By Captain Scott “Fraz” Murie
“Paper Captain.” That’s the term I use for some of these so-called captains that are at the helm of multimillion-dollar sportfishing boats these days. Paper Captains don’t have a clue as to how or what it takes to maintain or operate these vessels.
Let’s be honest—a captain’s license is not a hard document to obtain. If you have any time on your daddy’s ski boat and can pass a physical, that’s about all you need to get that piece of paper to call yourself a “six-pack” captain.
I’ve witnessed some lazy and inexperienced crews before (and if you couldn’t tell already, I don’t like it). It doesn’t take long for their boats to start showing signs of deterioration. These crews think it’s all about the fishing and partying. They either forget or could care less about the importance of maintenance.
Their mentality is “we’ll just call someone to fix anything that breaks.” What’s wrong with this approach? Most of the time, when a boat is maintained properly, it won’t need fixing. Advice for owners or anyone thinking about buying a sportfisher: boats need constant attention.
Always know if your crew says that there is no maintenance to do on your boat, they don’t know what’s happening! If your boat is taken care of, your boat will take care of you and not leave your stranded.
If amateurs are at the helm, the owner always finds out. On average, it usually takes 12 to 24 months for an owner to realize they have clowns running their boat. The sad part is that once you realize what’s happening and part ways with these captains, it usually then costs thousands of dollars to get the boat back into shape.
One thing is for sure, the sportfishing world is pretty small and word gets around fast about these lazy crews. They develop a reputation that’s hard to run from, and eventually can’t find a job in this industry. My advice to any owner trying to hire a captain or crew is to check them out thoroughly. Take the time to ask around. See what kind of experience they have before you hire.
Save yourself the heartache and thousands of dollars. A good captain and crew is the most valuable thing on your boat. The key is finding them.
—That’s my two-minute warning. Fraz