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Captain taking parents for a free ride

Discussion in 'Yacht Captains' started by yachtttty, Jan 19, 2008.

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  1. yachtttty

    yachtttty New Member

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    I actually have a friend who did this: How many of us think it is right for a captain to take his parents on a ten day cruise, without the owner's knowledge? Specifically, the vessel is being transported to the Carribean to hopefully pick up some charter business, and the captain allows his parents to come along, sleep in one of the several vip cabins, and even stay on board for several more days once the destination is reached. Sounds like theft to me--am I wrong? The particular owner stated quite clearly upon retaining the captain that no unauthorized persons would be allowed aboard, and such was even included in the employment contract. I would love to hear everyone's thoughts about this situation, and how the owners you know would deal with it.
  2. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Soliciting responses based on a hypothetical situation is one thing, but posing as as someone seeking advice for a friend, when in all probability you're compiling information to build a case against this captain, is misleading. Frankly, it borders on fraud and we take a zero-tolerance approach to this kind of clandestine conduct. Moreover, the collective knowledge of our members and this website is NOT a place for entities unrelated to our industry to tap into.

    Your duplicate post has been deleted. I'll let this thread remain, but with a head's up to our captains who may choose to respond.
  3. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    I was wondering why any one would feel so strongly against some one trying to spend some time with there family.....
    Not like we go home every night and spend our holidays and what not with our loved ones...
  4. RVN-BR

    RVN-BR Senior Member

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    I agree with both replies, but it is still very wrong to do what the supposed captain in post 1 did....

    As a yacht owner I would feel extremely annoyed and cheated had the above happened to me. If I expressed my wishes to not have anyone onboard, it doesn't matter how long the captain hasnt seen his folks, if he's on the job, he must follow what is laid down.

    I personally would most probably allow the captain to take his parents, or to meet them at the destination and have a few days off with them (even fly them there if the captain is going to be away for a long time), but unauthorized behaviour SHOULD be punished...

    I'm sorry, but a yacht isnt a play-job. it requires a LOT of serious dedication and it requires someone that is very strict. Bending of the rules, and right-out disobediance of something laid down by the owners is ridiculous, and it speaks badly of all captains...

    It is as if you allow your parents to stay for free at the hotel you work, even though the manager/owner wouldnt aprove... isnt that borderline stealing?
  5. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Yes, you can compare a yacht for charter with a hotel. And you can say that when the hotel was closed, the manager allowed his parents to stay there. Well, not exactly stealing..?

    In this case, either the owner like to keep the captain and then tell him to not repeat this behavior. Or the owner want to replace him and can claim he breached the contract. I guess the parents were eating with the crew and caused no big expenses. Otherwise, the owner may withhold the costs incurred.

    I know this happens sometimes, (bringing family), but I think the owners use to be aware of and allowing it in those cases.
  6. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    2 sides to every story

    I am sure yachtty, in his first and only post on this forum, may not filled in all the blanks in this situation. Here is my take on things:

    The owner should always be informed as to who is onboard his yacht at all times. Period. Amen.

    What Yachtty describes as a "cruise" sounds more like a delivery to me. He did say the vessel was being re-positioned to the Caribbean for charter work. It is conceivable that the captain viewed having family members aboard as delivery crew, and they stayed on a few days after arrival. None of this is egregious in my view, though the captain should have informed the owner.

    Yachtty, as Carl posted, it seems quite suspect that you registered to post on these forums seemingly just for this purpose. Do you have anything more that you would like to add about the scenario? Any bits that have been left out?
  7. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Maybe Yachtty has an axe to grind because he/she was not allowed to take their partner along for the trip.

    It is different to a certain extent with each and every owner. I have worked for some who were very happy to have senior crew members family onboard for a delivery and others who would want to know what rate they were paying. It takes all types.

    If the Captain chooses to do something strictly against the Owners wishes then it will be his head that roles if he is caught out.

    You might also find out that the Captains Contract differs markedly from that of other crew on board in the benefits he receives and the things he is permitted to do and not do.
  8. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Nope. Yachttty is an attorney and he sent me an e-mail indicating he was the owner of the boat, so once he again he wasn't honest about the situation.

