By Captain Scott “Fraz” Murie
I’ve witnessed a few crew changes over the last several months on some pretty nice sportfishing boats. Let’s face it, crew turnover is inevitable. Sometimes a mate will take a job opportunity to try his luck at the helm. Other times a mate will be fired or quit for one reason or another. Maybe an owner will fire his captain and mate at the same time hoping for a fresh start. Whatever the circumstance, it is a small world in this business. At times like these, it seems everyone has an opinion or theory on why so-and-so got fired or quit. It becomes quite dramatic, akin to the Housewives on the Waterfront with all the dock talk.
I know when my mates wanted to try their hand at being the big skipper, feeling they could better themselves after years on the deck, I would encourage the move and try to help them succeed by doing whatever I could to assist. I felt their success was a reflection on me. I’ve also seen the other side of that coin where a captain would offer little support, and almost hope for failure. However, it’s when someone gets fired that the real gossip starts.
Crews speculate and ruminate on why and what they believe must have happened but all along really not knowing the facts about anything. What’s worse is when the person who gets fired spreads rumors and total falsehoods about the owner or his family or insinuates things that are far from the truth. When that happens, it starts a stampede of hearsay. What the young crews don’t understand is just how small this industry is. When word gets around of the rumors they’ve spread, and it will, it can come back and bite them. This scenario can ruin the chance of getting
a job on another rig all because they were running their mouth trying to make themselves look good.
Look…if it doesn’t work out the best thing you can do as a crew is shake the owner’s hand, thank him/her for the opportunity and say, “Sorry it didn’t work out.” You don’t need to explain to anyone what happened, because it’s really no one else’s business. If someone asks, just say that it didn’t work out, and move on. I’ve had several different jobs over the last 40+ years and each time it was better than before. I didn’t burn any bridges and I made it a point to never speak negative about the previous owner. I said “Thanks,” and moved on. People often asked what happened, and I’d just say it didn’t work out, but it’s all good! It’s pretty easy to tell the crews that aren’t going to last very long just by the way they handle themselves around the docks.
So, if you want to stay in the business, and you get fired, don’t run your mouth. You’ll only end up discrediting yourself in the eyes of a lot of people. Just move on quietly and respectfully or you’ll quickly find out how tight knit and small the sportfishing community really is. Once you get that monkey on your back, which was caused by running your mouth, it’s very hard to shake it. The next potential job might be harder to find than you ever imagined. Be humble, shut your mouth, and move on. Everyone deserves a second chance, just don’t let running your mouth close the door on the next opportunity for you