Originally from South Africa, Debbie began her professional career in the fashion industry in New York, working for none other than Ralph Lauren. Having discovered the yachting industry while visiting Miami International Boat Show with a friend, and driven by a desire for a change, Debbie went to work as a yacht stewardess, visiting almost every port in the Mediterranean and Caribbean along the way.
After two years on board, Debbie moved to Cannes and began a career on shore in charter management and charter retail. “From my time as a chief stewardess, I knew what was involved in carrying out a successful charter, and that’s really how I learned to be a charter broker,” she reflects. “So, when I moved ashore, looking after clients came naturally to me.”
In 2019, Debbie was one of the first retail charter brokers to join Moravia Yachting under Hill Robinson’s ownership. “I was drawn to the company’s ambition for expanding Moravia and its willingness to invest in a brand-new version of the company,” she explains. “I was excited to join a brokerage that had history as well as lots of new plans and ideas. Since then, the team has grown to incorporate some great people with lots of experience.”
“I was excited to join a brokerage that had history as well as lots of new plans and ideas. Since then, the team has grown to incorporate some great people with lots of experience.”
Debbie’s strength as a charter broker stems from her passion for organising and logistics: she loves planning itineraries with clients and organising events on board, whether it’s a massage or celebrating a special occasion. She particularly enjoys organising fun and engaging charters that involve all the guests.
First and foremost, however, Debbie recognises the importance of interacting with her clients and the crew. “I have a lot of discussions with my clients prior to a charter to get to know exactly what makes them tick, I stay in touch with them during the charter and then have a conversation afterwards about what went well and what didn’t,” she adds. “This way, I can let the crew know the maximum amount of information prior to the charter, I’m available 24/7 while the client is on board, and I can debrief them afterwards. By going the extra mile, I have had repeat clients for the 20 years I’ve been a charter broker.”
As such a seasoned charter broker, Debbie has had almost every scenario possible thrown at her. This extensive experience has taught her that there is a solution to every problem: “I’ve had floods on board and engine breakdowns during charters, but I always try to have a ‘Plan B’ so that I never disappoint the client. The role of a charter broker is to remain calm, be present and work on a solution, because ‘no’ is not an acceptable answer.”