A Sea Captain’s Life

As we move into prime charter season in the islands, Virgin Islands marinas are abustle with preparations for arriving guests. So much hard work underway begs us to ask the question—where would the charter industry be without our fearless captains managing, maintaining, and navigating the majestic mega-yachts that grace our Caribbean waters?

Captains have come a long way from peg-legs and hook-hands to epaulets and neatly trimmed moustaches, so this month, we decided to get to know a few local captains, learning a little more about their daily lives, sans eye patches.

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Captain Byron Tippett grew up in South Africa where he first discovered his love of the sea through diving. He captains the power-catamaran charter yacht, Sea Glass 74. 

What life path led you to become a yacht captain in the Virgin Islands? 

I developed a strong love for the ocean while growing up in South Africa. My dad introduced me to scuba diving when I was really young, and I was hypnotised by the beauty and intricacy of the underwater world. After school, I transitioned from diving as a hobby, to diving as a career. Experiencing the freedom and seeing the happiness the ocean brings to people both above and below the water, encouraged me to climb the maritime ladder.

What do your friends think you do? What does your mum think you do?

My friends think I have fun every day and that I am Captain Ron. I do have fun every day and I am Captain BY-Ron!

My mum thinks I am in charge of the Titanic and that I dodge coconuts daily.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to surf, dive, or kite board with my wife. Spending time reflecting and making goals is always important to make sure you are moving forward and living your best life.

Describe a perfect work day for you. 

An island hopping day onboard Sea Glass with sunny skies, calm seas and full of adventure.

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Captain Evert Theron left the corporate life behind to pursue a career in yachting. He is the captain of the power charter yacht, Irresistible.

What life path led you to become a yacht captain in the Virgin Islands?

After getting married, my wife and I didn’t want to continue in the corporate sales world. So, we decided to sell everything in Cape Town and pursue a career in yachts. After working in the Mediterranean, we dreamed of working in the Virgin Islands. We kept searching for a yacht that was based here and after a few months, we found the perfect yacht for us in the VI as Captain and Chef.

What do your friends think you do? What about your mum? Your kids?

My friends think I’m living it up like a billionaire on holiday, because you never put cleaning blackwater tanks and 18-hour days on social media, do you? I don’t know what my mum thinks I do. Maybe that I run from hurricanes while taking people on island trips. And no kids yet, but I’ll tell them that I drive a spaceship that takes people to different worlds!

What are the highs and lows of the job?

Definitely the guests. It is always a great joy for me seeing our guests enjoying the trip and experiencing the Caribbean. On the other hand, they can also be the challenge to keep happy! But it doesn’t matter how long or hard a day becomes, because all you do is look around and realise that your office is in paradise and that the worst day here beats almost all of the best days in other jobs.

What does a perfect day on charter look like?

Definitely a day that Mother Nature shows her good side and the guests experience all the beauty she has to offer. My ideal day for guests is a day with calm seas and clear water, allowing guests to snorkel and swim with sea turtles and stingrays. Then, the guests can enjoy drinks on a secluded beach while watching a beautiful sunset. Days like that allow guests to create great memories with their friends and family while onboard. If my guests are having a good time, then I have done a good job.

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See Part II of these interviews next month, when we ask about life on the seas of two more charter yacht captains!

Photography by CYI Charters and Goksun Photography

Lauren Hodgins
Lauren is a crewed yacht charter broker based on St. Thomas, USVI. Working in the industry since 2004 and sailing over 8,000 nautical miles to date, Lauren now heads Caribbean Yachts International. www.CYIcharters.com
Lauren Hodgins

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