How Onyx Ensures the Right Yacht Captain for Hire


Hiring a yacht captain for your vessel is a major decision.  You are trusting another person to not only safely operate your vessel, but you may be trusting them with your safety and that of your family and friends. 

Onyx understands the considerable trust this takes.

That’s why we seek out the most experienced and qualified professionals to be part of our team…and we’ll talk about that in a minute…

But we also understand that most boat owners aren’t just looking for a competent captain. You want more than that

You’re looking for an elevated experience with the level of service you’d expect at a luxury hotel or an acclaimed restaurant.  Yes?

The Perfect Combination of Skill and Service

We understand that some people seek rest and relaxation at a spa. Other’s find it aboard their own boat.  If that’s you, we can match you with the hired yacht captain and crew you desire. 

First, the salty, gruff, sea-story-bragging, disheveled captains who think they know absolutely everything about every boat and will tell you all about it aren’t who you’ll find on our team.

Onyx’s yacht captains for hire are professionals and routinely receive praise for simple actions like:

  • One of our captains arrived at a boat and found that the owners could not get the AC working.  He took the time to and was able to repair the AC himself—saving them a repair bill—and still get out on the water for an enjoyable day.
  • Our captains always arrive at the boat 30 minutes early to ensure that it departs on time.  One captain arrived to find that the boat was a mess from birds and automatically washed the boat down to make it pleasant for the owners.
  • Onyx captains enjoy helping boat owners gain new skills—even when they aren’t explicitly hired for instruction.  They often help owners understand their navigation systems better or give pointers that help them understand the unique characteristics of handling their boat.

Matching Your Hired Yacht Captain with Your Needs

Onyx offers a full spectrum of yacht captain for hire services and is available for most boats.  To better understand the range of services that a hired captain can provide you, here are some of our most popular placements:

On-demand captains for the day:

These captains offer a short-notice solution to boat owners who want to hire a captain for a limited time.  It may be because they have a new vessel and are not comfortable docking or operating it yet.  Or it may be because they want to spend their attention on other things—guests aboard, fishing, relaxing.

On-demand captains are perfect solutions for special events or celebrations on board.  They allow the boat owner to enjoy the festivities while ensuring the guest’s safety with a professional captain who won’t be distracted.

On-demand captains for a trip:

Some boat owners like to hire a captain while on a trip or vacation. 

Not always having to make all the navigational decisions, watching the weather forecasts, or deciding the safest routes, can provide an extra level of relaxation. 

Hiring a captain that is familiar with a new cruising destination can also enhance the trip with that extra local-knowledge resource being on board—the best anchorages, the best place to fish, the inlet to avoid in rough weather, the best attractions onshore, and more.

Long-term placement:

Boat owners looking for a more permanent crew intimately familiar with their vessel may consider long-term placement options.  The captain would be hired either full or part-time to operate and maintain your vessel while moored and underway.  Usually, a captain hired under this type of contract will oversee the routine maintenance and manage any other hired professional crew members hired to work on the boat. 

This arrangement allows you to have the confidence that all aspects of maintaining your investment and operating your vessel are coordinated by one experienced professional.

This also opens the opportunity to have your vessel moved to your next cruising destination and wait for your arrival—because we all know how precious vacation days are. Then, when it’s time for your return, your captain can manage to return to your homeport after you have departed.

Delivery Captains:

Delivery captains assist in transiting a vessel from one port to another, often after a new purchase.  But delivery captains can also be used to assist in long passages, like helping sail up or down the coast to seasonal cruising destinations. In addition, delivery captains are often used to arrange boats for boat shows or deliver them to specialty boatyards for refits. 

Delivery captains may also help time-limited boat owners enjoy cruising destinations that are typically out of their range by having the boat delivered and waiting. Then, the owner and family can fly in.

Onyx’s delivery captains can help you transport your boat safely, and we always offer the option to join along.  In fact, if you have a new boat purchase, coming along on the delivery is an excellent way to get familiar with your new boat.  Our captains are happy to help owners learn the systems and vessel characteristics.

Instructional Captains:

We live in a world where we can Google or YouTube just about anything we need to learn.  And sure, you can learn how to tie a bowline by video, but when it comes to learning on-the-water boat handling skills, nothing beats a one-on-one instructional USCG captain to walk you through learning YOUR boat.

Onyx’s instructional captains help you gain the skills to take your boat out with confidence (and with less risk of having to file an insurance claim).

Meticulously Selected Experienced Captains

We carefully hand-pick all our captains. We seek out the most professional, skilled captains that honor our clients’ desires for privacy and elevated services.

Because, as we just outlined, there are many different roles a yacht captain can be hired for, our captains have a range of USCG licenses, so we can have the best-suited match for you and your boat.

All our captains have—at a minimum—a USCG-issued ‘six-pack’ license, or OUPV license.  This type of captain’s license allows the hired captain to operate a recreational vessel up to 100 tons (roughly 100 ft) and with up to 6 people on board.

Some of Onyx’s captains carry USCG Master Licenses.  These allow the captain to operate commercial vessels up to 25/50/and 100 tons and carry more than 6 people on board.

Onyx also hires captains that have added specialty endorsements to their licenses, like a sailing endorsement or towing endorsement.

All licensed captains must meet the USCG requirements that include stipulations like:

  • Passing a physical
  • Taking an approved drug test
  • Passing a CPR and First-Aid course
  • Minimum time requirements for specific on-the-water experience
  • Minimum time requirement for specific vessel types
  • Pass written examinations
  • Upkeep license renewal requirements

Onyx verifies all our captains’ credentials through the US Homeland Security license verification program, and all of our captains have a minimum of 5 years of on-the-water experience.

Offering All Crew Arrangements

Some situations require just one hired yacht captain.  But Onyx can arrange for all crew requirements.  In fact, in some cases, it will be necessary for safety reasons.  For example, all vessels over 45 feet or all sailboats will need a mate on board that can step in for the captain.

Other times additional crew members are requested to enhance the experience onboard.  Having an additional crew means they can cater to your needs while the hired captain focuses solely on operating the boat safely. 

Onyx also offers Chefs and Stewards/ess that can create culinary delights for you and your family or friends aboard, turning your time on the water into a savored moment.  Like our hired captains’ services, our crew services are fully customizable to your needs, from a one-time special event or regular basis contract.

Consideration Of Your Boat and Its Requirements

From within our pool of skilled captains, we find the best fit for you.  A large part of matching our best for-hire yacht captains and crew with you is looking at your vessel and taking in its unique needs. 

What size is your boat? Is it a sailboat or powerboat?  What equipment do you have onboard? What destination will you be cruising in?

There are even differences between vessels within the sailboat/powerboat categories.  For example, monohulls and catamarans have unique sailing performance differences, and we can find the captain that fits you and your boat best.

Focusing On Unparalleled Experiences

Our captains know that the job isn’t done when the boat returns to the dock. 

Even if they were only hired for part of a day, they ensure that your boat is rinsed down and cleaned up to be ready for you to enjoy the next day.  For longer passages, you can expect that your Onyx captain will not only make sure your boat is clean but that everything has been properly stowed and items needing maintenance have been seen to. 

If you wish, the captain can make sure the vessel is fueled and ready to go for your next outing.

If you’d like to learn more about our yacht captains for hire—and our spectacular crew—reach out. We’d love to answer your questions.