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Old 12-07-2016, 11:41   #1
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'Captain's authority'

Three couples self chartered a cat in BVI. One couple had experience so the man was by default 'captain'. He had made the chartering arrangements. The couples were related. All couples paid equally for the boat.

What authority does the 'Captain' have, especially with issues not related to operations? The issue here is one person found some trash while snorkeling and wanted to put it in the trash. 'Captain' said no.

I do note that at the time the cat was moored to a ball in a harbor, not at sea. Does that make a difference?

Is this just a personal indifference or does the 'Captain' have legal authority?

Thanks for any insight.
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:58   #2
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Thumbs down Re: 'Captain's authority'

I just joined this forum and this was my first post. Thanks for the warm welcome. I only hope other members here are aren't as gracious.
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:09   #3
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillman5 View Post
I just joined this forum and this was my first post. Thanks for the warm welcome. I only hope other members here are aren't as gracious.
Aye, don't mind the self proclaimed thread police.
Honest question you asked.
Not much legal authority over everybody on a pleasure cruise. If you were on a charter with a paid and licensed Captain, yes, you have to listen to him as he is responsible, but not over petty matters.

When my wife complains about me barking orders onboard, I tell her we can switch, her turn to be Captain, and don't screw it up.
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:22   #4
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

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Originally Posted by phillman5 View Post
I just joined this forum and this was my first post. Thanks for the warm welcome. I only hope other members here are aren't as gracious.
Hi Phillman5 and please allow me to welcome you to the forum.

Please note the handle of the member that gave the previous reply and give his answer the same consideration you would give what his handle refers to. Let me add that his reply is not characteristic of this forum where rule #1 is be nice.

I can see the reason for your question and I think it is of some interest. Let me preface the answer by quoting a placard I have seen often in marine supply stores and occasionally on a boat.

"Any marriage conducted by the captain of this vessel is valid only for the duration of the voyage." The point being, the captain of a private yacht has little real authority and even less if that person is not a licensed captain.

Bottom line, on a private yacht with friends on board, especially one that is chartered and not owned by any of those on board, the captain is NOT the dictator. There may be some legal responsibilities or liabilities he/she has incurred as designated captain, more so if he/she was the one that signed the charter papers.

Regardless of any legal technicalities, this was a group of friends on a holiday together. It sounds very much to me that the "captain" let the title go to his head and was acting like an ass, at least in the situation as you described it. Now if there was some danger, risk to life or property and the captain was experienced and trying to direct unskilled crew in the proper way to save life or protect the boat then some authoritarian attitude could possibly be justified.

However in your situation, it sounds like someone was trying to do the right thing, a good deed, by picking up trash that was polluting the water where you were diving. What reason on earth did Captain Bligh have to say no? If I could have done so in a way that wouldn't put a cloud over the rest of the vacation I would have (politely) told the "captain" where to put his order.
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:22   #5
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

Welcome.

Truly.

Your description is a pleasure cruise, and from what you wrote, the "Captain" guy was being a total jerk, really.

While it is always important to assign someone hopefully competent to have the final say on the safety of the boat, your story has more holes than Swiss cheese.

It seems to me that trash is not really the issue, but rather it is the go of the "captain" guy. The situation makes no sense to throw his weight around.

Does that help?
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:41   #6
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

Welcome to the forum, there is no such thing as a dumb question, only dumb answers. That said the "Captain" is the legal boss, particularly if he actually has a license. Then he is held to a much higher standard. In the case you mentioned he was just being a jerk. I commend you for picking up the trash.
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:47   #7
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

The Stanford Experiment shows a significant portion of society overstep their authority if given a chance. If I was equally paying and understood the "captain" to merely faciliate navigation and safety, I would look him in the eye and tell him to go to hell and make damn sure he knew his boundaries.

I assume you are grown adults. A certain amount of flexibility should be allowed to each couple, unless it starts infringing on the others. If the trash picker wanted to spend the whole trip at that anchorage and load the boat with trash, I would fight that too. Pick your boatmates carefully.
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:56   #8
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

Welcome to da forum. (I am just pretending to be nice...)

That damn word "captain" gets bandied about far too often.
The bloke in charge on a naval destroyer is a Captain. The guy bossing a 800 foot container ship with 10,000 containers is a Captain, and the over dresses whacker in charge of a curise liner is a Captain.

But you and I and everyone else at the yacht club, Moorings/Sunsail, gunkholing around the world, and filling forums is NOT a Captain! At best they are a Skipper. Ie the person in charge but cant run a big commercial operation.
Person I had on board last night kept calling me Captain and "pirate". I kept telling her my name is Mark and I am honest! But some people think a stupid title is manditory on H2O.

In some countries calling oneself "captain" would have you laughed out of the marina.

As for docking up to have the toilets emptied and the poop sucker calling me "Captain" i wonder if its just laziness that he doesnt want to learn my name or is edging for a tip?

