By Captain Kevin Deerman
I’m certain the glaring reason that many of us chose this profession was for the opportunity to fish and travel to new and different locations. Though we must always be ready to deal with unexpected obstacles, fishing and traveling should be the easiest and most welcomed qualities of the job.
What’s not so glamorous is the list of tasks that must be accomplished to keep any operation running smoothly in between fishing exploits. Amid the management and maintenance duties captains must perform on a daily basis, it’s also imperative we look out for our owner’s best interests knowing that a happy owner will continue to invest in the industry. To foster trusted and long-lasting relationships, and loyal friendships, it’s highly recommended that captains adhere to the following list of common courtesies.
1. Make it a priority to keep the boat maintained to the highest industry standards. Lavish sportfish yachts and modern center consoles represent a huge investment and when it’s time to list with a broker in anticipation of an upgrade you want the owner to receive the greatest return possible. Shiny boats are also proven to
catch more fish.
2. When dealing with boatyards, outside contractors and vendors, it’s important to limit unnecessary expenses through careful planning and management of refits and
repairs. Our job as captain is to minimize the cost of ownership whenever possible and should be kept in mind for all negotiations, with any proceeds from those efforts going back to the owner. Don’t kill the goose!
3. Use common sense and courtesy regarding all actions or perceptions of your crew to maintain a strong work ethic. With a high degree of professionalism, the best captains and crew work hard even when the owner isn’t present, reflecting a desire to succeed and overall respect for the trade.
4. An open line of communication is paramount and it’s necessary to have continued discussions on expenses, maintenance, travel plans, fishing strategies, yard work, family life, etc. When everyone is on the same page things run smoother and if any problems arise there are far fewer surprises or unexpected events to deal with.
5. Safe operation can never be overlooked. Don’t push too hard in rough conditions, especially when you have guests down below as it is a much different ride for them than it is on the bridge. Discuss weather and sea conditions with the owner beforehand and remember that it’s one thing to get caught in a squall; it’s another to ignore advisories altogether.
6. Maintain orderly and accurate records. Daily maintenance logs, work logs, fish logs and cruising logs help to keep everything organized for the owner if something happens down the line. Cataloged records that are available on request are also invaluable when negotiating with a potential buyer in advance of a sale.
7. Ultimately, the owner and guests are on the boat to have a good time but the experiences they desire can be drastically different. Understanding the realities of any owner’s sportfishing dreams requires the setting of proper expectations from both parties. Whether tournament fishing or cruising and creating family memories, the captain-owner relationship largely dictates the overall prosperity and longevity of the entire program.
– That’s the report from Texas!