When you are on your boat, you’re in charge. That’s a large part of the appeal of boating and it’s a great feeling, but with it comes great responsibility. As much as any of us like to joke that “I’ll ask the boss” when someone asks you a question you’d defer to your wife or girlfriend, it’s usually about the small stuff you don’t sweat. Real questions that need answers—Are we leaving tonight if this storm is coming in?—and the authority needed to answer them, fall to you as skipper.
Some brokers hold a captain's license, and that helps them give good advice to boat owners on the many questions that arise as part of owning boats. Using a broker who is a captain means you are working with someone who understands. Provided he or she has actually worked as a professional captain, that hands-on experience can be invaluable to a buyer or seller. They can manage logistics in a transaction, and just be there as folks get comfortable with their new-boat purchases. Bottom line, a broker with a captain's license is probably in tune with many of your boating needs. He's seen it before.
But that captain’s license can help in other ways too. “There was one situation with an insurance company because my client was buying a large boat,” says Capt. Chuck Royhl, a broker with Sarasota Yacht & Ship. “He hadn’t had any boating experience for the last 20 years, so the insurance company required him to have a licensed captain sign off on his ability to handle the boat. And so we spent four days together going through all the forms that they sent us and having a grand old time.”
“I got to sign off on the paperwork, allowing a client of mine that I had sold a boat to handle his new boat,” Royhl said. “The interesting note on it is that he had retired from the U.S. Navy at the rank of Captain. He hadn’t driven anything under 400 feet in about 40 years and he hadn’t driven anything on the water in about 20.”
And that’s when the broker (who’s a captain) answered the real question for the Captain.