12/12/2011 – 12/15/2011
Capt. Bob – Thank you. Although I am a retired Navy capt., I spent my years in a cockpit, not a bridge! Unlike the good “Coastie” who came the week before. You brought trawlering to life, gave a crash education in all the necessary basics, and boy did the chow beat USS George Washington, my last “boat.”
I enjoyed trading stories of your colorful life with my time in aviation, in F-14 Tomcats and even a few of my time as a prisoner of war Iraq. The wine and story-telling flowed smoothly!
Thank you for all the “helm time,” for your trust in a landlubber, and for your ultimate “final solution” – I won’t give the details of that away!
Fair winds and following seas, shipmate –
12/5/2011 – 12/9/2011
After serving 27 years in the US Coast Guard as an engineer split between sea duty and marine safety from the east, west, and gulf coasts, including two years in Vietnam, I retired as a CW04 in my home state of Florida. The very next day I took a position as a port engineer with internal ship management, managing sulfur ships, grain ships, and ocean going tugs & barges. After 22 years with the company as VP I am “semi-retired.”
My wife and I are both native Floridians and love the water where we seem to be spending more and more time; with that in mind our interest has turned to larger vessels such as trawlers. After surfing the internet and reading various boat magazines we discovered “Captain Bob’s Trawler School Charters” which has turned out to be a week of learning, “by hands on experience,” beautiful scenery, enjoyable company, and great food.
Capt. Bob splits education between classes and hands on- with time for relaxing stops at such palces as “Boca Chita Island” I did not know such places existed.
Capt. Bob passes on his experience and knowledge in navigation and boat handling in a very understandable manner. The experience you gain in docking a single screw vessel will be a valuable asset in your future. And, don’t be surprised if you gain a few pounds from “cabin boy” Bob’s chef capabilities. After watching Capt. Bob eyeing my intrinsically safe flash light during the voyage, I left it among his various gadgets.
Capt. Bob, Thanks for a wonderful week. In addition to the operational skills learned we appreciated the knowledge passed on in the ABC’s of Trawlers- good luck with your hip.
Betty & Jerry – San Antonio, FL
Thanks for making navigation seem so easy. I was always afraid of it. The out of the way places were real neat. We both learned a lot and even with the heat it was enjoyable. Good luck with the hip. Enjoy your sailing trip. Loved those salads! It was a real thrill to dock the boat. Never in a million years did I think I could do that. Les and I had a great time – Thank you.
Chris & Les
October 2, 2011
Miami Mermaid/Capt. Bob,
What a beautiful three days we spend with you. The weather was perfect and the trip educational and fun. From Hollywood Beach to Boca Chita we learned and laughed all the way. The electrical and engine classes were perfect timing for us since we take possession of our new boat later this week. All the little tips you gave us will prove to be very useful in our future boating life. And the stop at Jimbo’s, what a treat. It was great to visit such a local landmark before its gone. Our confidence is at a much higher level now that you have imparted your words of wisdom and shared your experience. Good luck in the future. Hope to see you sometime when we are on the Salty Swan. Take care – hope the hip heals quickly.
Bob & Linda
October 6, 2011
Thank you for three wonderful days aboard Miami Mermaid. We appreciated all the hands on training and the opportunity to see many less-visited spots in Miami. We especially enjoyed our candlelit dinner watching the sun set over the Miami skyline. Dragging anchor was an exciting added bonus!
We’ll be thinking of you in December and hope you have a speedy recovery from surgery.
Thanks for everything,
Rebecca & Chico
September 15, 2011
Dear Captain Bob,
We had a fantastic experience with you on the Miami Mermaid. Thank you for giving us a real “hands-on” look at operating a trawler and navigating our way through the Intracoastal Waterway. We both feel like we learned so much.
And we had fun too! Thanks for showing us some real hidden gems along the way. It reminded us to stop & smell the roses. You food was very good and very healthy too. You’ve got a great thing going. We will speak of your fondly for many years! Thanks again for everything,
Captain Mark & “Sunshine”
August 11, 2011
Being a long-time boater and boat-owner, starting off ironically in the Miami area in the 60’s and 70’s I thought I was “Mr. Know-it-all” when it came to boating!
