A Day In The Life Of A Sailing Yacht Captain

Our charter management department is headed up by Bertrand Mattei, who oversees our fleet of excellent yachts. Bertrand speaks to one of his captains about life onboard.

Kevin, you’re the captain on SY CHE, tell us how you got started in yachting.

After running a business maintaining, teaching, and chartering 10-15m boats, I was looking for a way to do more chartering, and less maintenance. 

An opportunity came up with a former client to run a small yacht for his family in the Mediterranean, and that began my career away from land.

What does a typical ‘charter’ day look like for you?

Totally focussed on client service, but here’s how that breaks down:

  • Help crew with their work list when they risk running out of time
  • Look at possibilities for the day’s (or next few days’) itinerary, taking in to account weather and local attractions, etc.
  • Check-in with guests and set the day’s itinerary into motion
  • Decide whether to move the boat, or not
  • Act as concierge for guests; arranging restaurants, taxis, spas, etc.
  • Help set up for watersports
  • Play photographer for water sports
  • Drive tender for guests going ashore or exploring (I find that if I drive the tender, all of the crew can get a break in their day, and that helps the crew get through a charter full of long days with a smile on their faces)
  • Paperwork and planning for the next day
  • Help with dinner service to get plates to the table faster
  • Check in with guests after dinner to ensure everyone continues to have a great time and see how we might make things even more special for them
  • Print out some photos from the day and frame them
  • Write up a quick email to the client’s charter broker to let them know about the day and the plans for tomorrow.

What do you know now about working in this industry, you wish you’d known in the beginning

The days can be long. 
We get to visit really cool places, destinations that you don’t normally get to see. 

At the end of the work day, we sleep at work in a small room with those we work with. 
We do not get to see our family and friends. 
We do not get to go out clubbing on the weekends. 
For some parts of the year, a few months at a time, our time is not our own. 
BUT, if we embrace this reality, and plough through the work, we can enjoy all the travel and unique experiences this lifestyle affords. 

We earn good money without having to pay for rent, groceries, etc. 
We can have money in the bank at the end of the month (because there’s nowhere to spend it while we are working).  
We meet and learn from people from all over the world in the marinas, shipyards, schools, and other yacht hangouts. 
There will be time off, just not in the traditional ways. 
So, get good at having relationships with family and friends remotely, and suck it up: the rewards are like nothing you ever thought possible.

Best bits and hardest bits of being in yachting?

Hardest bits: being away from family and friends, and the constant travel.

Best bits: the constant travel and being away from family and friends!


Can you share the most beautiful or surprising place you’ve visited in your career as a seafarer?

Villefranche-sur-Mer, French Riviera. 
It was the first anchorage I visited in my career. 
Waking up to the view of that village from the bay was like nothing I had ever seen.


Thank you so much Kevin for sharing your career with us, and for giving us an insight in to the role of captain onboard.
The crew sound lucky to have someone so understanding and thoughtful! 
We look forward to seeing more from you and your team.

To speak to the Bluewater Charter Management team, please contact them here.