all people is a daunting task, I'm guessing impossible, but you can be firm and still considerate of others, Perhaps you'll be on your way. But remember, the captain is only a man/woman. Hopefully, proficient in his duties and respectfully of his crew, but still just a person, with a fair amount of stress and strain at times (also). Good luck guys. Steve
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2010 12:07 AM
"It is a ship like any other ship at sea, and the code at sea is the captain is the boss for many reasons, the primary one being safety. I have been in frightening situations with these crew who think they know, but in a situation that requires immediate action are less that capable, YET , get offended and take it personally when the captain addresses them in a manner that leaves no room for discussion"

I am so sick of hearing this. If a captain starts ranting about this- you can be sure he's a jerk and you should run away. The interest of safety does not give you carte blanche to act like a child.

This type of insecure defensive bravado is exactly what gets captains in trouble. The problems start when a captain addresses people AT ALL TIMES in a manner that leaves no room for discussion- whether it's about someone's political views, what they should eat, what they should read, the shirt they're wearing, what music they listen to, etc. etc. Just because you're the captain does not give you the right to dictate someone's personality.

I worked for a guy- (see above description) who complained that his "feelings got hurt" when no one bothered to invite him out for dinner with the crew in Newport. This 49 yr old man would actually stomp his feet around the wheelhouse and pout. You can't be a tyrant 100% of the time month after month and expect crew to want to hang out with you and be your buddy- especially when you get drunk and slur about how sexy your stew is .......  and fire her when she doesn't take you up on your attempts to have sex.. oh wait- you CAN do that in yachting! Oops, my bad.

Yeah- in my opinion, most captains suck.   



c.meaway
Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2010 12:58 AM
Joined: 03/02/2009
Posts: 5


"Occasionally theres is a REAL LEADER that is a real talent (not just good boat skills), great personality with good interpersonal skills, great in a crisis. The Cohesion that bonds together the Ultimate PROFESSIONAL Crew"


Can you give me some NAMES? I'd like to send my cv.

Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2010 1:22 AM
"which leads to one final statement; your Capt. is the one who has the responsibility of keeping you safe!
If the boat is sinking the Capt is to be the last person off the boat. if that dose'nt earn him a slight amount of respect i don't know what will."


Two things:

1. Perhaps the topic of education keeps coming up because many of the posts by "Captains" appear to be written with the spelling/punctuation/grammatical skills of a 12 year old.

2. Um, what if he's the one who puts you in dangerous situations because he's such an eeejit? What if the First Mate, Chief Engineer and Bosun are the real professionals who you trust to keep you safe because they go around cleaning up after the guy? What if the Captain is the one who just happened to hire well?


More importantly, what if there were a blog or a site where people could post truthful stories about unprofessional captains for the purpose of warning others away from working for them? If they could post the truth in a professional way without fear of being blackballed in the industry, it would take the guesswork out of the interview process for someone who just wants to work hard and have fun. Maybe it would even weed some of these jerks out of the industry and give others the raise they deserve. It would shine a light on some of the shady stuff that goes on. Shady stuff where almost always, the crew member is the one who gets the shaft because the "Captain is always right." I'm all for this industry getting out of the nineteenth century and captains (and crew) being held to appropriate standards like other industries. (For corporate America, the site is called Glassdoor.com- employees can post information for people in the interview process about what it's REALLY like to work there. All without using names.)  That's the reason all these "pussies" are posting anonymously: whether or not he's a lazy, alcoholic loser with and 8th grade education and an inferiority complex, he still does all the hiring. 


Henning
Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2010 3:08 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Anonymous wrote:

2. Um, what if he's the one who puts you in dangerous situations because he's such an eeejit? What if the First Mate, Chief Engineer and Bosun are the real professionals who you trust to keep you safe because they go around cleaning up after the guy? What if the Captain is the one who just happened to hire well?



That can be a real problem, however if you know your stuff, that's something you can typically figure out during the interview. Lot's of little telltales around. As you walk up to the boat, look closely along the hull for blends in the paint at dock level LOL. Another thing, rarely will you find an idjit captain that has a professional crew. They typically do the hiring and the old "birds of a feather" adage holds true. There is also the factor that an idjit captain isn't likely to hire a strong mate as it would be providing a threat to his job. A strong captain is never worried about their job and is constantly training their replacement. A strong captain always has a job available. As you are shown around the boat, note the demeanor of the rest of the crew going about their work. Are people smiling? Do they appear to be effective at achieving what they are trying to achieve? Do they look like they are putting forth a real effort or do they seem to be drudging along? All these factors are signals of the crews' respect for the captain and indicative of how (s)he runs the vessel.

