Crew Advice

Ask Captain Kelly: How Should I Deal With Guests That Cross the Line?

28 June 2022By Staff Report

Have 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 Freddy 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.

Our first Q&A deals with a situation that crew may be all too familiar with — dealing with guests who step over the line.

Q: Our last charter was a group of bankers from New York who were clearly up for a good weekend away, which as a crew we are all about. However, one of the guests grabbed my butt after a few too many drinks one night. In the heat of the moment, I just removed his hand and continued on like nothing happened. But what should I have done? What would your advice be in a situation like this? How do you deal with guests who step over the line?

This is a great question and I am dealing with a guest just like this as I write my response to you! So, let me tell you how my stew and I are handling the situation as he stares at her to the point of discomfort and has asked her go snorkeling with him in her bathing suit. Most importantly, she has made me aware of the situation and is in great communication with the interaction that she has with him.

With your specific instance, I would remove his hand, look at him directly, and firmly let him know that while you are here to assure that he has the ultimate vacation, his behavior is inappropriate and makes you uncomfortable. However, you are glad to get him what he needs.

Another approach — possibly in addition to your comment — would be to let the captain address him and let him know that his behavior isn’t appropriate and will not be tolerated, but again, that the crew are here to assure the best of time for them. This approach keeps the situation from escalating, doesn’t make him or you feel too awkward, and allows the vacation to carry on. But most definitely be sure that your captain knows and that one or both of you addresses him.

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

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