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Going rate for a Captain on a one year contract?

Discussion in 'Yacht Captains' started by Pelagic Dreams, Apr 24, 2011.

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  1. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Wow. What leads you to believe that just because the economy is bad, that the yachting industry is bad as well? I am absolutely literally swamped with work and business. I have also turned down 2 different 6 figure full time jobs since the beginning of the year alone, both for excellent owners on excellent boats. I have a half dozen really good Captain's that I turn deliveries and daily captaining over to that I cannot handle due to other commitments. Most of the time they are all, already busy and cannot take the job either. Captain's that are very good at what they do, have no shortage of work whatsoever right now and have not since 2009. There was a little lull here and there in 2009, but not a whole lot. The yachts are still all out there, they still need to be constantly maintained, and the vast majority of the ultra-wealthy are still ultra-wealthy.

    Also, being a Captain, let me re-phrase that, being a good Captain is no paid vacation by any means. There is a lot of work involved and a lot of long days and most of the time the only thing you see in each destination is the marina because you don't have the time to venture anywhere else. Yes, there are some perks over traditional office jobs, but it is far from a vacation. Not to mention you're on call 24/7, a lot of your weekends and holidays are away from your family working, and in a lot of cases you give up a lot in your personal life because of your job.
  2. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    Captains

    I just knew this would get peoples knickers in a twist.....NYC suggested 50 -60 K
    in his post.

    The specific trip in question and the owners potential schedule, makes this particular job a paid vacation, I would be surprised if he does not have a line up already of potential applicants.
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I see this as a good opportunity for a young, single (5th or 6th year) captain who is interested in a bit of adventure on a relaxed boat. I believe there is a good shot for them to find such a cap for that money. However, that would not be the salary for a seasoned, career minded professional nor someone with family responsibilities. As you said, "The specific trip in question and the owners potential schedule". There won't be a line of prospects though, just a good chance to find the right person. To say it is "a paid vacation" is insulting however, and says that you do not understand the job or responsibilities of a captain. Not unusual for a boat owner though. Owners often think our job is a cakewalk because we internalize our stress and concerns. That's our job. But, when the s--- hits the fan they will demand that we perform miracles and even lay down our lives to save them, and we will. I have many days where I almost feel guilty taking my pay, but they are matched by the days where there is not enough money in the world for what i'm going through. Just like any other profession. Look at a cop. They are so overpaid. All they do is sit their duffs or drive around. It's a "paid vacation". But how much is it worth to voluntarily go through having some psychotic or desperate person put a loaded gun in your face on Christmas Eve when the lawyers and insurance agent and financial planners are home with their families? And, if you were in a room with such a person, would you want anything less than a seasoned professional between you and him?
    This looks like a good job for the right person, but it will be no "paid vacation". And I can guarantee that it won't be anywhere near as sublime as the potential employer advertises, even if they truly believe what they are saying. For starters, think about your own boss. Now think about living in his home and being at his beck and call 24/7. Does that sound like a dream or a nightmare?
  4. Jorge Lang

    Jorge Lang Senior Member

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    While I am not a captain, I have met many of you. you live at the mercy of the owners and situations. I have seen you plan a two week vacation and then watch it go down the drain because a boat couldn't get on a ship to be delivered. You get fustrated when boats don't leave a haul out period on time and are about to miss a charter. I think it takes a special breed to do this. No home life, time away from family, hell, you can't even have a dog. Hat's off to all of you!!!
  5. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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  7. Pelagic Dreams

    Pelagic Dreams Senior Member

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    Good stuff, and I agree that it takes a special sort of person to take the responsibility for the safety of everyone on board. Your decisions will cast the fate of many others.....money does not compensate for that ability.

    I guess in our situation we are looking for a Captain as more of a "Teacher/Mentor" than someone to run the boat. We want to know everything we can learn.....plotting, anchor techniques, heavy weather, running an inlet....so eventually we can crew the boat ourselves. And, as we master the various tasks, we would want to take that over....yes, washing down the boat, waxing the hull, cleaning the bilge....just show us how and we are one it.

    We will not use the boat as a weekend cocktail party....we are done with jobs and want to enjoy the yacht as much of the year as possible, we would never expect to have a full time captain to work that kind of schedule. This is our life, not his. And, both our arms and legs work fine we would love to get him a drink.
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    That's the sense I got. That's why I said I think you can find the right captain for you at that price. I'd recommend networking more so than going through an agency.
  9. sagharborskip

    sagharborskip Senior Member

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    As there are a range of replies to your question so, too, will there be a range of captains and abilities and salary requirements out there.

    For one thing, you'll be able to tell a good captain right off the bat - he/she has had steady work all along the last few years. My wife and I manage 10 boats for steady clients who we've been with for up to 10 years and there's been absolutely no let up since 2008; we're busier than ever.

    I'd say the most difficult thing you are going to face is finding someone who is going to live on your boat w/ you in a very small, intimate setting that has the qualities and experience you're looking for in a personality that won't drive you crazy.