Always dreaming of living on a boat and exploring different parts of the world, while living on our home on the water. Now- how to convince my wife of almost 40 years? We married young – she was 19 and I was 21 … may take some outside help? After reading about Capt. Bob and his “Miami Mermaid” in Passage Maker magazine I gave the captain a call. Suffice it to say – we both learned a lot, even after a life-time of boating experience!
Captain Bob filters out what you really need to know in a common sense, not too techy fashion. Even if you are not interested in living onboard a trawler (or for that matter any other floating home). We would highly recommended going onboard for the scenery, historical, and entertainment value! My wife is now much more informed and confident regarding handling a large boat and the captain’s method of “hands-on” and “hands-off-do-it-yourself” teaching was terrific! She is just upset to learn she’s not the only “Sunshine” on these cruises J! We could write a whole book on the places we visited and all that we learned! If you’re looking for a “Final Solution” you will find it on the Miami Mermaid with you Captain Bob!
Rudi & Debbie
July 31, 2011
You’ve packed a great deal of knowledge, skill, and joy into three days. This experience ranks high in my list of wonderful life moments – those that we often remember and cherish. Our journeys were fun and our destinations eclectic and beautiful, from sophisticated Hurricane Harbor to unique Jimbo’s place. Let’s not neglect the quaint Boca Chita Key, the historical lighthouse in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, and the night view of the Miami skyline. Hard to pick a favorite! Glad you didn’t ask us to do that; rather, showed us the way and pretty soon we were finding these places and getting there on our own. The lessons were timely, tailored to the trip and destinations, smartly arranged to help but not overwhelm. I was mostly impressed with our ability to maneuver and dock a 40-ft boat within inches, gently and safely, with only a couple of guided trails. Navigation, engine room, rules of the road, it all came in at the right time and place, between snorkeling, sightseeing, relaxing on beautiful beaches, and fine dining at “Chez Bob” – our great chef and attentive host. Thank you for giving us 110% and a marvelous experience!
July 27, 2011
Thanks for everything! It is hard to believe that we could learn so much and have so much fun in only 3 days. I can’t wait to ply my new trade back in NY, assuming I can find a trawler with all my parameters!
Learning by doing was just what I needed. Hard to believe that the engine class was so accessible (even in 90 degree heat) and I finally understood how it all works and how to keep it working. Who would guess it can be so easy to sleep easy at night. Speaking of night, the night maneuver training was fantastic! The water is so peaceful at night and the Miami skyline was gorgeous! Next time I will sleep on the deck (next to my safety noodle).
Thanks again for making this so easy, helpful, and fun!
Eric and I had been talking and dreaming about getting a large boat and cruising for years and even started saving and researching for when “the time came.” I was nervous that we would make a purchase, set out on adventure, and find we lacked skill and/or hated the lifestyle. Then one day Eric found an ad for Capt. Bob’s Trawler School. This was the answer since we lacked the needed experience to charter a bare cruise.
The hands-on, laid back teaching style was perfect for us – me a teacher who learns by doing and Eric the engineer who must see then do. Capt. Bob’s classes were detailed enough to provide information that was practical and interesting enough to keep your head from exploding. Add that to the beautiful spots we anchored in and you couldn’t ask for much more. So glad we stopped in Jimbo’s – what a cool spot!!! Thanks so much for the experience – next step for us is THE FINAL SOLUTION! Chartering then who knows .
Beth & Eric – Wilmington, NC
Thanks Capt. Bob,
For teaching us everything we need to know to go to the next step … the final solution! You taught us from scratch how to navigate and drive a single engine 40’ trawler. You also taught me (Marty) the difference between an alternator and an inverter. Plus … the four rules: stay in your lane, cock-a-doodle doo, 360 degrees, and 45 degrees into the wake. The one thing you could not teach me, how to tie a know, but with practice I’ll eventually get it. Anyway, next step is for Sunshine and me to charter something on our own. The boating world will never be the same. Maybe we’ll even make it down to Jimbo’s one day. Hell NO!!!