***By the way, congrats to the person who wanted to pick up trash during a snorkle! He/she should be promoted to Captain!!!


Mark
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Old 12-07-2016, 13:01   #9
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillman5 View Post
One couple had experience so the man was by default 'captain'. He had made the chartering arrangements.

What authority does the 'Captain' have, especially with issues not related to operations? The issue here is one person found some trash while snorkeling and wanted to put it in the trash. 'Captain' said no.
It gets a little convoluted when friends charter a boat.

The Captain of the vessel is Legally and Morally responsible for the Vessel and the Crew... That doesn't mean he should be an ass, but if he signed the charter papers he is LEGALLY the Captain of the vessel.

That means while he is the Captain, under both International, Domestic and US Laws, your friend will be held responsible for everything that happens on that vessel.

In other words, he could be cited or in some cases arrested for something as simple as storage of garbage... Believe it or not, Legally, Garage is part of the "operation" of the boat (MARPOL Annex 5) and the Captain is held legally responsible for its storage and discharge.


So the real questions to be answered before making an opinion are...

WHAT DID YOU FIND ON THE OCEAN FLOOR THAT YOU CONSIDERED TRASH?

WHAT WAS YOUR CAPTAIN'S REASON FOR NOT WANTING THE ITEM PUT IN THE VESSEL'S TRASH CONTAINER?
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Old 12-07-2016, 13:09   #10
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

welcome to the forum phillman5

i would say it really depends on the trash and the availability of serious disposal options in the harbor you are in. if it is a potential hazard to the boat, i would object to taking in on board too. if you are on a mooring, safe disposal should be only a dingy ride away though.

as to the "captain" thing, beeing moored does not relieve the skipper of his/her duties so yes, he is still responsible for anything operations and safety related.
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Old 12-07-2016, 13:10   #11
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

Assuming it was plastic of some kind, if you want to get super technical you can simply inform the self appointed captain that by having a crew member put said plastic trash in the water he is in violation of internatioanl law. IMO is very clear no plastic in any waters period. Or just take it to shore and dispose of it. Pretty dissapointing in this day and age someone who has the luxery of charting a boat can be so removed from reality as to not want to do the right thing and take garbage out of the waters they are enjoying?
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Old 12-07-2016, 13:49   #12
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
......
Person I had on board last night kept calling me Captain and "pirate". I kept telling her my name is Mark and I am honest!


Mark
Weren't playing 'dress ups' by any chance were we?

I bet the 'Captain' referred to by the OP brought his Captain's hat along for the trip ... and wore it...
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Old 12-07-2016, 13:57   #13
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

Is it plastic around a block of hash or something else the authorities may have interest in? Then the skipper is correct.

Plastic, I would want cleaned up for the next person not to have to deal with unless it is a 50 gallon drum, then that is stupid because it would endanger folks getting it aboard for little gain, IMO.

Not enough information.
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Old 12-07-2016, 15:42   #14
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Welcome to da forum. (I am just pretending to be nice...)

That damn word "captain" gets bandied about far too often.
The bloke in charge on a naval destroyer is a Captain. The guy bossing a 800 foot container ship with 10,000 containers is a Captain, and the over dresses whacker in charge of a curise liner is a Captain.

But you and I and everyone else at the yacht club, Moorings/Sunsail, gunkholing around the world, and filling forums is NOT a Captain! At best they are a Skipper. Ie the person in charge but cant run a big commercial operation.
Person I had on board last night kept calling me Captain and "pirate". I kept telling her my name is Mark and I am honest! But some people think a stupid title is manditory on H2O.

In some countries calling oneself "captain" would have you laughed out of the marina.

As for docking up to have the toilets emptied and the poop sucker calling me "Captain" i wonder if its just laziness that he doesnt want to learn my name or is edging for a tip?

***By the way, congrats to the person who wanted to pick up trash during a snorkle! He/she should be promoted to Captain!!!
Mark
I’m with you 100% on that one Mark.
When I first came to America from England, a long time ago, it was disconcerting to be addressed as “Captain.” Thirty five years later I still can’t get used to it, and it’s only in America.
Maybe it’s semantics, but the group should have agreed who was “in charge” of the boat before they set off, but in the absence of that, I guess it should devolve to the person with the most experience, and who organized and signed for the charter.
If that's a reason for a falling out over a trash bag, it's a damn good job they didn’t hit any thick weather.
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Old 12-07-2016, 18:05   #15
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Re: 'Captain's authority'

The person in question is not a captain. Just a skipper and there is no way they can tell others onboard what to do.

I at times sail boats paid and this includes some deckhand, some mate and some skipper jobs.

When I sail as a paid skipper, I am legally appointed by the owner and the crew is expected to follow my orders. On some bigger boats this position is branded as captain for insurance work and other purposes.

On a charter boat, with friends, there are no captains.

Cheers,
b.
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