The Crew


We are able-bodied seamen aboard Heron, well trained and extensively experienced. Confident in our boat and respectful of the sea, we are more comfortable weaving our way throughout the water traffic of New York Harbor or facing a squall 1000 miles offshore, than driving a car or crossing the street.

Coast Guard regulations for a T-Boat (Heron’s Coast Guard classification) are stringent and unapologetic.  Crew are part of a drug consortium, complying to random testing anywhere in the world. In addition, crew requires extensive training in fire-fighting, life-saving, crowd control and crisis management by a U.S. Coast Guard certified school.

Captain and first mate of Heron hold licenses exceeding the required. While a mate is not required a license at all, she holds a 100 ton Masters license for Inspected Vessels internationally, while the captain holds a 200 ton of the same class. Heron is a 32 ton vessel.

Cameron McLellan has been Heron’s skipper for 8 years. Gentleman of all background gather around him at the helm while he regales them with stories of his 37 years of commercial fishing in Alaska and the Gulf of Maine.

Shannon Carleton has been Heron’s mate for 7 years, and is the heart and soul of Heron Yacht Charters in operations and hospitality.  She collaborates with each client to facilitate their vision, ensuring that each charter is unique. Onboard she is hostess and first mate, executing the plan to ensure that the client is the entertainer of the season.

Dylan Renkens is chief steward. He has worked in the finest homes is NYC for the last 20+ years, and is fondly recognized by the majority of our clients. He brings a level of sophistication and class to the service that is invaluable.

Jodi Topping is one of Heron’s original crewmembers. Originally Shannon’s shipmate on a passage from Dominica to New York in 2001, Jodi has served as fellow sailor and steward aboard Heron on and off for the last 7 years. Her warmth and fondness of both sailing and hospitality are remarkable.

Last, but certainly not least, is Andy. Unnoticed by most guests, she is the small dog laying quietly in her bed next to the mast. She has trained with the crew in Coast Guard procedures, even alerting the captain when guests approach “Crew Only” signs to  restricted areas (yes, this is true).

Once we have cast off, our primary focus is on the sailing, where seamless communication among the crew assures both the safety of all and allows for gracious attention to the guests.  It is the personal relationship we have with our clients that allows us to work as hard as we do. It is a shared pleasure, and a labor of love.