Martin & Anne
June 6 – 9, 2011
We had been thinking about getting into boating for a while. We had taken the Coast Guard boating safety course (NJ requirement) but we lacked any hands-on experience. We were looking for a way to gain that when we came across Capt. Bob’s Trawler School ad in a magazine. It sounded exactly like what we were looking for – a way to try out our skills at boating without making a huge investment in a boat. And to determine if boating was really something we would enjoy.
We booked our adventure and we are happy to say we were not disappointed. Our Captain, Fred was a superb coach and teacher – building our confidence as he taught us all about the Miami Mermaid trawler and seamanship. From Dania dock down the intracoastal waterway to Miami – out to Boca Chita island and back – we learned to read the markers, the wind, and rules of etiquette in a relaxed, friendly, environment. Capt. Fred is a hoot! Love his stories and wonderful sense of humor. Meals were great, scenery was beautiful, and we gained the confidence we needed and information we needed to make the decision that boating is for us and we have the skills to enjoy it safely.
Many, many thanks – we highly recommend your services!
Kurt & Sheila – NJ
May 30 – June 2, 2011
Great dinners, colorful stories, lots of good practice on navigation, anchoring and docking. I gained a lot of confidence on handing a single screw trawler of this size. Next step, bareboat charter. Thanks for the tips on what to ask about and look for in evaluating a charter.
Fritz and Janet – Fort Collins, CO
May 7, 2011
4 days later and 5 years smarter … not a bad educational effort for a boat junkie. From turning to knotting, to fendering to the proper laying of an anchor, Deb and I comfortably … and even with a little laughter … brushed up on some old skills and definitely learned some new skills which will only make boating more pleasurable.
Sun, fun, laughter and an education … why couldn’t real school have been like this??
Thanks for a great trip,
Deb & Geoff
April 15, 2011
Fun times, good company, beautiful sights! You took our limited knowledge of boating and completely expanded our knowledge and confidence level. From GPS to paper charts, navigation and boat handling. We are more excited to further our journey and dream to owning and being able to handle our own boat. The food was delicious and laughter in the evenings. We loved the hands-on learning – I benefit fully from learning by doing. What a nice time! Thanks so much!!
Lee and Natalie
March 25 – 27, 2011
Thanks Capt. Bob,
This is just what we needed- a chance to drive a boat in real circumstances and get a feel for our possible future on a boat.
Thank you for your very clear guidance! Thanks, too, for sharing with us your first-hand knowledge of buying and selling trawlers. We’re much wiser (we hope) as a result of the experience and Miami is beautiful on a boat!
Bill & Tina
March 20 – 24, 2011
Thank you so much for an incredible journey! We are sure this is only the beginning. A little food, a little faith, and a little navigation equals a lot of fun and a lifetime of friendships. Thank you for a lifetime of learning in just a few short days. We appreciate and loved your hospitality. The food, conversation were great. The sights were memorable and the last night of stone crab was one we will never forget.
Thank you for your teachings and knowledge. We can never repay you. We look forward to the purchase of our boat and join the best of the best. We wish you all the best and thank you to the ends of the earth.
Trent & Renee – Ankeny, IA
March 7 -9, 2011
What can I say: the flamingo will now go home with lots of confidence in navigation, plotting, and electricity. Let me not forget the 4 rules of the road: stay in your lane, white is right, cock-a-doodle-doo, 360 degrees, Capt. Bobble head, and wakes at 45 degrees and 1800 rpms.
Seriously, the class was exactly what we were looking for in regards to hands-on instruction and common sense training. I am ready to tackle the Gulf Stream and the Chesapeake Bay with the help of a Mr. Know-it-all. When we move the boat April 2nd your voice will be in my head – Lord don’t let me screw up.
Everything was great, the boat, training, food, and Jimbo’s!
