Jeff Van Anderson - Florida Manager by Lewis Butler

I moved down to Florida and I'm here to stay! This is yacht capital USA, and First Mate has decided to set up shop permanently here in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

My name is Jeff Van Anderson, a veteran First Mate Yacht Care manager and now the Florida branch Manager. For the past few years, I have been working in Northern Michigan, but as the demand for First Mate’s services grew in Florida, we decided a permanent Fort Lauderdale team would be the best way to handle the needs of our customers.

The added value to the customer by having a team stationed in South Florida is that we can get the absolute best quality people working on a yacht with short notice; we are consistent and available seven days a week, year round. The yachts we work on in here may have slightly different needs than those up in Michigan, but we follow the necessary procedures and precautions that were designed to properly and safely take care of any vessel.  Just recently our team finished working on our second 164’ mega yacht of the season!

Overall, the Florida team is still growing and taking on more and more projects every day. The transition has been exciting and Florida has yielded many new jobs, and even more opportunities.

- Jeff

Our New Facility! by Lewis Butler

There is a lot happening right now, but one announcement we are excited to make is we have moved into a new 3000 square foot facility! We have been sweeping, painting, and organizing. We WILL be ready to officially share our awesome (at least for cleaning cars and storing gear) facility with a little bit of flair and style. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, here is a picture of it before we did a bunch of work!

"Trevor's Tips" -- for a Great Summer by Lewis Butler

Yea, Yea, Laugh all you want, but this was in  Southern Boating Magazine

Yea, Yea, Laugh all you want, but this was in Southern Boating Magazine

1. One of the many things I learned from my Grandpa was to take safety seriously. You don't have to quite go 'full blown Grandpa Duke' with a knife next to every cleat, but going over where the life jackets are with overnight guests is a good start. Here is a good checklist to go through to help avoid any issues while on the water. Does everyone on board at least know how to operate the boat, and the radio if there were any problems?

2. Make a schedule!  Don’t miss out on exciting summer trips due to a lack of planning. Block out some time and make some dock reservations now to ensure you reach all your cruising goals and have a great time this summer! This is easy for a couple, harder with a family, and very difficult with guests; but this is why you have the boat! I did Sister Bay, WI for the first time last year, and it is ALMOST as beautiful and cozy as Northern, Mi. Not to mention it is an even easier trip than Chicago or the North Channel.

3. Add a gadget! Whether it be a new radio with DSC/AIS, a fancy new trinket for the missus in the galley, or a comfortable new chair for the aft deck, go for the upgrade that you have been looking forward to! The more pride you have in your boat, the better. Having new toys keeps it fun!  Two of my favorite toys on a boat I ran over the winter were a GoPro, and a Yeti Cooler. That cooler is amazing. 

4.Get your boat detailed! Why go through half the summer with a dirty boat? Not only will you enjoy it more, but your dock neighbors will respect you more, your broker will be more willing to show the boat, and it will hold it's value. This is a win-win-win-win! We have a great and experienced crew ready to take care of you, call Trevor today at 248-974-8351  or email to book your next service!  


Busy Busy Busy by Lewis Butler

We have been cranking out projects left and right the past two weeks. Here are a few of our projects that we have had time to snap a quick picture of!

Just buffing some tall hullsides on a 164' Westport. Big float and scaffolding for a big job.

Just buffing some tall hullsides on a 164' Westport. Big float and scaffolding for a big job.

The same 164' Westport (one of two we've done) looking great after a buff and wax!

The same 164' Westport (one of two we've done) looking great after a buff and wax!

Matt painting the bottom of a new 39' Tiara Coronet with Trevor checking over the work.

Matt painting the bottom of a new 39' Tiara Coronet with Trevor checking over the work.

The crew working hard painting and cleaning up our new shop!

The crew working hard painting and cleaning up our new shop!

We love freshly buffed and waxed hullsides! Going to look great on the lake this summer!

We love freshly buffed and waxed hullsides! Going to look great on the lake this summer!

The crew hiding from the rain cleaning a lot of cars inside our new shop!

The crew hiding from the rain cleaning a lot of cars inside our new shop!

A clean dock will help prevent you from tracking dirt on your boat. We love a great May day in Charlevoix when the sun is out!