I agree it would be good to have a website like "the glass door", but as of yet, we don't so it is up to you as an individual to figure it out on scant evidence. Desmond Moore wrote a very excellent book decades ago that can help you along these lines, it's titled "The Naked Ape" and can give you many insights into people.

Henning
Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2010 3:25 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Anonymous wrote:
Many ways lead to Rome, why not take the best one instead of criss crossing the backroads? Faster, safer and more focused!


One thing to consider is that the back roads provide experiences that the super highways do not, and in the end, it is experience that we draw on to make our decisions in new and threatening situations. Formal education is one of the experiences we all draw on, even hawsepipers get formal education. What the hawsepiper gets that the school doesn't provide is those moments on the back road where things are going wrong fast and they are there with someone who has been there before and made mistakes to show and teach them why that line of action is a mistake and a better way to get out of the bind, or even better, how to recognize the bind while it is still on the horizon and avoid getting into it in the first place. That's why when you graduate from a Merchant Marine Academy, you have done a couple of cruises as a midshipman/intern in that 4 years and you come out with a Third Mates ticket, not a Masters. The USCG will endorse that ticket as a 500grt Master without further testing, but only if you have the sea time to qualify for that license.

Anonymous
Posted: Friday, April 16, 2010 6:12 PM

This has been a very interesting discussion and alot of folks bring up some very good points. I am currently a captain and I am sure that some of my past crew may think that I was not a good one- mostly for reasons having nothing to do with yachting. However, perspective is amazing. I am always first and foremost about safety and being  responsible (perhaps that is why my boss has me fully in charge of their 5 mill investment), yes I am on a smaller boat but worked a good bit of my career on big boats. As captan or first officer some of my crew members thought I was being irrational when I said they had to let me know if there girlfriend or boyfriend was on the boat, even for a quick visit. Shame on me! And yes, they had to let me know if they would be staying off of the boat. We do not hold a watch schedule (tough to do on smaller boats) and I try to give my crew time away from the boat as much as possible. I think its important to have balance.

However, when I tell them to do something, I expect it to be done. If I am away from the boat and leave a list, it should be completed. And if they do something completely stupid, I don't scream in front of people (sometimes a huge challenge in itself) but you can bet they will hear about it later. And I have seen just as many drunk crew as they have seen drunk captains.

This is a bit of an ego driven industry, and I don't just mean the captains. I have some very big tickets, but I get deckies with barely 10 hours of sea time trying to be flash and show how great they are. Seriously. We can all learn from each other and teach to each other. This is a profession. Treat it as such.


Jolea
Posted: Friday, October 15, 2010 6:42 PM
Joined: 26/08/2008
Posts: 4


So many valid points here. It's nice to hear that we all have had these ups and downs and the different ways everyone overcomes the hardships. Keep up the good work y'all! It's worth it in the end!

Anonymous
Posted: Monday, October 18, 2010 7:27 PM
Well I worked for a Capt on a 40m and when I went for the interview he seemed very relaxed, cool and he said we drink we smoke we have fun, its not too much hard work, owners are nice etc... sounded great! he said 'give you a month trial make sure you like us first' the first week was great I had a ball of a time, crew were awsome but i did notice that they all drank way too much and the capt seemed to have outbursts for some reason espicially when drunk, cut a long story short one night of the seccond week i was on there there was a huge huge argument and it was ridiculous, i mean insane, not normal is a good work for it! and lets just say that morning i was packed and litterly running down the quay!

