Finding the Right Superyacht Captain

Finding the Right Superyacht Captain

have you hired the right superyacht captain

How do you find the right Captain for your Yacht? What are the costs of hiring the wrong captain? How hiring early can save unnecessary stress.

While the idea of finding a captain for a superyacht may sound simple, the reality can be quite different.

In fact you may draw a parallel between this and finding the perfect  relationship. Sure there is plenty of choice, but how do you find out which one is the right one for you!

If you want A PERFECT VISIT to your Yacht, EVERY VISIT, then a relationship with your captain you must have.

Which is why after making a decision to own a yacht you need to start thinking about the next step which is to start the search for that perfect captain.

Finding the right captain, and doing it right, saves you from WASTING money and time.


  • WHY is hiring a captain complicated.
  • Why should I bother thinking about personality or behaviour when they’re just there to drive, navigate and run my yacht !

Well let’s quickly picture you hired a captain and they seemed like a good choice at the time. They had good references, the right ticket, the right experience. You even met them a few of times, and they felt like they fit the function of a captain.

Besides, they were the best of a slew of CV’s you had to go through….

Then, your yacht is ready to use, they hand in their notice!


Yes a year and a half after being in the yard and they decide for some reason they don’t want to work for you any more! This right as your first season is about to begin with a brand new yacht!

Apart from  being open to loose a huge amount of knowledge about your new yacht as they leave, your crew will likely be disrupted (you may well lose some), and you will certainly losel some personal time and gained some unwanted stress!

On top of this your season is in jeopardy, and you have been put into a bind of having to start a new search with little time, a  yacht in need of a captain, and crew in need of good leadership (yes this actually happened to an owner out there).

Other scenarios (sometimes worse), are owners that find a captain and hire them quickly and then end up feeling stuck.  Stuck with a captain they now find they have little in common with.  Or someone that has very different ideas of what the captain’s position actually entails.

Hire the right crew

Unfortunately this story is seen aboard far too often and rarely leads to happy endings for either owner or captain.

In such cases owners can suffer with high turnover of crew (another expense), and an environment where you the owner feels anything but ‘At Home’ while visiting your own yacht!

None of these situations fit with the beautiful and magnificent yachts built by yards such as Royal Huisman, Vitters, Feadship, Heesan, Amels, Blohm+Voss, Fincantieri
Lurssen, Oceanco or others, but this can be the result.

The Solution ….

Get the right captain for YOU as well as your Yacht as soon as possible.

Because it’s vital to your enjoyment, your safety, your experience and bottom line to get this right the first time.

  • What you get when you make the right decision:
  • The right captain equates to the right crew, and a perfect visit every visit.
  • The right captain means you get someone that you can trust, that will become invaluable in more ways that you could possibly imagine.
  • The right captain will run your yacht knowing your personal likes, wants, and budget and run it accordingly,  not to someone else’s idea of these.
  • The right captain guarantees if things don’t go quite as planned (as happens with yacht ownership), you have a person that will work to the ends of the earth to gain you the win win scenario you want.
  • The right captain means you get the experience you paid for when buying your superyacht, not just a yacht that you can visit.

So what do you have to do to find your perfect captain?superyacht crew

Here are some caveats.

  • You have to be willing to put in the time to have a detailed ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ list. This is Personal and should be detailed, this is essentially the backbone of your job description.
  • You have to be willing to look at personality and behaviour (including your own) of perspective captains.
  • You have to be willing to spend the few extra weeks it will take to get down to a final four, and not get rushed into this.
  • As you may not have the skills set to drive and navigate a yacht etc, you will no doubt have the leadership skills to run a company and crew. Think like you are about to hire your new CEO for a company you built from the bottom up, make it personal.
  • If you have children,  ask yourself, would you trust any of the candidates with your children’s safety without knowing much more about than you do right now!

Follow these steps in your process and interviewing and selecting a final four will gets a whole lot easier.

CAN OR SHOULD you do THIS yourself?


If you are willing to put the time in (it can take a lot), and trust yourself not to pick too soon because its all getting somewhat tedious.

For many owner’s TIME is something they do not have a lot of.

Is there a professional company to do this?

It would be nice if there were the perfect company or person for you. But just as choosing a captain is personal so to is choosing the person/company that you choose to do this job. You may want to think of the below first:

  • It needs be a two way street with a good and open communication.
  • Find someone that understands the position of captain and knows about personality and behaviour (themselves included), so their own preferences do not sway decisions.
  • As to brokers or crew agents (there are plenty, some great, some not so much), just remember conflict of interests. Just like buying a house from an agent, you can end up looking at what they want to sell rather than what you want to buy.
  • You want a relationship between you and your captain first. Not a secondary relationship with your new captain through agent of manager. Loyalty and trust is generally  built with first stage relationships first. You should be top.

 Whatever you do, the results of your actions and the effort put in will directly affect the result you get out, in ownership experience and enjoyment.

There are many tools available that can help cut through much of the detail, and most owners already have people on staff that have many of the answers to the questions needed to be asked.

Using a tool such as MBTI or similar is an effective way to get a better understanding of your needs and wants and can be used to help in development of communication in the long term. The tools offer valuable knowledge in a short time for you and your new captain.

Remember that apart from the obvious of driving your yacht, docking, navigation and safety etc. A captain has to know how to lead, manage and mentor, deal with more forms and paper work than most have ever seen, and constantly up their game as a world class motivator, leader and communicator.

This all has to be neatly spliced into your own needs and wants, your guests,  Flag state regulations, laws of foreign countries, rules of the road, foreign languages, port authorities, insurance, safety of the environment and crew, and the list goes on….

And did we mention the mixed personalities of crew and the fact they have needs and wants and have to all get along!   All this and they all have to live and work in close quarters while being away from family and home.

People are the heart of great teams

To summarize.

  • The job of yacht captain is not easy, and not one for every captain on the sea.
  • There are many yacht captains with close to the same qualifications and even experience (this does not mean there are plenty of captains that fit you).
  • The right captain may not be super active on the job market. They may be babysitting a yacht, taking some time off, or studying and waiting  to hear about the right owner through close contacts and friends.
  • The right captain is more likely looking for the right owner, more than just another job, more money or bigger and newer yacht.
  • Dealing with personality and behaviour before hire saves you in the long term. Financially and in experience aboard.
  • Getting the right captain first means getting the right crew will be quicker and simpler. This will save you financially and builds trust in the right direction.
  • Getting the right captain makes the difference between a marriage made in heaven and a messy divorce or separation.
  • Finding the right captain can take time and does take effort. It should be at the top of your TO DO list right after your decision to buy a yacht.
  • Finding the right captain early will save you making decisions that can cost you time and money down the line, whether building or buying a yacht as is.finding the right superyacht captain with N2Please get in touch if you have questions on any part of the above. We are here to help and happy to answer any questions.


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