A clean dock will help prevent you from tracking dirt on your boat. We love a great May day in Charlevoix when the sun is out!

We Have Been Busy! by Lewis Butler

First Mate Yacht Care has had a very busy winter! In addition to our boat show schedule, taking care of our Florida customers, doing work in Michigan storage buildings, and growing our Ohio operation, we have been updating a lot of things under the hood for ALL of our great customers.

One major area of focus has been upgrading and improving our accounting and scheduling systems. All estimates and invoices are now just a click away in email format (no more downloading pdfs!) and can easily be paid instantly via credit card. You will be able to access all of your estimates/invoices/payments in one spot! Our new process will ensure you get all of your invoices in an accurate and timely fashion.

Another area of intense focus has been retaining and hiring great staff. To this end we have started an internship program to provide a hands on learning experience for our staff who are interested in how to run a small business. “Team Intern” will be blogging their experiences from the summer on their blog, so be sure to check it out! If you have a special task or advice you want to give to our interns (we’ve got 5 of ‘em!), let us know, we’ll be happy to send them your way! We are also excited to announce in mid November Lewis Butler, who helped found First Mate, rejoined the staff on a limited part time basis.

Cosmetically, we have been doing a bit of work as well! We've got a new logo that we are really excited about. While we love our original logo, it was difficult to screen print and embroider due to the level of detail and number of colors. We've retained our fonts and colors with a new clean and simple look. The website has also gotten a fresh coat of wax. We wanted our homepage to be more visually rich, and for navigation to the information most people need to be just a few clicks away. It is also very easy for us to embed videos as well (our Youtube channel has over 90,000 views!).

There are a few more exciting announcements we have yet to make public, so stay tuned. It is going to be a great summer!


YachtWorld Yacht Brokerage University 2013! by Trevor

Here we go again, another year of YBU. First Mate will be live blogging for the third year in a row! Looks like the usual panels, the 'instructional' part is about shooting video, and a new "best practices" panel.

Of course, please excuse any technical difficulties getting the updates going, Wordpress does not format the liveblog the same as regular posts.

If you have any questions you would like us to ask, let me know!


Scrubber's tan by Brandon

Hey boating season is here faster than we thought! First mate employee Brandon shows off his farmers tans earned for working long hours this week to keep customers happy by making sure their boats are ready for Memorial day! image

When you are outside make sure you're wearing sunscreen so you don't end up like him!

Putting Depths to Scale by Trevor

XKCD is a very intelligent comic, and pretty much every post has something to do with science. Every so often there is a large format comic explaining some macro scientific concept. Today's is talking about depths, likely brought about by James Cameron's recent dive. It does a pretty good job explaining how massive the ocean is. Be sure to click the image for an expanded version, and read all the fun facts (a few are jokes, but some good trivia in there!).

Krogen Express Rendezvous by Jeff

The last weekend this march was a perfect time to enjoy the tropical weather at the South Seas resort on Captiva Island, Florida which was the Rendezvous of eight Krogen Express Yachts.

After washing four of these boats from superstructure to hull that weekend with the one and only Trevor Duke, I realized how luxurious this style and size of boat would be as an owner / operator.  Just big enough to throw a party and withstand rough seas with its vee hull (semi-planing!), but not so large that you need a crew to maintain it.

As a fairly new employee of Trevor's, I sat in on my first yacht care orientation of his with all the Krogen owners there.  And much to my surprise, there was so much more that I have yet to learn from the master.  Knowing when to use the right products, tools and methods to cleaning yachts might as well be an art.  I guess the most important thing I learned from this orientation is the importance of a proper weekly wash for your yacht.


Buffing Paint? by Trevor

Castlefinn Starboard upper

In Michigan, 4/5 boats are gelcoat, and it is a fact that they will have a date with buffer coming up in the next year or so, whether a rough one, of just a smooth kiss and a light polish, something is coming. Having a coat of paint, especially a hard paint such as Awl-Grip, will keep the shine and protect the boat longer. However, even the toughest paint will get abused, especially in the hot sun and salt of the tropics. Buffing on paint requires slightly different techniques and slightly different products, but the science and the idea is the same. We are polishing the surface, and removing all surface contaminants. We are not grinding through the paint, or removing any of the surface. Just polishing. CASTLEFINN is a 112' Westport we did for the Westport display at the Palm Beach Show.  