Anonymous
Posted: Monday, February 14, 2011 2:45 PM
What a good debate but we seem to have lost momentum. It’s good to see the Captains giving their perspective on the Crew issues. It is quite interesting that Margitdvs post is very relevant, out of 5 pages. There is a place for anonymous posts if kept within the Forum guidelines but unfortunately some use it in an unprofessional manner. Thanks to the Professional Captains with broad enough shoulders to post and are not Anonymous. My opinion is the majority of crew respect your position as Captain, but your respect as a person/leader needs to “be earned “ and you need to lead by example. Professional Captains/Leaders do not use derogatory references to crew or their positions, they respect them their afforded title, they are not Newbie’s, underlings , floosies etc , They don’t answer “ Boo Hoo “, “very sad” to other people’s opinions. Professional Captains do not on public forums demean other Captains from different sectors of the marine industry and other countries certifying authorities. And if you can’t follow simple rules ( forum guidelines) , how do you expect crew to respect your position, you or your opinions . Your style of writing is like a fingerprint and does not take much to work out who you are. Remember it is a public forum. Great for crew as they can work out who to avoid working for, Good for owners, they can work out what Captains to avoid employing. Professional Captains that have worked their way up to their positions .do not need to post on these forums in order to Justify their positions within our Industry ,”by demeaning everyone else”. When they do post it is normally professional concise and constructive. There is good and bad Captains from all sectors of the Marine industry. We can learn from each others expertise within the white fleet. “ Ex Merchant ,Navy, Commercial, Yachtsman( sail), Hobby sailors, Owner Skippers, etc. The Super/mega yacht Pleasure/Commercial sector is growing but still in its infancy and a very small proportion of the White fleets vessels. They are also normally privately owned and offset the cost of their hobby/ status symbol by chartering . You Captains are supposed to be the Elite of our Industry , please act that way. Food for Thought
Anonymous
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 2:25 PM
I'm not even sure where to begin with the stories of one captain I worked for. Rumor has it he was cheap, so the owner kept him around. One time we had the owners onboard in Baltimore and set off for a cruise for a few days, can't remember exactly where but we found a nice little spot and anchored for lunch with 4 feet of water under the hull, this is a 124ft yacht. The captain being oblivious to anything other than his own desires, saw that on the radar a localized squall was heading straight for us. So instead of making sure everything was good with our anchorage decided that this approaching storm was a perfect chance to windsurf!! Can you imagine what happens next?? We drag anchor into less than a foot of water, within 10 feet of the shoreline, can't start the engines and have the owner in the bridge in as much of a panic as I've ever seen any owner. Somehow we got ourselves out of it while Captain Bligh made his way back to the yacht.

This was a few years ago and since then the yacht developed a reputation for turning over crew, everyone I meet seemed to know someone or had a story about the boat. To end it all, I heard the skipper got the sack for arriving to collect charter guests at the dock in St Bart's wearing nothing but his speedos!!! can you guess that he was eastern european and the big handlebar mustache just topped it all off. I haven't been able to stop laughing since.

Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, July 2, 2011 7:58 PM
I don't mind captain/crew-bonking but I have an adversion to captains who do not direct or inspire.

Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, July 3, 2011 3:32 AM
Sir William Bligh became a vice admiral, fought with Nelson at Copenhagen and at the battle of Camperdown he thoroughly thrashed a Dutch 3 ship flotilla with his ship HMS Director. He was chided for being too lenient on his crew, preferring the tongue before the lash. His epic voyage in a skiff from Tahiti to Timor armed with a pocket watch and a spyglass is us unrivalled. He was the only officer onboard the Bounty. Fletcher Christian was a civillian masters mate. The real villain is the mate. Sadly people now believe the perverted Hollywood tale. I'd rather have V.Adm Sir.W. Bligh any day and twice on Sunday before Capt. Perfect.

Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, July 3, 2011 1:49 PM
Please define 'Captain'. If you go to Florida, any fool with a 6 pax license insists on having the prefix of captain permanently attached to their name whether they have a vessel to drive or not, and in most cases it is a dinghy (ie no cabin). Personally I prefer skipper as it has a more yachtie tone and think of captains as those who have earned their master mariner license.

Henning
Posted: Friday, October 14, 2011 9:03 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Anonymous wrote:
Please define 'Captain'. If you go to Florida, any fool with a 6 pax license insists on having the prefix of captain permanently attached to their name whether they have a vessel to drive or not, and in most cases it is a dinghy (ie no cabin). Personally I prefer skipper as it has a more yachtie tone and think of captains as those who have earned their master mariner license.


Simple really, "Captain" is the person who assumes responsibility for the boat, crew and it's contents. You can be captain with no paperwork really.

As far as title of Captain as a prefix to ones name, ehhh. I have never introduced myself as Captain Henning, nor do I ever request or require anyone to use that title. IMO, other people call you captain, but you don't refer to yourself a "captain" in other than official communications. Even the I put my name and indicate "master". Other people refer to me as captain, but I don't myself. Even crew over using it kind of irks me a bit, I have a name...