Sue & Tom – Richmond, VA
2/28/11 – 3/3/11
Captain Bob is the best! I went from being a novice and very uncomfortable to being able to navigate by chart and visual – piloting – I got it! I am actually able to dock – WOW! Wonderful adventures, sights, ah the meals – great! Can’t brag on Capt. Bob enough.
I enjoyed pulling Capt. Bob’s chain and he enjoyed shouting at me … Stay in the white … “I can’t believe you didn’t run aground”
I will recommend this adventure to all my friends.
Alicia & Jim
2/22/2011 – 2/ 26/2011
Thanks to Capt Bob, we went from not knowing we could handle this large of a boat to feeling confident in our ability to navigate, dock, and anchor out.
We enjoyed great meals and good company. We learned a lot of lessons that we didn’t know we needed to know and will use the knowledge gained from this week throughout our boating life.
Lynn & Elaine – Wichita Falls, TX
2/7/2011 – 2/ 11/2011
Thank you Capt. Bob! Tony and I learned a lot! We enjoyed your humor and simple hands-on approach. We now feel more confident in the world of Trawlers (and bigger boats). Thanks for your patience with us newbies to the boating world.
Cathy & Tony – Cape Cod, MA
2/14/2011 – 2/18/2011
What a great adventure!! Thank you Capt. Bob. The food, the fun, the sun, and the lessons were just perfect. We now feel confident enough to start our own adventures on the seas. Look out USVI and beyond – here we come!
Here’s to keeping it in the white! Safe travels to one and all.
Pat & Cindy – Franklin, TN
– The salads (mmm, hard boiled egg, crunchy things)
– The encouragement to “drink up” the vast stores of wine we brought
– Being made fun of for wearing a suit on arrival
– The mermaids on the boat
– How fast we learned how to navigate w/the immediate hands-on practice
– The ration of work/practice to rest & fun
– The dinners – great vegetables!
– The illustrative lectures on boat buying
– The places we stopped – great anchorages, views
– The dolphins & manatees
– The equal amount of piloting and navigation practice we each got
As teachers, we are extremely impressed by how much we learned in such a short time, yet how much time there was also to relax.
This was a great vacation and an engaging experience. Thanks, Captain Bob.
Julie & Richard – New York, NY
After chartering with friends a couple of times we wanted to become accomplished maneuvering our boat. The Trawler School fulfilled our expectations and helped answer all our questions. Capt. Bob helped us reach our “Final Solution.” We’ll continue to charter for a couple of years max, and then, hopefully have our own trawler. We do feel much more self-confident with plotting and handling the big boat. Great hands-on experience. Thanks, Capt. Bob, for keeping it fun.
Nate & Linda – Ohio
January 2 – 8, 2011
Happy New Year!
I am thinking of buying a boat and a trawler is a favorite after having had a 16’ runabout and later a 26’ Ericson sailboat. However, even the latter was over 15 years ago, so I wanted a refresher course, especially as it concerns bigger boats, diesel powered, and more so, trawlers! Capt. Bob was just the man for the job. He made it knowledge-worthy, practical, and entertaining. I took over steering upon leaving dock and he went over reading the charts, and just when it all started coming back he introduced me to “Mr. Know-it-all” with which charts just give you a more “overall” picture for planning routes and picking anchorages. “Mr. Know-it-all” is GREAT! Thank God for technology. We went down to Miami, stopping along the way at different spots … and beautiful, serene anchorages. Once, with the Miami skyline next to you at night is a must. Capt. Bob was very informative as to navigation with the GPS, boat layouts, positives, negatives, and even helped me to consider some other options, such as his Final Solution …before buying, charter, to see if I am really going to like it enough to spend over $100K on it or if not, consider just chartering 3-4 times a year, which ultimately is like taking a cruise ship for 1-2 weeks, without the crowds, rush and structure. Sound Advice and a GOOD IDEA! Get a friend or two to chip in, as now I can navigate and anchor comfortably, and the trip would be more enjoyable and economical to either afford a better boat or a longer charter.
Thanks Capt. Bob for a very informative and practical experience. Trawler school experience is a must before buying a trawler or any boat and you satisfied my expectations (except for the rum, lol).