Seeking advice on delivering boats

I am looking at doing some side work delivering boats, and I wanted to to see if anyone can help me out on where to start. I have looked up a few small companies but is it easier just to walk the docks and ask around? Is it a tough line of work to get into? Thanks for your help.


Through Ocean? You better have knowledges of ocean weather. AWT is a good choice.

Like most jobs in this industry, it’s usually all about who you know.

Do you have a license? Experience in the regions you want to deliver from/to? Do you like penny-pinching owners and brokers who don’t want to buy you enough fuel filters for the trip. or pay you enough to hire decent crew? It can be fun, but it can really suck ass too.

As usual Capt-A sums it up. I do a few deliveries and my contacts are a closely guarded secret. However, if you really insist on trying I suggest you find a successful delivery Skipper who will take you as crew for a while. You may need to do it free until you build a reputation. We all need a good watch-keeper sometimes for longer deliveries. And there is the clean up when help is always appreciated. My personal style, and one that keeps me in well with higher end clients is to return the vessel to them in a clean and serviceable condition as possible. This means that my crew will detail the boat before it is handed back. I am expensive and have few clients but they appreciate the quality of the service. Never forget at the lower end there is always a reason for hiring a delivery captain rather than the owner doing it himself. And yes it is tough to get into.

What type are you talking about? Yachts or tugs, OSV? Do you have a license?

Huge difference. The yachting world is all based upon who you know, and reputation. The tug OSV industry is resume and need based.

You won’t have much luck getting a skippers job if you haven’t done it before (especially as noted earlier) or have no recommendations to back you up. The Yacht industry is notoriously close knit, and unless you have worked as a rich bastards personal slave, taking a yacht on a far delivery is probably NOT the way to try to learn what is expected of you upon return. It is unusual to find an owner who isn’t so OCD about fuel, expenses, time, and upkeep. The trick to find one who will let an unknown take their ‘baby’ on a trip with little or no oversight, and control of who, what where when, how would be highly unusual.

The devil is in the details concerning costs, expectations, fulfillment and pay. I have friends who took deliveries, and one time forgot (assumed) that return air fare was included. Imagine his surprise when he had to fork out more cash than he made for a 4 day delivery to fly him and crew home! Another story involved lay days for weather. Since you don’t want to ‘have’ to go in a multi million dollar yacht you want to pick your weather. Imagine being told, post trip that you’re NOT being paid for lay days! How about dockage costs when you go weatherbound. Who pays for that? You assumed (on owners info) that the boat did 22.5 knots. You plan your trip transit based on that speed. Then when aboard, you find that you must run ‘most economical’ speed to stretch the fuel for the trip, your speed will only be 15 knots. Now you added a day and a half to the trip which you won’t get paid for because you told him you could get there in 5 days, which turned into 7, or 8 with a layday in there. The crew who you told would earn XXX per day for 5 days, must then be aware that they now have to work for 7 or 8 days for the same amount.

I think I have covered all the reasons why I DON’T do Yacht deliveries! I am glad to go out and operate a yacht, or instruct an owner on the nuances of yachting. But being a temp sucks when it is short time.

However you can make some relatively easy cash doing one way tug OSV work. Again, just make sure you have all the costs, repatriation expenses covered.

Thanks everyone for your responses, I have a Second Mate Unlimited, Upon Oceans license and 1600 GT Masters, Oceans. I want to hop on some deliveries as crew for sure, I guess the hard the part is finding a delivery skipper that needs crew because things are so tight these days.

If you are looking for pleasure yacht deliveries, the business is seasonal - spring and fall on the US east coast as boats are ferried north for the summer and south for the winter - Florida / Caribbean. Some full-time skippers will take on crew for the delivery. Find a reputable delivery skipper and ask about crew opportunities to get some experience. Some positions are paid, but many are not. For example, I know a transatlantic delivery skipper who pays a 1st mate, but other crew positions are unpaid and filled by those who want the time / experience. Ask dock masters at big time marinas or Google “yacht delivery” online for contacts. Like anything in the maritime industry, there is a wide range of skippers - some delivery skippers are meticulous in checking out a yacht, it’s systems and features before the delivery and a (very few) others basically jump on a boat an go. I’d only crew with the former.