As for skipper, you need to be a bit careful with that because that is considered to be a derisive title in some sectors of the maritime culture. There are people you will offend greatly calling them that because that is the term they use for the "fools with a six pack license" and completely unlicensed "weekend warrior" owner operators. So Unless I heard someones crew address the master as "Skipper" in a congenial way, I would refrain from using that title, especially in yachting where people come from all backgrounds. Personally I don't care what people call me so long as the job gets done and we all have a good time.

John Doe
Posted: Saturday, October 15, 2011 5:52 AM
Joined: 13/10/2008
Posts: 68


Skipper also has a respective tone in Eastern Canada when addressing experienced offshore fishing Captains. They prefer you use their name, but if you used a title in would be Skipper......but spoken with respect. Just about every one of them has lost a family member to the sea and knows more about seamanship and meteorology than any Yacht or Commercial sailor I have ever met.
Henning
Posted: Sunday, October 16, 2011 10:02 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


John Doe wrote:
Skipper also has a respective tone in Eastern Canada when addressing experienced offshore fishing Captains. They prefer you use their name, but if you used a title in would be Skipper......but spoken with respect. Just about every one of them has lost a family member to the sea and knows more about seamanship and meteorology than any Yacht or Commercial sailor I have ever met.


Right, I'm just saying make sure what company you are in before using it because it can go both ways and it's a faux pax that's easy enough to avoid.

Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 4:17 AM
'Predominantly stews'. You see this comment right here, is what makes you not get any respect from us stews. Ok, so we don't need to spend 10's of thousands on courses to earn our stripes but we do however put in the TIME! Im not gonna sit here and start explaining how much we do as I am sure you're not ignorant enough to not know how much we actually DO DO on board. I dont understand where your lack of respect for us female crew members go? I dont undersstand your need to treat people the way that some of you captains do? Honeslty ive worked for the worst and I mean the worst there is out there. Its a shame ive been doing this 6 years and have built up lovely relationships with many crew members and owners and have such fond memories of previous boats. However my experience with Ok, not all, but most of the Captains I have worked under has left me sitting here, having just left a boat yesterday, thinking can i emotionally put myself through this anymore. I have tired myself of ever finding a Captain that I honestly have enough respect for that i can feel proud to work as his Chief Stewardess. I dont know if ive been unlucky or whether we just clash but there seems to be a very large amount of captains that have got something to prove instead of doing a job they should be proud of and take massive pride in they seem to want to give people a dogs life. I have a lot of friends who work for lovely lovely Captains and I have also been very fortunate in having Worked for One yes ONE myself. Please Captains before you scare another hard working Chief Stewardess out the industry, Just have a look at yourself have a think Can you honestly say your being the best person you can be for both the crew and the yachts benefit. its not a bad life now isit? So when you see your Chief Stewardess tomorrow just let her know she's appreciated even make her a cup of tea for once I will however continue looking for the PERFECT captain to work under
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:52 PM
Lot of bad one there with low knowledge ! Wife of those Captain are of them onboard and they become Miss Admiral . By law they shouldn't be onboard because they interfere with their work and create problem . I often work on M/Y and wife create always disturbance.
Henning
Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012 5:39 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Anonymous wrote:
'Predominantly stews'. You see this comment right here, is what makes you not get any respect from us stews. Ok, so we don't need to spend 10's of thousands on courses to earn our stripes....


Neither does a US captain. Every 5 years it costs me less than couple hundred dollars to renew my license, mariners document, and STCW certificate. If I am upgrading there is another around $100 for testing an evaluation. The MOST I ever paid the USCG was $190. My entire STCW package including GMDSS, Lifeboat, ARPA, BRM, and Basic was $175.

Most of the guys who are problems are so because they did pay the money to get the tickets (While the USCG doesn't require classes for the license, they do require considerably documented sea time than the RYA/MCA system) and now realize they are in way over their heads with regards to seamanship and it stresses them out and they take it out on their subordinates.

efixth
Posted: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 5:46 PM
Joined: 28/08/2012
Posts: 1