    Just realized I said honest and attorney in the same sentence.
  9. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    When we had a captain, his niece and nephews were allowed aboard with his sister and brother-in-law on a limited basis - usually when delivering north or south for the season or brief cruises of a few hours or so. Provided the boat was not in use for business purposes (sending customers out on fishing trips or cruises as marketing) or was not supposed to be anywhere else, we viewed it as good employee relations. Carl was happy, the boat was maintained and exercised, and Carl always made sure it was kept in proper order.

    The key is limited basis, and with our knowledge. Since we didn't charter (and it seems your boat was not currently in the charter business) it wasn't theft in our eyes. Parents on the boat during a delivery? What costs could possibly have been incurred to make a big deal of it?

    The only concern I'd have is whether or not this would fall under charter use for insurance purposes. Liability could be the only issue I'd really be concerned with.

    Then again, my upbringing was not to be a nasty, litigious person.
  10. yachtttty

    yachtttty New Member

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    Let me be clear. For whatever reason, the administrator of this site immediately assumed that since I am an attorney, i was trying to dredge up a lawsuit, which is not what I'm trying to do. I indeed am an attorney, but I am also an owner of several yachts. I posted because I am legitimately trying to get industry standard information. My yacht cost me in excess of eight million dollars. I hired a captain and entrusted him with my boat. He was to move it down to the Carribean for my use and perhaps for charter work. When he was hired, he was instructed by me and my assistant that no unauthorized individuals were to be aboard. I had previously had problems with my other yacht where my captain had his children aboard while I was present and when I wasn't, without asking permission or even informing me. So, I found out that on the trip to the carribean, and for several days there, my captain had his parents aboard. I never knew about this, and was never asked if it was ok. My chef fed these folks daily. Now, this may be industry standard, or it may not be. I am not in the industry. I don't think so, and the reason for this post was to make sure my gut is right.
  11. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    I am not all that sure you are going to find an industry "Standard".

    Every program is different, based on the desires and demeanor of the owner.

    It sounds as if you were very clear about your expectations with your captain, and those expectations were violated. You have two choices: Find another captain, or have a serious and frank discussion with the current captain, letting him know that you have made your expectations clear, and that another infraction will result in termination of his employment.

    If you decide to keep the current captain, you are going to have to "trust, but verify". Which, I guess you must do with any individual you are giving responsibility for a major asset.

    If you are going to fire your captain for this transgression, don't say that he violated an industry standard, and all these nice people here on this internet forum agreed with "your gut". Instead, just say that he violated your work rules. Plain and simple.
  12. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    Why not authorize an occasional goodwill visit, enjoy a better working relationship with your employees, and stop trying to create the most hostile work environment possible? It sounds like this is more a CONTROL issue than a TRUST issue for you.
  13. Kevin

    Kevin YF Moderator

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    Stating your case honestly in your first post could have avoided all assumptions.
  14. A really good captain is as hard to find as a really good yacht. A really good captain-owner relationship is even harder to find.
    It sounds like the captain failed the owner's trust, and the the owner made the captain feel he could not even ask permission, not for friends, but for the most important people in his life.
  15. Garry Hartshorn

    Garry Hartshorn Senior Member

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    There are a lot of if's and's and but's in this story. However speaking as a captain I believe it is the captains duty to operate the vessel with which he is charged in acordance with the owners wishes as closely as possible. Having said that an owner needs to be flexible and understanding if he wishes to keep a good and stable crew that will do what ever it takes to look after the yacht and guests.

    One has to remember that an experianced captain and other senior crewmembers have spent years away from friends and family in the persuit of his or her career which can and does put a strain on one's personal life. While I do not condone the actions of the captain mentioned I do understand. I also think if the owner wishes to be a hard ass then in the end he will have a crew who do not really care about the boat or the guests and will only do the minimum to stay employed.
  16. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    I have to say that I feel this captain was in the wrong. I say this because the yacht owner says he had a bad experience in the past, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt in that he made his rules clear to the captain. While I probably wouldn't accept a job with these strict rules in place, the captain did. Therefore, it seems as if he may have been deceptive in his practices.

