TCR: What is it about the charter industry that you enjoy so much?
I love going to sea with charterers. I much prefer it to owner whims of using the boat or not using the boat so the fun of the job for me is chartering. I get the crew involved in all of that so I know that when we get guests on board we have a good time. I still haven’t lost sight of how it used to be, how it was a blast, and I think that shows through with crew, if they are not enjoying their work.
I think it is the different dynamics of the people that come along. Don’t get me wrong, they are not all sweet and civilised and you can have some real characters to deal with. Some of the guests come on and they are very demanding, but the challenge is to break through that and show them a good time. Obviously it is in all of our interests that our guests go off and charter again or even buy a boat. So that’s the fun side of it – it’s the challenge.
Some of our guests come on board for three weeks and you become great friends but there are others where you are just going to look after them. It is always the same excellent service but you have to draw that line and make sure your crew understand that these people could invite you in or you could just be there to look after them -you have to make that judgment call. That is the other interesting side of it.
TCR: Are there any particular challenges to working in the charter industry?
I think one of the scariest things the crew can go through is a Port State Control inspection. I have had three in total and the first one we had in Holland. It wasn’t like I thought it was going to be but we worked very hard prior to getting the boat there to make sure the paperwork was right and digging back into the history of the vessel. But the problem is that there’s various sides of what they are looking for and you don’t know what hat the inspectors are wearing – weather it’s certification in terms of safety equipment or whether it’s where the boat has been chartering, where we have picked up fuel and if we have a charter contract.
TCR: How do you feel about the increasing regulations and its impact on the charter market?
When we are talking about certification or crew qualification - I accept that – that is a very, very good thing for the industry. At first it was hard but I see where it has gone and I love the fact that we now have a structure in place for everybody and for everyone’s benefit. But it’s the other confusing side to incoming regulations that concerns me - it’s the VAT aspect that nobody can give you a straight answer for. That is my only real grip; everybody has a different view and across the board, someone needs to define that side of it.
Issue 69 of The Crew Report provides a run down of the current VAT regulations in Europe and a copy is available to view online here.