The BOAT International Captains’ Club welcomes more than 160 superyacht captains in its ranks. The idea behind the club is to help facilitate contact and the exchange of information and experiences for superyacht captains. This issue’s Q&A features Capt. Steven Pridgeon on a 52-meter Feadship as he shares his cruising tips, his yachting family history, plus his top crew issue and tips for captains.
How did you end up becoming a captain/getting into yachting?
My father was a yacht captain and was the main influence in me joining the yachting industry at a young age. I was considering the cruise ship industry when he convinced me to give yachting a chance. Once I joined my first boat, a 92-foot Cheoy Lee based in The Bahamas, I was hooked. Here I am 24 years later and still loving life on the ocean.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a captain?
If I had to choose another profession, I would most likely be a private aircraft pilot. The lifestyle is similar to a yacht captain and would still fulfill my love of travel.
Where is your favorite destination for cruising?
Traveling on board Amanti for the past 11 years, we have been to quite a few destinations, but I would have to say French Polynesia. The diving and fishing is incredible and it has some of the most picturesque anchorages you can find from the Society Islands to the Tuamotus and the Marquesas.
Where is still on your yachting bucket list?
Alaska, Patagonia, and Antarctica are a few I can think of. The Northwest Passage would be incredible, too.
Where is your top spot for snorkeling/diving?
I do enjoy diving in The Bahamas, especially around San Salvador and Rum Cay. The clarity of the water is phenomenal with an abundance of sea life, sharks, walls, coral heads, and reefs. Some islands in the Caribbean are good, but of course South Pacific is next level.
If marooned, which crewmember would you want with you?
It would be the head chef, who happens to be my wife. Although she doesn’t work on board with me anymore, I would choose her in a heartbeat. We work well together as a team, and her food is outstanding, so I know I won’t starve.
What has been your most memorable moment on board?
Many years ago, I was on bridge watch as we were passing Cape Canaveral around 3 a.m., when NASA launched a rocket into space. It was a clear and starry night with the ocean calm as can be, and you could see the flames of the rocket as the second stage blew off the primary rocket. It was an unbelievable sight and just random luck we were passing offshore at that exact time. SpaceX wasn’t around those days, so the debris just fell back to Earth into the ocean. Luckily not on top of us!
Biggest crew challenge you deal with as captain?
Due to COVID, the past two years have been difficult to find and retain good crew. It seems to be improving now that we are slowly heading out of the pandemic and restrictions are being lifted worldwide.
What is your one top tip for other captains?
Challenge yourself and don’t be complacent, learn as much about the boat and your crew as possible, and push yourself to gain more knowledge. I recently completed the Master Unlimited Tonnage, and it was a great accomplishment and learning experience, one that I am most proud of.
This article was originally featured in the September 2022 issue of Dockwalk.
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