    These are VERY difficult qualities to combine in "live-aboard" situation and you can expect to pay a premium to someone who's actually worth his "salt" b/c of it.

    Do they smoke, drink, stay up too late, get up too early, eat too much, are they a Vegan, are they into "holistic" hygiene products (ie, don't use deodorant?) Are they political? Religious? Sound pretty trivial? How many of these things won't be trivial when you're sitting down for dinner night after night...

    Not to say you won't find a terrific person at a reasonable price, but don't be fooled that this is a "down market" for captains. Good captains have steady work and lots of options.

    Personally, I'd be looking for a younger person w/ no wife/girlfriend and no land attachments. Someone who sees the program as an opportunity to stretch his/her wings a bit. I'd be looking for someone with extensive boat background (lots of young 'ins out there who've been around boats/motorcycles since they were weaned) in various situations (yes, anchoring, inlets, overnight passages, yard periods).

    As far as familiarity w/ your anticipated cruising ground, I wouldn't make that a deal breaker - good captains can read charts, cruising guides, and aren't afraid of asking for local input when going somewhere new. That said, if you can find it all in one package I wouldn't be skimping on the dollars.

    The worst case scenario is to set the tone at the outset that your operating on a restrictive budget and that the captain's salary is item #1 in your "cost saving" program.

    You might consider a deferred, set bonus that would automatically kick in at a set time point giving both parties an incentive to work toward building a solid, mutually respectful and beneficial relationship.

    If you really are willing to do the scut work, get your hands dirty, be flexible about your crew's needs (they're people who have their own family obligations, holiday plans, emergencies, etc.), and offer a fair salary for what you want in return, you may find yourself with an excellent captain who you wind up keeping forever (or for longer than you'd planned!)

    Good luck!
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Well put. Or put another way, you have a ballpark number (although pretty wide). No find the right person for you, and then see what he'll cost.
  11. PropBet

    PropBet Senior Member

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    saghbrskp makes some very, very good points.
  12. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
    Remember, Tesla dug ditches for Edison. :D
  13. intheocean

    intheocean New Member

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    In today's economy, I think a qualified Captain would be more than happy with 50k.
  14. happyendings

    happyendings New Member

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    True True
  15. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Different day. All men rolled up their sleeves. Back then MBA stood for My Bach Aches.:)
    intheocean, I expect to make considerably more than that over the next 7 months and I'll sleep in my own bed 90% of the nights, as an independent captain. No, if they're going to get a good captain for 50 to 60K it will have to be a good fit. But if practice follows theory with them I think they might find a right captain from what they've written. Don't mistake that for what a captain gets generally. $1,000 a foot would be on the low end.
  16. aeronautic1

    aeronautic1 Member

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    Pelagic Dreams,

    If there is one thing I have observed in my 30 years in the industry, it is this: If you pay peanuts, you usually wind up with monkeys.

    Don't think that I am insinuating that you are looking for lowball in your post. But be wary of the individual who comes to you at 10-20% less than industry standard. There is a reason why they can be had on the cheap.

    Do throrough background check, including credit scores. . . I have seen a few clients who have been burned by past captains by not doing their due diligence. Think of your captain as the manager of a million dollar business, and you catch my drift.

    Training captains are not as common as you might think. It takes a special kind of personality. The majority are looking for something more than a few months investment. However, the few captains that specialize in owner orientation are obtainable, but at a premium.

    Don't equate experience for over-qualification. With decades before the mast and hundreds of thousands of sea miles under my keel, plus a masters in marine science, I like to think of myself as eminently qualified for the positions I apply for. Some of us happily exist in the 60-100 foot market and have no problem leaving the 150 footers to those with twisted steel and sex appeal.

    PM me and I'll link you to my web page so you can see the type of owner comments you should be looking for.

    Fair winds and calm anchorages...
  17. aeronautic1

    aeronautic1 Member

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    God bless you Jorge, and thank you!
  18. CaptJonathan

    CaptJonathan New Member

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    They will find some unemployed willing soul to do it for 50k and money will take over sense, followed by some mediocre at best captain telling them what to do. He will party every night and they will have a miserable time on the boat. He gets fired, they repeat 5 times and then finally decide to sell the boat. All because they will not pay up to the full and appropriate salary for what would be a lot of work for a properly qualified captain. I've seen it too many times.
  19. Pelagic Dreams

    Pelagic Dreams Senior Member

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    The point of starting thins thread is to find out what is the "full and appropriate salary" for a captain who is properly qualified. Why would you think we are not prepared to pay what ever it takes? The only difference is we need someone who has a broad range of qualifications he is willing to share. I say a year, it could be much more, but eventually, we will run the boat ourselves.

    So I ask you CaptJohathn, what is the appropriate salary?
  20. tirekicker11

    tirekicker11 Senior Member

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    and he married a pidgeon :D