With over 27 years of yachting experience, Captain Sandy Yawn has chartered yachts from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. Being only one of a handful of female captains in the mega yacht industry, she has overcome many stereotypes and conquered every imaginable obstacle both on land and at sea. Captain Sandy was on Bravo TV’s Below Deck Mediterranean as the show’s first female captain aboard the 154-foot mega yacht, Sirocco.
How did you get into the marine industry?
I was 13 when I started washing boats for money and I loved it. Later in life, I got back into it. It wasn’t a career that I pursued, because I didn’t really know there was a career in yachting. My life took me somewhere else, then at 24 years old I reconnected with the marine industry.
What is an experience that you will never forget in your beginning stages of boating?
My first trip to the Bahamas, seeing howclear the water was. It felt amazing to realize that this is what I’m going to experience in this industry. I felt like a little kid at Disney World — seeing the fish, dolphins, and the beautiful crystal turquoise water.
As a woman captain, have you come across guests that do not trust your experience, solely being a woman?
I know I’ve been turned down for a captain position because I was a woman. The only reason I knew this was because the yacht manager told me. I think once a guest steps on board with me and sees how I operate and that I am in charge, they begin to gain confidence in me and my ability.
If you had to choose a favorite crew member of Below Deck Mediterranean, who would it be?
I don’t really have a favorite. I enjoy helping anyone that is interested in becoming more than the position they hold. That really stands out to me, and to get to mentor someone like I was mentored, is a great opportunity. When I see people that are interested in the industry, I’m going to get behind them.