By Captain Scott “Fraz” Murie
What is life like after being the “Big Skipper?”
What do captains do when they want to quit traveling and spending many months each year away from home? Well, I have observed that many captains who have been at the helm for 20 or 30 years, have changed careers so they can stay at home and do things they never had the time to do as a traveling captain. Things that may seem simple to people in other professions—like spending time with family and friends, personal travel, and attending some sporting events—are sometimes not possible for traveling captains.
Just being able to be a part of the everyday home life without needing the use of satellite phones or long distance communications can be a different experience. There is a lot of sacrifice on the part of traveling captains. But it’s a sacrifice of choice. No arms are being twisted. It’s the love of the sport— almost an addiction—that motivates the sacrifice. To make the decision to step down from the helm is both difficult and huge in its ramifications.
Staying in the Business
While retiring captains experience a career change, most remain involved in the business of sportfishing. A captain with 30 years’ experience has valuable knowledge. It is this knowledge that can help jumpstart another career that keeps them in the loop. And it also lets them come home at night. I know captains that have left the helm and are happier than ever in their new ventures. These captains have taken such positions as: marina managers, yacht surveyors, boat brokers, dock masters, yacht insurers, marine consultants, boat yard managers, boat and yacht outfitters, yacht managers, and marine conservationists.
The list goes on. With these new careers, these captains are now more involved in family and community than ever before. As for me, when I need something done with my boat I always look for someone who knows the business. Usually, that is a guy who has spent many years at the helm. That person not only knows what I need, but what it takes to get the job done. There’s a lot to be learned from these experienced captains. These guys have been there and done that, so listen closely to what they have to say and don’t be afraid to ask for their advice. There is a world of knowledge that comes from these “old salts.” So pay attention and you might learn something.