    Now for my advice... re-think this rule. It isn't uncommon for crew to be allowed to bring family or a spouse (or significant other) as an extra hand on such deliveries. I've even been allowed to have family members in guest cabins during down times when they were nothing other than guests.
  17. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    I feel that the captain needs to follow the guides or rules set forth by the owner. I have had owners (on smaller boats) that allowed for guests to cruise with me (not as deckhands), but at my expense. They would also let me use the vessel and stay aboard which also helps keep an eye on things.
    I'm sure the owner who is a lawyer may be more concerned with the liability aspects (and insurance coverage) in case someone is injured or worse while aboard his vessel. Imagine being the captain, and your parent or loved one gets critically injured in an accidient while aboard and you have no coverage because the insurance company will not pay because you were not authorized to carry anyone? Owners have a lot more $$$ to fight than the captain usually does, better to follow the rules (or get off at the next port).
  18. Mike448

    Mike448 Member

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    We were recently stuck in a Florida shipyard for a couple of months, and as I was not able to take my scheduled vacation home, I decided to fly my mother out to visit. The plan was to put her up in a hotel. However, as I was working all day and needed to balance time at work with spending time with her, I asked the owner if he would object to her staying aboard for 10 days. He was more than happy to allow her to stay. This was the first time in 12 years that I have ever had anyone stay with me aboard a yacht. It went very well and the crew were happy as she helped with the cooking as our chef was away.

    So the point being: I believe that if you go about it the right way, the owner is happy and it does not impact the crew, then a family visit once in a while cannot hurt. The captains sacrifice a huge amount of their personal lives for "the company", so a little give and take now or then can't hurt.
  19. Argosy

    Argosy New Member

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    This has all been an interesting discussion, but I still can't get over the deceitfulness of the owner in his initial posting. The fact that he didn't just come out and say "Hey, I'm an owner and I think my captain has wronged me, am I right?" Instead it's "I have a friend. . ." and "how many of us think it's right"... Also his comment that it "sounds like theft to me" shows his lack of understanding. It would be theft if it were something the owner would normally charge for, so is that what his problem is? If the captain had asked if he could bring his parents along would the owner have charged them charter rates? Lost revenue would have been the only real loss to the owner, other than a few bucks in groceries. Yes, even a few bucks is still theft, but the real issue is trust.

    And there I do agree that the captain apparently violated the owner's trust (and possibly his contract), but then we're only hearing one side of the story, and from someone who has not been truthful right off the bat. I'm still wondering what the owner's intent was in using this forum this way. If it was as he said, that the captain disobeyed explicit instructions and the provisions of his contract, did the owner really not know what to do? He certainly would have had grounds to fire the captain (and as a lawyer, of course he knew that), or if he was otherwise satisfied with the captain and actually wanted to keep him, then a good heart-to-heart would have been in order. But instead he comes here to get the opinions of his "peers". I dunno, I'm not trying to defend the captain, but this doesn't sound like an owner I'd want to work for!

    P.S. This is a great forum, and I appreciate the good job of moderating done by YachtForums Publisher to expose posts like this one. -Thanks!
  20. aeronautic1

    aeronautic1 Member

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    Morale, not morality

    On the one hand, I can see the owner's point. If it truly was discussed during the pre-employement interview and the captain elected to ignore the instructions of the owner, then the captain is at fault. Remember, who owns the boat and writes the checks. It's his boat.

    If the captain had full autonomy to hire and fire crew, then it was within his authority to purvey additional watchstanders for an extensive transit from Florida to the Caribbean. I have in fact hired my father and my brother to work for me, temporarily, for transits to the Panama Canal and to Guam. Of course, I had informed the owner of the addition and reason.

    What seems to me here was a either a disrespect for the owner's wishes or a complete breakdown in the owner/captain relationship. Communication, therefore, is paramount to affect a professional, and respected relationship.:cool:

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