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Old 20-01-2016, 16:55   #1
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What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

Hello all-

I recently flew from Phoenix to West Palm to crew for a sail from Florida to USVI via the Bahamas that I saw on this website. We talked on the phone several times over three weeks, asked each other questions, I answered all questions honestly and completely. I checked his online presence and he is real and his business has customers who give him good reviews.

After I arrived, the skipper asked more questions, which again I answer honestly and completely. He decides he doesn't want me to crew for the trip. Fine, his prerogative. Bad decision, but his right to decide.

What are his obligations to me in this situation?

He "didn't have any more money" than the $260 he handed me that didn't cover the airplane change fees and that night’s hotel. But he is sailing to the Caribbean for three months.

BTW, I am an experienced sailor, have crewed on professional deliveries, numerous ASA sailing certifications, my TWIC card and have owned several sailboats and was doing this as a reality check for my liveaboard dreams.

Crew- consider your risks and expenses. If they can't pay your expenses they're trouble. I took four weeks off, updated my gear, bought SAR insurance, rented a personal ePIRB. Am easily out $750-1k, not counting my time.
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Old 20-01-2016, 16:59   #2
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

You may be one of many who are filling this bastard pockets. Maybe, can't be sure, but I sounds fishy.
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Old 20-01-2016, 17:06   #3
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

I meant to add : Every thing you write about yourself , you credentials and your experience reads very well.
Especially....you sound like a really good person which it make a bit sad.
If you'd turned up doped or p....d , and you didn't, then sure.......
Think you were stung brother......ATM's were presumably not far away.
Sounds like this guy is lucky to be still in one piece.
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Old 20-01-2016, 17:11   #4
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

Only hearing one side of this story, but going with yours at this point. I think it is more than easy to argue your expenses should be met both ethically and morally. Once you were given the go ahead to come out then that's enough for any fair minded person to believe you should be fairly compensated for any agreed expenses you incurred.
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Old 20-01-2016, 17:22   #5
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

Sorry to hear this happened to you ...

But whatl did you guys agree on, exactly, before flying out?
Did you guys agree he'd pay for your costs (tickets etc.) or did you agree to pay to get to the boat etc. yourself?
Did he say you were definitely on the crew, or was it a "meet in person and decide then" kind of a thing?

Without knowing both sides of the story, or at least what the agreement was, it's tough to say. Especially since we don't know what made him decide not to take you on.

Obviously it's a crappy thing to have happen to you, but that doesn't automatically make it all the skippers fault or responsibility. Nor yours, by the way - it really does depend on what you guys agreed on and what exactly happened after you arrived.
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Old 20-01-2016, 17:25   #6
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

Had a similar situation , but with an employer in a business, not boat related. Sold everything , moved my wife and young daughters to the caribean and show up to find out he hasn't even applied for my work permit, let alone received it. We made the best of a bad situation, but it boggles my mind to this day how people think screwing with other peoples life's is ok..
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Old 20-01-2016, 17:32   #7
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

Yep, you're out of pocket a grand.
But don't give up Brother, there's a voyage not far off I'd say.
Your post, read closely, makes you seem honest and capable & maybe I'm NOT sufficiently cynical but I t
still think you were 'had'.
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Old 20-01-2016, 17:35   #8
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DreaminFred View Post
I took four weeks off, updated my gear, bought SAR insurance, rented a personal ePIRB. Am easily out $750-1k, not counting my time.
Terrible situation for you. It looks like he missed out on a good person.

All the best.
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Old 20-01-2016, 17:35   #9
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzy Belle View Post
Sorry to hear this happened to you ...

But whatl did you guys agree on, exactly, before flying out?
Did you guys agree he'd pay for your costs (tickets etc.) or did you agree to pay to get to the boat etc. yourself?
Did he say you were definitely on the crew, or was it a "meet in person and decide then" kind of a thing?

Without knowing both sides of the story, or at least what the agreement was, it's tough to say. Especially since we don't know what made him decide not to take you on.

