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A Day in the Life of Captain Kelly

As part of our 'Day in the Life Of ' series, we’ve taken the opportunity to talk to some truly inspirational professionals in the yachting industry, delving into their working lives, how they got to where they are today and what they love about the yachting industry.

A Day in the Life of Captain Kelly Gordon

The amazing Captain Kelly J. Gordon, or just “Kelly” as most know her, is an accomplished motor yacht captain who grew up on a farm in a small-town in Indiana. Her drive to succeed, learn, and thirst for adventure has led her to a highly accomplished career in yachting.


As a former chemistry professor, Kelly loves to teach and pass on her knowledge in order to help others around her grow. Her desire to inspire and encourage comes through in her role a superyacht captain onboard a 33metre superyacht. In this exclusive interview, captain Kelly shares her story.

There hasn’t been a day in 15 years that I didn’t want to jump out of bed and go to work!"

Kelly J. Gordon Captain-Master

Kelly J. Gordon

Captain-Master 500 GT

  • Nationality: USA

  • Number of years in yachting: 15

  • Superyacht Size: 33m

  • Number of Guests: 8

  • Number of Crew: 5

  • Season / Charters: Private, Summer Great Lakes, Winter Bahamas and Caribbean

What is the best part of being a yacht captain? "The people! Hands down, the best part of being a yacht captain! I cherish the relationships that I not only have with my crew, but also the locals that I meet and befriend in all of the different countries I have been fortunate to travel to."

Pinpoint Works Yacht Captain Kelly Gordon

Tell us a bit about your journey of how you became a yacht captain?

"It was an odd one! I grew up in Northcentral Indiana, on a farm, literally in the middle of a cornfield. The furthest from yachting that you can get! However I moved to the coast of NC for graduate studies, where I obtained my MS in Chemistry. Upon taking a college teaching job, I befriended a local who was very involved in the community. She invited me to an event aboard a yacht, and the rest is history."

Pinpoint Works Yacht Captain Kelly Gordon

How do you create a positive and fun atmosphere among the crew?

"I’d like to think that I’m generally a happy, smiley, upbeat individual anyhow, so it comes somewhat naturally. I am my authentic and genuine self 100% of the time, and I think that makes a huge difference. So, if I’m happy, you know it, but if I’m sad or frustrated, you know that, too. And I think that really fosters a safe environment for my crew to be themselves. Once you have that, your atmosphere will naturally follow to be fun and positive. And I love to play and have fun at work. We are always trying to laugh when we can, but get serious when we need to."

What’s the funniest or most amusing request you’ve received from a yacht owner or guest?

"I wouldn’t call this a request but rather a way I handled a situation with an owner after he told me to give the crew the night off.

He quickly realized that he had given the chef the night off, too while forgetting that I cannot cook! I can mess up a pot of boxed mac and cheese! So, he walks to the back deck with a box of Frosted Flakes, two bowls, two spoons and a carton of milk and says, ‘Well, it looks like this is what we’re having for dinner!’

This was one of the most memorable moments. Seriously, can you just imagine? What a cool human!"

What unexpected challenges have you faced while navigating different waters or ports?

"I can’t really think of any ‘unexpected’ challenges. Rather, I can think of challenges that I have encountered but leave out ‘unexpected’ because I try to think and prepare for any possible scenario that may come at me. In the forefront of my mind, though, is the most recent rescue that I was involved in. Transporting an incapacitated individual from boat to boat to shore to plane to ambulance while in a remote location is very challenging. But having prepared to the best of my ability and due to the friendships made in the local area, we successfully accomplished the rescue."

Yacht Captain Kelly Gordon

What is the most rewarding part of being a superyacht captain?

"I would say that my answer is the same as my reply to question 1, but it’s also rewarding to be able to travel to some of the most amazing corners of the world! But being a captain also offers me a great intrinsic reward too. I love the challenge of navigation and weather, and boat handling, too. But that is such a small fraction of my job. So, again, it’s my crew!

"What would you say to anyone dreaming of a career as a yacht captain?

"Do it! It is life-changing and so rewarding! Stressful, yes, but so, so rewarding!

There hasn’t been a day in 15 years that I didn’t want to jump out of bed and go to work!"

LinkedIn @Kelly Gordon

Yacht Captains can use Pinpoint Works to manage their onboard work lists and streamline communication with the crew, contractors, management companies and owners teams. To find out more get in touch.


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