For Captains, by Captains

Captains Epaulets. Being qualified a Captain and  actually becoming one are however two entirely different things

The career pathway for Captains towards becoming the Master of a superyacht is well planned and easy to follow.  Find the right educational programme, get the correct grades and rely on crew recruitment agencies to get you yachts that obtain sea miles to get in that all important seatime.

Captains MALCOLM JACOTINE is a Master Mariner with an engineering, computing and business background and has been involved in the superyacht industry since 1989. He has been fortunate to sail on iconic yachts such as EQUANIMITY, SERENE, KATARA, ULYSSES, AVIVA (98m) and ECLIPSE. Malcolm is also owner of a superyacht services and consultancy business that is focused on supporting owners and their teams, helping to improve the ownership experience.

Being qualified a Captain and  actually becoming one are however two entirely different things 

It takes skill and knowledge to successfully captain a superyacht. And as vessels continue to grow in size and regulations evolve, the ownership experience also relies heavily on the competencies and character of the captain. So why do owners’ routes to recruiting and retaining the most talented of captains remain, on the most part, in unchartered waters? 

The answer it seems is because there is none to advise them and there is no specific Captain recruitment agency.

That is about to change now that  OnlyCaptains, the industry’s first executive search and command mentoring service for yacht captains has come into being.


OnlyCaptains is a collaboration between Master Mariners; Malcolm Jacotine and Brendan O’Shannassy.

Captains BRENDAN O’SHANNASSY is a Master Mariner who has held command on some of the most lauded private yachts of the modern era. This has included captaincy of OCTOPUS, construction and delivery of VAVA II (the largest private yacht construction project in the UK (2012)), construction and delivery of the 106m AMADEA and captaincy of ULYSSES / ANDROMEDA. Brendan is also a qualified DPO and licensed Marine Pilot (2014). He is a Board Member of the International Superyacht Society and is owner of a superyacht consultancy established to help owners get the very best from their yachts.

In a combined yachting career that spans more than 60 years, the two of them  have sailed on yachts including Octopus, Vava II, Ulysses/Andromeda, Eclipse and Aviva.

During this time, both captains have been directly involved in the recruitment and mentoring of captains and crew and are now applying their experience and knowledge to a new approach to recruitment that delivers support and results. 

Working as retained consultants mandated by a yacht owner or their representatives, OnlyCaptains researches, identifies and targets captains whose character, experience and attributes align with the owner’s brief and their vision for yachting. 

“Yachts have increased in value, size and complexity over the past decade, as have the expectations and responsibilities placed on captains,” says Captain Brendan O’Shannassy. “By working with partners who share our values of excellence with honesty, transparency and complete commercial independence, we aim to set a new standard within yacht captain recruitment.”

Executive Search

Working in the strictest confidence, OnlyCaptains uses Executive Search techniques underpinned by an established industry network, extensive command experience, structured assessment protocols, and a panel of psychometric tests developed specifically for captains and senior officers in the maritime industry.

“We know from experience that matching a captain to a yacht and client is only the beginning,” says Captain Malcolm Jacotine. “We remain personally invested with our captains and clients through support and mentoring to ensure this most important relationship maintains good health and flourishes.”

As part of a yacht owner’s risk management, OnlyCaptains also provides command assessments for captains moving up to larger tonnage and chief officers taking their first command. This can be supplemented by a tailored training and mentoring package.