Crew Advice

Ask Captain Kelly: How Do I Quit My Job the Right Way?

9 August 2023 By Staff Report

IHave a tricky onboard situation you’d like an outsider’s perspective on? Have a burning career question? We can help!

Welcome to Dockwalk’s Ask Captain Kelly advice column, where we post your questions and get insight from a current captain, Capt. Kelly J. Gordon. Capt. Kelly currently works aboard M/Y Andiamo II but grew up in a small town in Indiana. Her path into yachting began in Beaufort, North Carolina, where she now claims as home base. She’s a former chemistry professor and loves to teach — while she takes pride in her ability as a motor yacht captain, she has a soft spot for young adults, especially those that come with questions.

This week‘s question focuses on leaving your job in a professional manner.

Q: I am looking to progress in my career and have been searching for ages for a new position. After months and months, I finally found the (seemingly) perfect job and I want to move on and accept it. But I want to leave my boat the right way and make sure I do things professionally. How do I go about quitting?

A: Great question! I was just in this situation. Leaving a boat is just as important, if not more important, than joining the boat. This is the captain/owner/manager’s last and most recent impression of you, so you want it to be as positive as possible as we all know it’s a small industry.

And, let me just say, it doesn’t always go as well as you may think, but sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised and management is happy for you. Let me use my recent departure from M/Y Freddyas an example. I had been with the boat for two years, had the best manager and charter manager in the industry (I might be a little biased, wink wink), great relationships, and knew it would be hard, but I received an offer that I couldn’t turn down.

I asked my manager to swing by the boat when he got a chance, asked him to have a seat, and said my last day will be XX day. He gulped, asked what my offer was, I explained, and he congratulated me with a huge smile and a big hug.

I was to the point and professional. Now, sometimes we’re leaving because the situation has deteriorated on board so badly that we must preserve our own well-being and leave. Recite what you’re going to say, think about it, know that you have done all that you can to better your current situation, and let the captain/manager/owner know that you will be leaving by XX date.

Let them know that you appreciate the opportunity, but you have decided to move on from their vessel. Offer to train the incoming crew and share what knowledge you have to help that person and the program succeed. And, let me say, you are grateful for the opportunity because you learned from it — good or bad, you learned a ton! And it is this situation that is propelling you forward to bigger and better things.

P.S. Two other crewmembers went with me at the same time and my manager still congratulated me and told me how proud of me he was.

If you want to get her advice, please email and you could see your questions and her answers featured here. All personal information will remain anonymous.

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Ask Captain Kelly: How Do I Handle Witnessing Racism?
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Ask Captain Kelly: How Should I Deal With Guests That Cross the Line?
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Ask Captain Kelly: Advice for Handling Crew Dating
Capt. Kelly Gordon: From Chemistry Professor to Superyacht Captain 


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