Charter broker, NB Yacht Charters
Date interviewed: October 2009
How did you get started as a charter broker?
I’m a Florida native. I grew up fishing around Merritt Island and Cocoa Beach. I was always at the beach surfing or fishing or being out on the water. Boats came second-nature to me.
I moved to Fort Lauderdale to work for a cruise agency, and I quickly realized that where I actually wanted to be was in the boating and yachting community. That was 20 years ago. I started out organizing a world-class resort and marina’s dockage, marina events, and day charters for guests, and from there, I moved into booking day charters and term charters. I worked with several companies as I gained industry experience, and I opened NB Yacht Charters in 2000.
Do you still book all different kinds of boats?
I prefer not to do bareboats, but in terms of crewed yachts, yes, I book vacations, corporate events, weddings, charity events, and fund-raisers. I can handle whatever type of charter the client wants.
My specialty is large corporate events. They can be groups of 50 or 500. Even though these are day charters compared to week-long family vacations, I find them just as interesting to organize. I coordinate everything from the itinerary to the food.
Booking event charters also requires specialized knowledge of maritime rules, right?
Yes. There are U.S. Coast Guard regulations about the types of boats that can host events of this scale, and I am well versed in those regulations. I also know the owners of the appropriate boats, and I can negotiate excellent rates with those owners for my clients.
What are some of the best charter destinations you’ve visited?
I’ve been so lucky to have traveled the world as a charter broker. This year I went to Greece, which I absolutely love as a cruising destination, and to Fiji, which was a spectacular experience.
I’ve been to almost every island in the British and U.S. Virgin islands, and I go to the Bahamas several times a year for my own vacations as well as for business. I’ve been all throughout the East Coast of the United States, from Key West up to New England. Each place is special in its own way, but they're all terrific.
What is the first thing you ask a new charter client?
Usually, I like to know the destination that they have in mind. That, plus the time of year they want to charter. If they want to go next weekend, I need to know that.
And I don’t mind that, actually. Last-minute charters are one of my specialties.
That’s interesting, because a lot of brokers aren’t too eager to handle last-minute bookings.
I’ve done them so many times that I’m somewhat known for it. I have so many contacts and connections in the islands that I can find that last-minute boat, even three days before the charter itself.
I’m happy to try to find anyone the most suitable yacht based on what’s available at that very last minute, and my company is well-equipped to get the details and money in place quickly.
Describe your ideal charter client.
The ideal client for me is the repeat client. It’s someone I’ve worked with before, who knows what he wants, who knows what to expect, and who will let me get it for him. He listens to my suggestions and the options that I present.
Describe your nightmare charter client.
The clients who want everything for nothing. They want to change their mind at the very last minute and not have to pay a penny extra. They’ve never chartered before, they don’t know what to expect, and they’re not willing to listen to their options realistically.
Describe a previous booking where you worked “above and beyond.”
One time, I had a family of royalty from another country moving from their hotel to their charter yacht, which they’d asked me to book at the last minute. They wanted their own chef onboard the boat, so I had to find a yacht that would allow that.
When it came time for the family to board the yacht, I was there to make sure everything was all right, and I realized that some of the crew were wearing skirts that showed their legs. That was their uniform, and it would not have been appropriate in the eyes of this particular client. I had to run out and buy leggings for all those crew members to make sure the client was culturally comfortable.
The world is so small these days that cultural sensitivity is a bigger concern than ever.
I deal with so many types of clients from all over the world that I understand the need to appreciate other people’s cultures and traditions. I know how to be respectful and accommodate whatever people need.
What are a few of your favorite charter yachts?
There are a few boats that I use most often, when they fit the clients’ needs, and those are boats that have made my clients really happy in the past. The crew have gone out of their way to make my past charters a success. Those are my favorite yachts every time.
What makes you different from other charter brokers?
I am willing to do the last-minute charter. I am willing to do a corporate event or a day charter. I have the experience to prove that I can put together any type of charter, party, or event on a yacht, for any type of client from anywhere in the world. I can work with meeting planners, hoteliers, entertainment companies—sometimes all at the same time to coordinate a single party. I’ve booked mansions for clients so they’d have a place to bring their yacht to a land party, even.
If someone can dream it, then I can make it happen.
What else should CharterWave readers know about you?
I plan a lot of family vacations in addition to all the corporate parties and events. That’s one reason I love running my own company, is seeing those families come back year after year for their vacations. It makes me happy to see them happy.
How can CharterWave readers contact you?
My phone number is (954) 249-9914. You can e-mail NBYC (at) YachtCharterEvents.com or learn more about me through my website.