After recently getting her captain’s license, 28-year-old Brianna Kerrigan became part of a rare breed. In an industry filled with male captains, a female yacht captain is still a unique thing. A vital member of the yacht management services team at Yacht Management South Florida, we sat down with Captain Kerrigan and discussed her journey to become a female yacht captain.
Yacht Management: Have you always wanted to be a captain?
Brianna Kerrigan: It has been a goal of mine my entire life.
YM: What drew you to the idea of being a captain?
BK: A lot of it was because there weren’t a lot of female yacht captains in the industry and, also, as a Yacht Manager, I wanted to prove to other women that with enough helm and sea time you can do it!
YM: What experiences did you have when you were younger that influenced your decision to become a captain?
BK: I have had a boat since I was 8 years old, so it’s something I grew up doing every day. It just comes naturally for me to go out and run a boat.
YM: How did your experience at Yacht Management South Florida help you when you did your Captain’s Test?
BK: There were always other captains around Yacht Management that were able to help answer any questions I had about the test.
YM: What are some challenges that you didn’t expect?
BK: Charting and plotting a course without knowing your last known position is a challenge. To figure out where you are and how to properly get to your destination if all electronics fail was a challenge, too.
YM: What are some differences you noticed as soon as you became a captain?
BK: As a Yacht Manager, a lot of men, and people in general, treat you with more respect in the industry when they realize that you actually know what you’re talking about, when they realize you know how to run a boat.
YM: Any advice for others who want to get their license?
BK: Don’t get discouraged and do the practice questions in the book, it helps!
YM: Have you ever gotten sea sick?
BK: Yes, but I was in 16ft seas!
YM: Is it true that captains can legally marry people, and if so, are you going to have something prepared on your boat at all times?
BK: Yes, if one of our clients wants to get married on the yacht I can now legally marry them.
YM: Favorite place to sail?
BK: The Exumas, there is a certain magical beauty in the air.
YM: Are you currently the captain of any ship in particular?
BK: Right now, I am still the Yacht Manager at Yacht Management and deal with all the logistics in trip planning, provisioning, services needed onboard, and managing crew on our vessels. I also run the wash crew that details all the yachts in our program.
YM: What’s next for you?
BK: Big things! I look forward to continuing to grow the yacht management services department that I oversee at Yacht Management and expand my knowledge in helm ship skills as the years go on.