Hello from Greece ( where things are pretty much the same :p ) Having worked as a stewardess for the past six years and miraculasly still lovin it i have come to the same realization as most of you already have said .... No person skills - No future in the yachiting industry and that sadly or not will always be our achilles heel. Thoung i feel the need to confess that i thought things were different in abroad with the hierarcy, meaning the behavior of the officers towards us. I think that no one can object to the fact that the responsibillities of an officer next to those of steward are by far more significant and no one, not at leat deliberately wants to show any luck of respect to the person that holds the vessels, and anything in it, integrity in their hands. But we can all agree that not all captains are capable of pure and immaculate proffesianalism, the enviroment it self makes them want to impose to others when ofcourse the ways to do that vary for eveyone when its not the most natural thing to get along with everyone even when your middle name is diplomacy. To sum up i think its needless to say that an experienced and above all peoples person captain can tell who is for the long run and who is just making a pit stop on the industry and help them get through it with dignity, if they remove their gallons afterall they are just persons like the rest of us. And now for the actual answer on the topic :p In general i have worked with strict but fair captains. Some had the tendancy to make their voice heard in a quite uncomfortable way but in overall we got along just fine. What i do mind though and have experienced it is the tendancy of a particular Capt. to show off our work as his brilliant ideas and his mercenary ways were ofcourse we would get to see a quite small amount of any bonus that went by him fisrt.
CaptCrosthwaite
Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 11:51 AM
Joined: 09/08/2010
Posts: 1


Interesting posts! Regarding, Master or Captain? I was told years ago that if you are qualified to be so, then your profession is a "Ships Master" and if you are signed onto a vessel, then you are the "Captain of the .......". Seems to work for me!
BandB
Posted: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 4:58 PM
Joined: 15/12/2013
Posts: 38


Anonymous wrote:
Ok, I am a captain and read the article........ Boo Hoo, to predominately the stews.... One thing that seems to be forgotten is the fact that a captain has more than likely worked his way up from being a deckhand and spent a lot of time and money qualifying to be in the position. Unlike a stew (and good luck to them I say) who's entry level is pretty damn easy, just get an STCW and away you go. Hell, this gripe is the same as an article grouching about the CEO of a company and one of the underlings does not like the fact that the CEO does things his way. Remember one thing, captains are mostly in this for the long haul, not a 2 year sabbatical to make some money and then move on to a land based job.
Will you please send me your name so I'll know not to ever consider hiring you. It's your sort of condescending attitude that gives captains a bad name. Underlings:? Did you really write that? Easy as hell? Look, I've been a CEO of small and large companies and I've never used such a condescending tone toward any employees. I respect those at entry levels and even the lowest levels. I respected the janitors and maids for the office. One maid in particular who cleaned rooms in a hotel by day and our offices at night to take care of her two children. I see those working so hard to survive when I have it so easy. If one of my captains ever displayed the attitude you have, they would be terminated immediately.

BandB
Posted: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 5:10 PM
Joined: 15/12/2013
Posts: 38


Anonymous wrote:
Sounds like you feel intimidated by commercially trained masters. You know they are better trained and vastly superior seamen/women,not merely a bunch of over sexed ,overpaid chancers who would be laughed off the bridge of any commercial vessel. People skills,dont make me laugh,I sailed with some of the biggest bas---- that ever walked the earth but was happy to sail with them because they knew how to handle a ship in a force 10. I always called the master 'Captain ' or 'Sir' even the alcoholic ones. Most especially the alcoholics because they were less aloof and more 'one of the boys/girls. The bigger the ba----- the boss is uually means he's good at his job.Not rocket science e'h, tell that to the scores of sailors who spent a lifetime at sea and never even got on the bridge never mind reaching command.  I'm intrigued the comments posted here. Ex Commercial Master. 
What arrogance. One method of training isn't better than another just because you say so. There are good and bad in all. And those good for specific jobs. Operating a 100' yacht is far different than a 500' commercial vessel. And the training may prepare you for aspects of it and leave yu totally unprepared for others. I respect commercial captains but not when they disrespect others. Welcome to the real world is what I'd say to many of them. A world where asking gets you further than ordering. A world where people skills are as important as technical skills. 

BandB
Posted: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 5:33 PM
Joined: 15/12/2013
Posts: 38


OWNERS

Yes, owners need to take responsibility. Owners and charter management companies. Responsibility to choose captains who are skilled at the technical aspects of their jobs and have people skills. Responsibility for setting policies and guidelines. For setting standards Captains and Crew are expected to meet. I will say this too that alcohol plays a big role in many of the problems. Owners need to set policies there too. Now I know owners of businesses who do a lousy job too. They only care bottom line and they have management that ignores rules of common decency. As an owner, I want a well run boat, but I also want a happy congenial one. I spend a lot of time on one and a couple of points. First and foremost all the crew are employees of mine. I have a responsibility to them. The way the boat is run is a reflection on my wife and me. Second, I live a great part of my life on the boat. The crew is among my friends. Yes, employees and friends. I respect all the crew from top to bottom. I get to know them. And I also don't allow things I wouldn't in any business. No drinking on the job. No operating the boat with a hangover. No sexual harassment. Respect at all levels and that means the stews and deckhands show the Captains respect. It means no employees are rude to other employees in front of others. If they have problems they work them out privately. It also means I have an open door policy and my door is open. 

