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Help with hiring a captain

Discussion in 'Yacht Captains' started by shanti, Aug 7, 2014.

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  1. shanti

    shanti New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
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    Location:
    Fairlee Creek, md
    Hi,

    I wanted to get some wisdom about the best way to hire a captain. My wife and I run our 52' Grand Banks with our 10 year old son while still working/ going to school. We want to spend 2.5 weeks cruising the Exumas over spring break. I need to find a captain for about a 2 month period where he/she would bring the boat from Miami to Georgetown, where we would fly in, then spend the 2.5 weeks with us doing the Exumas and then deliver the boat back to the Chesapeake.

    We don't need mega yacht level service/ meals, etc as we enjoy running and working on our boat.. we need an experienced guide for the islands / someone to do basic maintaince / service during the period, etc. A dive master would be preferable.

    My questions:

    Assuming a March / April time period, when should I start looking for this person?
    Am I better trying to network/ referrals in the S Florida area or use an agency?
    What is the best way to interview / screen a person to make sure the knowledge/skill as well as the personality is a fit?
    What would be an industry standard rate for this type of position?

    Any other wisdom/guidance would be appreciated!

    Thanks!
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    If I were planning to spend 2.5 weeks on a 52 footer (out of country) with my family and a stranger, I'd network and start a discussion with a few captains who may be interested. Now is a good time to start, and you're in the right place here. I'd keep salary as a very minor part of the discussion as rates may change once winter season starts. (Supply/Demand) Just make it known that you expect and intend to pay a sizable bonus since you'll be asking someone to block off prime time (spring break).

    I'd hold off on using an agency until/unless you get much closer to the date without success.

    Put together a list of questions (discussion points) designed not only to determine his/her experience, but also their personality and moral fiber. I'd want to know about their experience in the area you intend to cruise, their mechanical experiece, experience with boats similar to yours, diet, family, drinking, criminality, religous/political views, etc. Do you want someone to drive or just watch over your shoulder and take over if things get nasty? Share cooking duties? Fishing? Kid friendly? 'Capt. Ron'?

    Remember that boats get small fast with the wrong person on board.
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Miami, FL
    Make sure you find someone who is really familiar with th exumas and know the good spots beyond the typical highborne - compass - Staniel too many boats confine themselves to. I think that should be your priority and even if have to get someone else to bring the boat back north if you have to

    You re going to travel a long way to get to the exumas, make sure it s worth it. 2 1/2 weeks gives enough time to cruise the southern exumas (Staniel to Gtown), don't miss it.
  4. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    May 2, 2014
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    Location:
    Miami
    The above two answers are your best bet..networking would be my first choice...then you have sites like dockwalk, yachtcrews, etc. You can do a google search for crews for hire. And absolutely find someone who has an intimate knowledge of the area, and perhaps wouldn't mind sleeping on the fly bridge.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    What you're describing is one of the aspects that I do. Although not for 2-3 months straight. If you wanted to break it up into 2 week segments or so etc. (fly me in/out) I could possibly help you and have spent 300 days in the Exumas in the last 3 years. Anyways that being said. I also know several other Captains I work with that might be interested.

    You definately want a Captain that comes from a referal, either from friends, good yachtbrokers etc. Most of the Captain's are on crew agencies looking because they've either exhausted all of their other resources or quite frankly aren't that good. Not that there aren't a few good Captains on crew agencies, just a much smaller percentage. I would start looking now, and just get feelers out but it's a bit too early. I would say January would be a good time to start looking. As for the interview, possibly develop a list of questions asking them what aspects they can do and can't do maintanence wise. Daily Captains get $350-400 a day, however if you're hiring someone for 3 months straight the rate may be less. It's kind of a grey area, not really a long term full time position, but not really a short term position either. However, you're asking for a lot of qualifications (dive master, knows the Exumas, slow boat, small quarters and living on a 52' with 3 strangers).

    Your best area to cruise will be Highbourne Cay to Staniel Cay as far as beautiful and activities, from there South to Georgetowne is pretty but also pretty isolated. Georgetowne isn't much to speak of IMO.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Not to say a deal can't be had, but I'd advise the OP to expect to pay a weekly rate very close to the daily rate. You're talking about a long transport, followed by 2.5 weeks living in close quarters with strangers (including a child), followed by another long transport. That's no cakewalk, and it's at high season, a time when the captain stands a good chance of earning the same money while sleeping in his own bed at night. He should also expect to hire a mate for the transport sections (including airfares). Anybody who can afford to do this should not try to get cheap on probably the cheapest part of this adventure (Captain's salary). In fact he should expect to pay a premium. It's not like this will lead to a future position. Quite frankly I'd be suspect of any captain who would consider offering a bargain rate for this job at that time of year.
  7. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    While indeed Gtown isn't much, rudder cay (the piano) , lee stocking and rat/pigeon (blowholes) are really worth going the short run south of Staniel

    Every guests we ve brought there usually rate these 3 stops among their favorites. It is isolated by that s part of the appeal, only a couple of other boats nearby instead of dozens
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Isolated vs. popular is a matter often of taste and something for the OP to discuss with the Captains. A couple with teenage kids vs a couple by themselves vs a couple with younger kids may have very different preferences.

    I would expect to pay as follows for the two month arrangement.

    2.5 Weeks cruising. 18 x 400 = $7200
    Transport over and back including crew. 2 x $2000 = $4000
    Work over the course of a week, preparing the boat and arranging things, plus several days in advance of guests in the Exumas plus time decommissioning upon return. $5000.

    Total before gratuities $16,200 plus generous gratuities.

    Note that I don't see engaging the Captain necessarily the full two months, but preparation, transport and the 2.5 weeks there.

    If engaging a full two months and a hand for the transport then I'd expect to pay $24,000 plus gratuities. I also think tying the captain completely down rather than my first outline reduces the available captains.

    The right captain is the key to making this a special enjoyable trip. They are the key to having all the activities you want available. They know the dive boat operators and other key people there. They can get docking when sometimes you can't.

    Now, I know there are captains out there who will do it for less, some for much less. But I also know many stories of how trips with some of them worked out. I highly respect professionals, many of whom are on this site. Get the best one you can find and the one who fits with your family best. Grouchy old man who doesn't like kids, wrong for you. Captain use to 100'+ yacht and chef on board as well as deckhands, wrong for you. Captain Ron may have been glamorized but not who most want for their families. Also, if you decide during the course of the trip you'd like to do something you hadn't planned or spend an extra day doing something, how receptive to change and regrouping is the captain. During the course of the trip there is likely to be one or more mechanical issues. How adept at solving those is the captain or how likely are you to end up spending two weeks with the boat docked waiting for repairs of something most captains could have quickly gotten resolved either through their own skills or their local contacts.
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    My inbox is no longer full. I deleted a few messages.

    I agree with olderboater and he made a lot of very good comments as did nycap and pascal. The biggest thing is what does your 10 year old like to do. Does he enjoy being anchored out or is he the type that loves to run down the dock and explore the island you're docked at? Anchored out can be great for people that enjoy it. It can be pure misery for someone that does not.
  10. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    It's really "How do I make this a vacation worth remembering forever?" And a good captain can assist in that greatly. And the wrong one can make you never want to think of it again.
  11. Captain Coats

    Captain Coats New Member

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    Location:
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    Very interesting reading. Thanks to all the posters.