The Burner Yachtie: Why Yacht Crew Excel at Burning Man.

For those of you unlucky souls who’ve never heard of Burning Man, well brace yourself. You’re in for a mind blowing, life changing, insane art festival full of the most diverse and interesting people from every square inch of the globe.

What is Burning Man?BurningMan14

Burning Man is a festival of 65,000+/- individuals who come together to set up a city (zip code: 89412) complete with a private airport (88NV), city center (center camp), and multiple city blocks in a horseshoe shaped grid – 264 blocks to be exact. It’s all there for a week and POOF! Gone without a trace. You drop a rhinestone or bottle cap, you’d better pick it up you MOOPy (Matter Out Of Place) Monster.

It’s all about art, music, radical self-expression, inclusion, self-reliance, and the “now”. You volunteer, you participate, you gift, you leave the Default World behind. Don’t expect anything in return, but maybe a hug and the experience of a lifetime. You can be who you are, or be who you’d most like to be. No one is there to judge – well, maybe a little, but most likely, there is someone weirder, freakier, and a whole lot crazier than you and I – combined.

Now this might not mean a damn thing to you, or it might sound like a bunch of dirty peaceloveandhappiness hippies smoking trees and ravers popping E. It’s not. Well, it is because they are there, but so aren’t the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, humble housewives, rocket scientists (yes, really), small children, sparkle ponies, fist pumping frat boys, the class nerd who built something mindblowingly incredible, your best friends grandma, pompous celebrities, and yes, quite possibly the owner of your yacht. See radical inclusion. All walks of life show up.

So why do us yachties really own it out there?

ArtsyYachtiesWe charter.

Every good crew member knows what goes into planning an amazing charter. You need to have a menu planned and provisioned to a T. You won’t find that jar of caviar you forgot waiting for you on a remote island you’re anchored next to.

Neither are you going to find that extra can of tuna out deep playa. Can of Spam? Maybe. Water, vodka, mixers, chips, nuts, night chocolates. Those are all things we think about when we’re provisioning for charter. Those are the same things we think about when provisioning for the playa. Make sure you have everything you could ever need.

Nobody wants to forget that extra 12pk and start the Great Burner Beer Drought of 2014.

We pack it in.PlayaSkull

Peek inside all of your hatches, cabinets, and under bed storage. Are they are filled with every ounce of crap you could ever need while you’re away from shore? Most likely. Never get caught with your pants down in front of guests. They pay you to think of everything.

Just as you are limited by the amount of hidey-holes you have on board, you’re limited to your duffle bags and mode of transportation out to the playa. When you’re stumbling around in the dark and trip over that unlit rebar, you’ll be glad you packed those extra large bandaids and tube of ointment.

Always be prepared.

We’re organized.

How many times do you need to make sure all the soda cans face forward? Do you know exactly how many bottles of mini shampoo you have in your backup drawer? 47. Oh, and 46 bottles of conditioner next to them. Yep, it’s an OCD industry that thrives on knowing the exactly location and count of everything down to pink flamingo napkin rings. Weird? Maybe a bit.

Remember the last example I used about a tube of ointment? Well, if its organized, you’ll find it when you need it most. (It was actually in the medkit, top side, lower right hand corner, and no, I didn’t need it this year.)

We live without communication to the “outside” world.

Most of us anyway. Please see The Flyer for an example of those of us who can not. <insert eyeroll> Unless somethings changed, I’m sure Mother Ocean has not installed floating cell towers for our social media obsessed convenience. And some of us still lack the luxury of VSAT on board. Boo…. could you imagine reading a book as a form of entertainment?!

Burning Man is in the middle of nowhere, BFE desert. Yes, there are still places in the good old US of A that do no have cell service. Ek! However, the rumors are true, Burning Man had some service this year! I was able to send and receive text messages. Was that a good thing? Yes and no. It’s a real test of your 21st Century Will to go without Facebook and Instagram (#selfie/#yolo/#vomit) for a full week.

I did it, and I survived.

We can shower with a gallon of water.

Ever been on a small boat or sailboat? You might be floating on water, but until it’s been desalinated and put through the tank, you’re probably not going to shower with it. So you’re usually limited on the size of said tank. Using unnecessary water on a boat is wasteful and frowned upon. A seasoned yachtie can shower in no time flat.

At Burning Man, there aren’t bathrooms. Just portapotties and those disgusting water trucks used to keep the dust down. Don’t be a dirty hippy and run behind the water trucks. It’s non potable water and you’ll just end up more filthy. Disentery anyone?. So, this brings up the issue of showers. You can either use the limited amount in your RV (if you can’t rough it), use a small sun shower, or good old fashioned baby wipes. Either way you’re limited on water and tank space available for showers.

Just like a boat!

BurnNightWe do long hours.

I love those friends who bitch and complain about 12 hour days – 3 days in a row. Get over it. I’ve had charters where I get up at 6am and get to bed around 1:30am… the next day. No breaks and I didn’t get to think about dinner until after 11pm. We do this a minimum of 7 days. Sure after the last MLC, regulations have changed, but not for private yachts under 50m. Point is, we know hard work and long hours.

How long does it take to drive from Fort Lauderdale to Salt Lake City, UT? Roughly 52 hours with regular stops and a detour or two. Plus another 11 hours to BRC. How long does it take to set up a proper camp? All. Damn. Day. Isn’t that the point though? Create a camp people want to visit. Be proud of what you’ve done. Then, party all night long at a sound camp it took a week to build. Hard work pays off no matter if you’re on the water or in the dust.

Don’t (most) yachties live by the “Work hard, play harder” mentality?

We entertain guests with theme parties and wear ridiculous shit.

Ever dress your deckie up in a bunny costume for Easter brunch while hiding baskets around the boat? Yeah, its normal. How about all those boat show parties? Well, Burning Man is the biggest theme party of the year. You choose your own theme and go with it. Run like the wind. Want to wear a rainbow tutu with pasties, combat boots and some fishnet gloves? Doesn’t matter that you’re a guy, go for it! Just don’t wear anything logoed – it’d be like wearing fur at a PETA convention.

Leave Prada and Loius at home.

We already come from an industry of Misfit Toys.LadySassafrass

I joke about this constantly. The yachting industry is filled with Misfit Toys, sometimes, stuck on an island. We all have different backgrounds and different reasons for leaving the comforts of Mommy’s House to join the “dazzling” world of Big White Boats. Whether its the crew we’re living with or the guests we’re serving, there is bound to be a handful of freaks, geeks, and weirdos you come across. Most of the time you have be sweet as pie to these people, whether you love them or hate them. Or you could be like that asshole on Below Deck and leave a penis towel on their bed, whatever floats your boat.

Nervous about all the colorful band of characters you’ll meet in the desert? Don’t be, everyone there is happy to be there and just trying to live the “now”.


Some of these examples may seem a bit out there and may not paint Burning Man in the greatest light – comparing work and play is never fun. Describing Burning Man is near impossible. Every burn for every person is different. Even Burning Man can’t describe Burning Man! They use this experience. If there weren’t enough links for you in this post, I can always add a few more. Haha.

Bottom line. Everyone one needs to go, at least onceIt’s the way life should be.

P.S. If you didn’t click any of the links, you’re lame. Theres tons of interesting things in there. Jess sig2

One thought on “The Burner Yachtie: Why Yacht Crew Excel at Burning Man.

  1. Pingback: True Value of Your Job | Aft Decks & Anchors

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s