By Captain Scott “Fraz” Murie
What should it be? It seems many people think it should be $1,000 a foot per year. I’m referring to captain’s pay and I don’t know where that number came from, but I disagree.
Lately, I have been reading a lot of material about salary, bonuses and severance pay. I think salary should be based on experience and what the job entails. In some cases, the captain stays in the same port year-round, barely putting 200 hours on the boat in a year’s time. In other cases, captains are putting 1000+ hours on their boats and traveling for months at a time. Negotiate your own pay based on your experience and let me give you a few ideas to keep in mind when you do finalize an agreement.
What I have learned is this – some bosses will ask you to go above and beyond your duties as captain. For instance: condo maintenance, running the lawnmower, moving furniture or driving cross country to pick something up. Don’t assume you will be compensated for these duties. If you are like me, you never hesitate when asked to do these jobs.
You do them well and with a good attitude, even though these duties have nothing to do with sportfishing. You also assume one day to be compensated for it in the long run. However, when the bonus never comes and the job ends with no severance pay, you will realize you made a mistake. You should have asked at the beginning what the job entailed and if there are going to be any bonuses for duties above and beyond the job description.
Also, question the owner if there will be any severance pay for years of good service or any benefits, such as health care or a 401k. Get them in writing if you can to avoid surprises. Take it from me – assume nothing and live and learn.
—That’s my two-minute warning.