Tom Collins, a longtime charter broker who earned as much respect from fellow industry members as he did his clients, died on December 26. He was 66 years old.
Raised in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Collins attended the University of Massachusetts, getting a degree in political science. But politics wasn’t his ultimate calling. He started his yachting career in the 1970s in Miami, at a Morgan Yachts dealership. (Morgan Yachts was a fiberglass sailboat builder. Designer Charley Morgan established it in the 1960s in Largo, Florida. Catalina Yachts acquired it in 1984. It then became the Morgan Division of Catalina, focused on cruising and charter boats.) Collins earned a promotion to manage Morgan Yachts’ charter division, which offered bareboat operations. Eventually, upwards of half a dozen boats were under his management.
The biggest impact on Collins’ career, however, came in late 1983. That’s when he attended his first charter show in Antigua. The event brought together crewed charter yachts, not bareboats, all available for holidays in the Caribbean for the winter season. Collins decided to focus on crewed charter from that point onward.
It was a move that paid off in spades. He took Tom Collins Yacht Charter Services, which he founded in 1979, and turned it into Tom Collins Yachts Worldwide. He went from booking Americans aboard yachts less than 100 feet to matching clients from multiple countries with yachts and megayachts upwards of 200 feet.
In 2006, Collins joined the Miami office of Burgess. His collective contributions to yacht charter earned him the 2015 Charter Professional of the Year award from the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA, now the International Yacht Brokers Association). Collins was a member of both FYBA and the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association. He remained an employee of Burgess until his passing, from “a courageously fought illness,” according to a statement from Burgess. “Professional, passionate, and charismatic to the last, Tom will be enormously missed by all those he touched,” it adds.
Tom is survived by his wife Barbara.