How Crew Got into the Yachting Industry

1 December 2020 By Aileen Mack
Baby on yacht

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Associate Editor Aileen Mack joined Dockwalk in July 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. If she’s not at a concert or coffee shop, she is lost in a book, movie or a YouTube rabbit hole. Email Aileen at

No matter what the industry, longevity is a valuable asset, but especially in yachting. While not uncommon, it is still admirable and impressive to find out someone has remained with a program, owner, etc. for years because as echoed by many, the industry isn’t for everyone. Dockwalk Editor Lauren has been interviewing crew on our Instagram @dockwalk and chatting about their experiences, including how they got started. Here’s some of the beginnings of their yachting stories:

“I used to be at my grandmother’s house in Connecticut every summer since I was a kid. … When [my best friend and I] turned 16, we took a summer job just working on a little dinner boat ... for about four years in a row. ... When I came back [from college], I got an opportunity from a friend of mine to work on Gallant Lady and ... I stayed there for nine years.”

Capt. Pete Bronkie, M/Y Chasseur

“My best mate back in 2011 took a delivery from Cape Town to the Caribbean ... He was in the industry for about a year. I always talked to him about the industry and he told me everything about it basically. I learned a lot ... In 2012, I just decided to start with the beginner’s courses and get the necessary licenses, back to back, and just came over.”

Chief Officer Wikus Botes, M/Y Laurel

“I sought a summer job for washing boats at the [Hatteras Yachts] dealership that turned into about a four-year employment that just sort of morphed into me opening up a yacht management company in West Palm Beach. I ran that for eight/nine years, then I joined the
Dorothea program in Seattle in 2000, and I’ve been here ever since.”

Capt. John Crupi, M/Y Dorothea III

“I was 18 years old at the time, random conversation with my next-door neighbor who happened to be a captain, wife happened to be a chief stew. ... I asked about what’s it like and it turned out that being a captain was what I wanted to do... I was like, ‘I’m not going to go to university, I’m going to France....’ And thirteen years later, here we are.”

Chief Officer Jenny Matthews, founder of She of the Sea

To watch these interviews live, follow our Instagram @dockwalk to find out when we’ll go live next, and if you’re interested in being a guest, send an email to:

This column originally ran in the December 2020 issue of Dockwalk.

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