Being a yacht delivery captain could be your perfect job!
From time to time, people ask me how they can make their hobby 'sailing' into a profession, how to become a professional captain?
Working as a delivery skipper is one of the many possibilities.
Imagine, someone comes to you and asks you if you would like to bring his or her sailing or motor yacht to somewhere exotic...
and you're getting paid for it!
Sounds nice, don't you think?
Now, how does the life of a yacht delivery captain looks like?
Well, he or she has lots of freedom, but with some responsabilities.
It's a job that is completely based on a freelance-basis.
The yacht delivery captain choses whether he takes on a certain delivery or not. He is literally his own boss, at this stage...
It's completely up to you to decide if an upcoming delivery fits in your personal agenda or not. You decide if you like the trip or not, the boat or not, etc.
Once you accept and sign the contract, you have a boss and some responsabilities. But only for the duration of the delivery. After that, you're free again!
As a yacht delivery captain, you are responsible for everything. You arrange everything, you think about everything..., it all depends on you.
You decide how you divide the watches onboard, how many people you take onboard, which food you buy, if smoking and/or alcohol is allowed onboard,...
You do everything Your Way!
As the delivery skipper you choose your own crew, you might get help from the yacht delivery company, if they offered you the delivery.
You will normally look for good sailors. If you have a circle of sailing friends, then that's perfect. Otherwise you have to look for crew on the internet or by asking around.
Because deliveries can come up pretty fast, you don't have too much time to make an extended research with interviews.
Most likely you will give them a call, chat a little and try to find out what their experience is.
You tell them what you expect, so that nobody comes to a surprise on board.
In reality, surprises do happen, because some people really want to go on a certain trip, so they say anything you like.
People with lots of experience turn out to be really beginners and some non-smokers are heavy cigarette-addicts...
These things are hard to check. But, you can always check references if they have them or ask the delivery company if they have something terrifying on their records about this crew...
It's all part of the game!
Before you throw the lines, you check the boat.
Being the yacht delivery captain, it's your responsability to go to sea with a seaworthy yacht. If it isn't, you may want to do the necessary or even get out of the delivery. You cannot risk your own or your crew's lives.
When you deliver new boats, the companies expect you to deliver them in that same brand-new state. Even when you just sailed over the ocean!
You might get sacrificial lines or sails and most likely you will have to protect the interior of the yacht and some parts on the outside. Some parts are very prone to chafing...
Spreaders making marks on the genoa are notorious...
When I did deliveries, we didn't use the oven, only used 1 head ( = bathroom ), and so on. Everything you don't use, you don't have to clean or repair in the end.
Try to make a black-flamed oven to look as new from the factory.... almost impossible!
Sometimes you get a yacht that is made to the standards of another continent, which means that the electrical and/or gas - system will be different. You have to find solutions for it. Having a bit of MacGyver in you, will help you a lot!
The competition between yacht delivery companies is tough and the profit margins have come down over the years.
This will reflect in the fee you will get.
Nowadays, you will get a bit more than 1 Euro or a Dollar per nautical mile. Extras are travel bonusses for yourself and the crew, or even a bonus when you've delivered the boat on time and in excellent conditions...
The longer the delivery is in nautical miles, the more you will earn.
To a certain extent, you can negotiate with the yacht delivery company, but remember there's always somebody else who will do the job anyway.
If you work completely on your own, you decide yourself, off course. You can make this work, as long as you deliver excellent results and you build up a network of clients who will come back to you.
The bottom line is that, unless you're already living a comfortable life, you have to take on delivery after delivery to have a decent income throughout the whole year.
Go to Part II
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