Obviously it's a crappy thing to have happen to you, but that doesn't automatically make it all the skippers fault or responsibility. Nor yours, by the way - it really does depend on what you guys agreed on and what exactly happened after you arrived.
I didn't ask or expect anything except the crew position and the trip from Fla to USVI. He offered the position, definitely not a meet and decide. With (I thought) reasonable expectation that we were committed to that I prepared carefully and professionally at my expense for the trip. Only after he welched on that did I feel wronged.
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Old 20-01-2016, 17:35   #10
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

That sucks, I'm pretty sure I'd be livid. You've had time to cool down or you are a far better man than I.
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Old 20-01-2016, 17:52   #11
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

Bummer! Perhaps this fellow let his ego get in the way. He wanted someone with less experience ?

In any case you probably dodged a bullet. There is a fellow local to me that advertises to learn off shore sailing. He is educated and "real" but online reviews suggest that he takes on crew to pay his vacations and offers no instruction. Apparently he isnt good company and drinks underway.

The captains responsibility to the crew is to get you there safely. Perhaps your guy cant live up to that!
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Old 20-01-2016, 18:35   #12
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

So he gave you $260 because he agreed to pay for your travel before the trip or because he felt guilty? I'm trying to figure out how you were conned or played as others have suggested as opposed to just a victim of bad form.
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Old 20-01-2016, 19:12   #13
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

I don't see a con here either - the skipper didn't get anything out of it.
Didn't lose much either, only $260, but for a con, that's a pretty poor result

As far as I can tell, something happened that made the skipper decide it wasn't a good fit.
Whatever that was, we'll probably never know.

If anything, this is a sad and expensive lesson: make sure both parties are very clear on what exactly is agreed on. Asking or expecting something isn't the same as agreeing on it - however reasonable your expectations may be.

Even if it's just a simple email with some bullet points, make sure everything is clear to both parties and agreed on before you start investing money and flying out to a boat / skipper.

Anyway - just my personal take on this, FWIW
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Old 20-01-2016, 19:13   #14
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

On one hand, I have to say that as a skipper who's taken on volunteer crew myself - the very essence of "volunteer crew" (in my mind) is an agreement that the crew member is capable and willing to cover their own travel expenses. It's also agreed that I, as skipper, reserve the right to deny any crew member passage at any point, for any reason. So, in this regard I'd say I'm sorry, but you're just out of luck. Usually after some phone calls, a Skype or two, and more detailed discussions, it's clear what kind of skipper/vessel/passage you're getting into. It seems like this was not the case for you, and I apologize.

On the other hand, your intuition with questioning this gentleman's ability to cover any more than $260 while undertaking a 3 month passage is warranted. I'd agree that you probably lucked out here....and I wouldn't be surprised if his crew were called upon in the future to front $$$ for more and more and more expenses.

A lot of what we do here on CF relies solely on the honor system and gut feelings. It's both a blessing and curse that there's not much standardization when it comes to recruiting volunteer crew for trips, and that can sway to both the owner/skipper's advantage, or crew's advantage.

I've had to let a crew member go once, after it was painfully obvious that our personalities simply weren't compatible for extended voyaging. I covered his hotel and flights home out of respect. I wouldn't say this was an obligation of mine.

Either way, sorry you had to go through that.
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Old 20-01-2016, 19:18   #15
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Re: What's a skipper's obligation to voluntary crew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vmattiola View Post
On one hand, I have to say that as a skipper who's taken on volunteer crew myself - the very essence of "volunteer crew" (in my mind) is an agreement that the crew member is capable and willing to cover their own travel expenses. It's also agreed that I, as skipper, reserve the right to deny any crew member passage at any point, for any reason. So, in this regard I'd say I'm sorry, but you're just out of luck. Usually after some phone calls, a Skype or two, and more detailed discussions, it's clear what kind of skipper/vessel/passage you're getting into. It seems like this was not the case for you, and I apologize.

On the other hand, your intuition with questioning this gentleman's ability to cover any more than $260 while undertaking a 3 month passage is warranted. I'd agree that you probably lucked out here....and I wouldn't be surprised if his crew were called upon in the future to front $$$ for more and more and more expenses.

A lot of what we do here on CF relies solely on the honor system and gut feelings. It's both a blessing and curse that there's not much standardization when it comes to recruiting volunteer crew for trips, and that can sway to both the owner/skipper's advantage, or crew's advantage.

I've had to let a crew member go once, after it was painfully obvious that our personalities simply weren't compatible for extended voyaging. I covered his hotel and flights home out of respect. I wouldn't say this was an obligation of mine.

Either way, sorry you had to go through that.
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