Burgess Yachts just issued the first official statement about longtime charter yacht broker Tom Collins, whose death became public late last night when colleagues began to post social-media tributes:
“It is with deep regret that Burgess announces the very sad passing of our valued and much loved colleague Tom Collins on December 26, 2016, after a courageously fought illness.
“A member of FYBA and MYBA, Tom was a highly respected charter broker for nearly 30 years and joined the Miami office of Burgess in 2006. He was nominated Charter Professional of the Year by FYBA in 2015.
“Professional, passionate and charismatic to the last, Tom will be enormously missed by all those he touched.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom’s wife, Barbara.”
Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.
On a personal note, I knew Collins for about 15 years and have quoted him multiple times in articles that I’ve written both online and in print. He was not only a knowledgeable and well-respected charter yacht broker, but also was a charming and always-smiling presence at boat shows.
I will always remember him best as a fun traveling companion, something I learned during the multiple yacht charters I’ve been privileged to experience with him on board (along with other brokers). He was generous with his knowledge and wanted to see people having fun on yachts; back in 2008, while in the Exumas for a charter aboard the 120-foot motoryacht Joanne, he helped me learn to steer a WaveRunner. I can’t even imagine how anyone might start to count the number of clients he introduced to all kinds of yacht-charter fun over the years.
No matter where I saw him in the world, Collins’ smile was his handshake, and people just naturally loved him. Collins also was a walking encyclopedia of music, and could spend hours discussing songs and artists whose work spanned decades. He was often the first guy that other charter brokers thought of when putting together invitation lists for onboard luncheons and yacht trips.
Tom Collins will be dearly missed by many people in the yacht charter industry, myself included.