Take a look between Jeff (Left) and Aidan (Right). Aidan's shadow is much more clear than Jeff's. That will give you an idea of how much more shine we had after buffing by Aidan.

Superstar buffer Aidan! If you look in the window, you can see the reflection of PRIVACY, as the job was done at Old Port Cove, Privacy's home port.

Working with Billy Black! by Trevor

I had a great time helping the world renowned marine photographer Billy Black take some photos on the 58 Cranchi recently. Myself and Christy were  not only cleaning the boat for the shoot, but also helping stage lights and occasionally modeling (looking fabulous) for the pictures.

I am so impressed by Billy Black. Not only is this many so knowledgeable, and so good at taking photos ( you really should check out his site, especially the J-class stuff), but also such a hard-working and nice man. It seems like every day of a boat show, he is already setting up his equipment by the time we are walking on the docks, and we are usually the early bird! But also, he is always smiling and making jokes, and just a joy to be around.  With Billy's permission I will post some pictures, but in the meantime you can look for them in the upcoming Swimsuit issue of Southern Boating magazine!

Maybe I can show I slight preview...

Property of Billy Black!

Strictly Sail Chicago 2012 by Wynand

After a long (22hr) drive from South Florida, we arrived in the "Windy City" for a serious detailing session on 9 sailing vessels.  With one day left before the show started, it seemed a daunting task having hardly slept on the way here but, we managed to come to the party and got everything done on time!  Three Hunters, four Catalinas and two Seawards.

With the Chicago Sail boat show now in full swing here at the Navy Pier exhibition hall, we can sit down for a moment or two and enjoy the warmth and hospitality of all the organisers and volunteers who have gone through a lot of trouble to make this event a truly magnificent experience.  Plenty of food and drinks of of all sorts to go around at very reasonable prices.

Fun activities for the whole family includes a jumping castle for the kids, model boat racing on an indoor pool as well as a small life sized sailboat simulator to try out your tack and jibe skills without getting wet!

With interactive seminars all throughout the day and plenty of boats, boat gear and clothes to look at, or buy, it would be time well spent for people of all ages.

More to come!


2012 YachtWorld Yacht Brokerage University Liveblog! by Trevor

YBU Handouts
YBU Handouts
YBU Handouts

[liveblog] Coffee is being consumed, and things are about to kick off here!

Please bear with us as we figure out this liveblog! It is not letting me correct my typos....


Dry Rack Boat Storage, Pros & Cons by Trevor

The blog has an article about why you should and why you shouldn't store on a rack or In/out. A few points that I did not think of, and I do recommend the article for anyone considering it. One consideration I did not think of was the fisherman's schedule:

Worse yet, if you’re an angler who wants to leave at dawn and you fail to call in your request before closing time the evening before, you’re out of luck.

There are plenty of In/out locations in Grand Haven, and St Clair Shores, and of course Florida, but Northern Michigan does not have any. A few owners will get their boat pulled when not using, for many of the reasons advocated by this article, but obviously at a much greater cost than the typical "boatel".

2011-2012 Boat Show Line Up by admin

We know the summer is not over yet (and we plan to enjoy it quite a bit more), but we have started planning out 2011-2012 boat show circuit.  Whether you are a customer or a broker, there is a lot to be excited about (and to do!).  Customers, if you are thinking about going to a show, please let us know so we can get you some passes into the show.  Brokers, we'd love to get your boats looking great!

The Ungraceful Practice of Launching a Ship by Ryan

Everyone is familiar with the Pomp and Circumstance of a typical boat launch in dry dock - A lovely lady or proud new owner ceremoniously wastes a bottle of champagne while attempting to damage the bow hull of the ship while well dressed onlookers clap and drink free booze. Usually well dressed waiters serve finger food and everyone talks about their vacations and offshore holdings in Untaxableistan. Almost as if by magic, that big hunk of metal is in its slip the next day, ready for high seas action. How does it get there? Well, it isn't all that graceful or refined! Check out this great video montage of ships getting dropped into the water. It really looks...wrong!