With 15 locations in the United States as well as Costa Rica and Mexico—including four full-service yacht yards—Galati Yacht Sales is one of the largest privately held yacht dealerships in the world. It’s been family-owned and -operated since 1970, when Michael Galati Sr. moved from New York to the west coast of Florida with his wife, Anna Maria, and their five children, including Carmine. As kids, the Galatis all grew up in the boating business at the family marina, eventually assuming responsibility following their father’s untimely death in 1992. With the third generation now on board, the future looks extremely bright.
Q: You won the International Masters Angling Tournament in 2017 in Los Sueños, Costa Rica. What stands out about that event and that win in particular?
A: The most memorable part of the experience for me was celebrating the win with my fishing mentor, business associate and friend [Viking Yachts president] Pat Healey. It was amazing to see him enjoy it as much as I did. It really was a culmination of our work together over the years. One thing I like about fishing the Masters is that no one can tell you what to do when you’re fighting a fish—it’s all on you to get the release as quickly as possible, which is pretty cool. I look forward to that event every year.
Q: Team Galati also won the combined 2020/2021 series championships of the Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown. How did you manage to stay focused in such a stressful event?
A: I have total confidence in the team we’ve put together. We have a unique group of individuals who work well together, and who all perform at peak levels in their respective positions. Everyone is 100 percent committed, but we also stay calm, respectful and humble. There’s no yelling or shouting—we’re all working together in a competitive situation, and it’s a really smooth system, no matter how stressful it might seem.
Q: How do you run a successful family business without squabbling with your siblings?
A: It’s really great—we have 27 family members working with us in the business, and yet there hasn’t been a single key decision we’ve made that has not been completely unanimous. We’re not big on job titles. What we do have is an unwavering commitment to each other and also the principles on which our company was founded, which started with my father. We all know that we can always count on one another to do our part to ensure that collectively, we are always performing at a level that exceeds our customers’ expectations. Over the years, we’ve worked very hard to build a solid foundation that started with the principles, morals, ethics and respect with which we were raised. Those principles have become a part of our DNA.
Q: Galati Yacht Sales recently expanded to the US West Coast. What will that mean for your business?
A: It gives us a huge opportunity to build on that foundation and to deliver the best value to our customers, from Key West, Florida, to Seattle, Washington, all the way to Alaska and Hawaii. We’re also able to expand our team in those new areas and recruit the best in all the different areas of our business—from sales to service and support.
Q: When did you first meet Pat Healey, and how did your friendship develop?
A: I first met Pat in the early 1990s when I was managing our service department, which I did for 18 years. We were servicing a lot of Vikings, and one day we talked about becoming a dealer. Through those many years that he and I have spent working and fishing together, we have developed a strong bond of friendship, and we continue to enjoy the boats, the fishing and the experience of sharing all of that with our customers. It’s truly a passion for both of us. And both companies are also family-owned businesses that have third-generation family members playing integral roles.
Q: Will we see a 3,000 hp diesel engine anytime soon?
A: I think we are moving in that direction, but with the disruptions on the workforce and supply chains caused by the pandemic, I am not sure when that will come into play. The good news is that the boatbuilders—including Viking—are designing boats that are more efficient in order to maximize the existing horsepower.
Q: What are your favorite destinations?
A: It is no secret that Costa Rica is my favorite place—I love the scenery, the people, the water and the fishing. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and the Gulf of Mexico round out my top-three favorites. We have some great fishing here in the Gulf; you just have to run a little longer to get to the blue water. I always have a blast doing just about any kind of fishing, but I’d have to say that my favorite species to catch are sailfish and marlin—it’s always a thrill, and it’s never the same fight.
Q: Any other hobbies aside from fishing?
A: Not really—my hobbies are the business and fishing. That’s what I do, what I love, and what I continue to enjoy doing each and every day. And I’m good with that.
Q: You were a relative latecomer to the sport. How did you develop your ability as an angler?
A: My responsibilities in the business kept me from venturing too deeply into the angling arena until about 20 years ago. I was fishing in Costa Rica with Pat and a longtime customer and friend, Bob Hixson, who recognized that I needed to further develop my skills in the cockpit. Fishing alongside Bob and Pat, I was able to not only become better, but I also developed a real appreciation for the work, skill and knowledge that goes into tournament fishing.
Q: What advice would you give a broker who’s just getting started in this business?
A: Bring as much value to the customer as possible. Anyone can shop for a boat on a computer these days, even on your phone. A good broker adds a tremendous amount of value, which is critical.
Q: How will the next generation of Galatis shape the future?
A: The third generation has been deeply involved in the business since they were young. Just like we were when we were growing up, they were running around the docks, helping clean boats and doing all kinds of other chores around the marina at a very young age. By the time they got to high school, they were receiving company emails and developing a sense of familiarity with the business. Each of them went to college majoring in different areas, such as sales, finance, management, marketing and human-resource management, and after graduation, each has made the choice to return to the business. We have begun to step aside in some areas to allow for the next generation to spread their wings. They often visualize things differently than my generation, and it really is eye-opening to see it from a new perspective. They are the future.
This article originally appeared in the February 2022 print issue of Marlin.