Also, owners should make expectations reasonable. Good business practices. Seeing all these captain and crew problems shows many owners aren't doing their jobs. Many yacht charter companies aren't doing theirs. 14 and 16 hour days aren't reasonable. 7 days a week isn't reasonable. The industry has issues there. Understaffing boats is a big issue. Then expecting too much. The Captain who spends the day at the helm but then finds himself spending the night working in the engine room will be tired. The Stew who spends the day serving and cleaning and is still expected to serve dessert or drinks at 11:00 pm will be tired. If owners want them run as five star hotels, staff them that way then. I prefer more casual and easy going. I do actually still know how to go to the galley and get dessert out of the refrigerator and make myself a drink. 

But if there are issues in the industry, it goes all the way to the top and that is a step above the Captains even. 


Gabriel Poirier
Posted: Friday, January 3, 2014 1:42 AM
Joined: 21/05/2008
Posts: 20


There is many good captain and not so good one. I think that the reason why the " not  so good "stay in place is because of all the anonymous crew.

Stand up. What are you afraid of? 

I did work with " not so good" captain. I quitted.

Yes, it is not easy and I lost a lot of $. Because of that, now, I got a decent reputation and a very good job.

Nevertheless, with every good or bad situation, you need to learn something out of it. The lack of interview skills, from the crew part is obvious. You need to learn how to listen, to look and put everything together to find the best job for you. Ask around, do not take the first job offer. Ask why the position is open,  how long the previous crew stay, ....

If every crew become better at interviewing the captain, the " not so good" will not find crew so easily and the "boss" will start asking question to the captain.

You are responsible for your " yes, I take the job".

Gabriel Poirier

 


Meika
Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 1:10 AM
Joined: 28/03/2014
Posts: 1


Hi All, I am new to the industry and looking for my first boat to gain initial experience and progress towards paid crewing work. When I started reading the posts I was hoping there might be some practical points to consider what to look for when joining a boat? Can the experienced Crew and Captains/Masters please provide tips so I can learn how to navigate the issues discussed within this difficult topic and how to choose a boat (especially if I am trying to gain my first experience - which needs to be with a skilled/safe captain/master and I can learn as much as I can to progress to paid work). I want to learn good yachting techniques, not bad ones. I have sailed skiffs competitively for over 10 years and it is now time to transition my skills to yachting with a view to explore the feasibility of a career in the industry. Thanks for your assistance to help facilitate the beginnings of a good crew.
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014 2:39 PM

If you're feeling apprehensive about working with difficult personalities and you haven't even gotten started yet, your best bet is to choose a different line of work. Yachting has nothing to do with small boat racing, and if you want to work for someone who values your racing skills then stick with that. This industry is entirely about high level service. And the people who succeed at breaking into the industry aren't asking how to find a captain who suits their attitude. They're the ones posting every week about what stew or deck courses they need to take and who's going to be in Antibes in June and what not. They are asking how to frame their skills in a way that makes them appealing candidates for a new industry. They definitely aren't taking it for granted that they'll find a great job, let alone work for a good captain off the bat.

If you're serious about finding a job on a yacht then stop worrying about your hypothetical future captain's attitude. Visit some of the many forums for new yacht crew and get some logistical questions answered- what courses to take, what visas you need, where to plan to travel to and where you'll stay when you get there. 

I know this all might sound condescending but trust me, I spent way too much time in the beginning of my career worrying about whether my captain was good or bad, and way too little time asking what I could do to be the best crew. I wish someone had said this to me when I got started. And everyone who's worked for a lousy captain knows that the last thing they need on board is a green crew who can't take the heat. 

When you've been around the block a few times, you can come back to the captain Bligh forum and gripe about your jerk of a captain.


Anonymous
Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 11:40 AM
Captain humiliates the crew. What to do? Is there any organization where I can complain on?
 
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