From Solving Crimes to Managing Luxury Vessels

In the world of superyachts, where every detail is meticulously planned and executed, there’s a man who brings a unique blend of confidence, assertiveness, and a touch of humour to the helm.

Meet Oliver Lage-Seijo, a seasoned professional now in his second year as a yacht manager at dsnm. With nearly two decades of experience in the police force, most notably as a detective investigator, Oli’s journey from law enforcement to luxury yachts is as intriguing as it is inspiring.

Known for his quick wit and jovial nature, Oli has earned the title of the office joker. Yet, behind the laughter, there’s a professional who knows when it’s time to be serious, a trait honed through years of navigating the complexities of law enforcement.

We spoke to Oli to find out more about how he jumped ship from being a detective to becoming a yacht manager, his first experience of Monaco, and what he sees in store as he looks towards his future at dsnm.

 

Tell us a bit about your last role, did you always want to be a detective?

Oli – No actually, I fell into it. I was a trained chef travelling around the UK and working in hotels. Then I wanted to explore further, so I picked up work in kitchens abroad. I think I was about 23 when I got tired of living out of a suitcase and wanted to move back. The thought of coming back and getting another job as a chef didn’t excite me and I was keen on getting a career but didn’t really know what I wanted to do.

I had some friends who were in the police force who said it was a good career with lots of opportunities, so I applied, not really thinking it would go anywhere. As it happened, I kept getting through the interview stages, and when I went for the final assessment, they offered me a place.

It was in my first year after I joined that I knew I wanted to move into a detective role. It had some mystique around it, and you investigated some serious things using interesting tactics. I qualified for the role about 18 months in and was a detective throughout my career in the force.

How did you end up in yacht management?

I found working as a detective very rewarding and very interesting, but also quite challenging and the older I got, the more demanding I found it. As with a lot of things you do for a long time, you lose the appetite and don’t necessarily have the view you had before. That’s when I thought it was time to move on, and Alicia and David took a chance on someone with no actual knowledge of the industry.

 

So, you don’t have any history with yachting?

I don’t have any history with yachting or the navigation world, no. I saw it as an opportunity to expand my horizon and look at something a little bit left field to where I spent the previous couple of decades.

Originally, I came in to help in the logistics department. Ruth in logistics took me under her wing and she was absolutely brilliant, showing me all the basics and how everything worked in the department, and I really enjoyed coming into work. What drew me in most being here was the fact that it was smaller than what I was used to, everyone knew each other, and it felt like a family. I liked the people and the work, and I found it engaging and interesting because it was a subject that I knew absolutely nothing about. That gave me the opportunity to challenge myself and start to understand something new.

A few months in, a yacht manager role came up and I was asked if it was something I’d be interested in and commit to. When I started in the logistics role it was only ever meant to be on a temporary basis. I took a minute to pause and reflect, everything was going well, and they had trusted me in the logistics department, so I thought, “Why wouldn’t I want to learn a bit more about what the yacht managers do?”.

The grounding in logistics was really helpful in terms of understanding the products that we use and the terminology, so I felt I already had some basic training. Also, I’d got to know my colleagues better and built good relationships with them and I felt quite at home. So, I moved upstairs to start my time as a yacht manager.

 

What do you enjoy about being a yacht manager?

There are many things I enjoy about it. I like that it comes with plenty of challenges. I like that there isn’t a single prescribed way of doing something; if the result needs to be the result, how you get there is up to you, and they encourage you to find your way of doing that.

As a former detective, I’m quite inquisitive, I enjoy investigating things and problem-solving and I found that to be something I could do here. When I got my own fleet of yachts to manage, it presented its own problems to solve, and you’re the first line of defence to the boats queries and issues.

My favourite thing about the role though, is establishing and building relationships with the crew members on board the yachts; you feel like you’re an extension of the boat. You learn to understand how people want to be communicated with, when and what they want to be communicated to them, what issues they have and how I can help fix them; I find it highly engaging and rewarding.

The job has also presented me with a whole load of other great opportunities.

 

Like Monaco last year? How was that experience?

Yes. Going to the Monaco Yacht Show last year gave me the opportunity, not only to connect with the captains and officers in person that I’ve been in communication with through my fleet but also with crew from some of the other yacht managers’ fleets.

Then to see these big vessels first-hand; the bridges, the products that you sell them and how they’re being used, and also the personalities involved, was amazing.

Monaco as a place was just a sensory overload; I’ve never been anywhere like it. It was an amazing experience from not only a personal level but a professional level in terms of reinforcing a lot of those connections, making new connections and seeing how things in the industry work.

I started off getting a feel for it all but by the end of our time there, I was a bit like a kid in a sweetshop. I wanted to spend every available minute out amongst the boats, but it was hard work as it was very hot and involved a lot of walking (as we all know here, I got some pretty nasty blisters), but as these occasions don’t come up very often, you want to maximise the opportunity.

It also changed the way I view what we do, because, to get a lot of first-hand positive feedback in what is essentially a customer service environment, is amazing and that’s the bedrock of everything that goes on at dsnm.

The reputation projects everything forward. I know that’s multifaceted along with the Compass software, and the products that we offer, but it’s important how we (the employees) present and deliver the product and how it’s marketed putting it out there on the shelf. And if you say you’ve got the best product on the shelf in this industry, you’d better be able to back it up, and that is something I think we do. So, hearing that feedback directly in Monaco, rather than hearing it through others, I found quite reassuring.

 

What’s next for Oli?

Our current head of yacht management, Ella, is taking time off to go on maternity leave, so obviously we’ll be sad to see her go, but it’s presented an opportunity for myself and my colleague, Jag. We’re going to be heading up the team in Ella’s absence, and it’s another opportunity that I’m very thankful for.

Working alongside Jag will be good as he’s so easy to work with and I think we will complement each other well. It won’t take long for us to get an idea of who covers what and where things will balance out with certain responsibilities. I think we both bring a good mix of skill and experience. I don’t think there are any egos attached to the role. I think we’re just dedicated to getting done what we need to get done.

 

Finally, if you could afford any superyacht in the world, which one would you choose?

Tough question. If I could afford any superyacht, I think it would be Kenshō. I saw it first-hand in Monaco and I was lucky enough to go on board; I was absolutely wowed by it.

But if there was one that I could go on and travel with, because I’m quite an adventurer and this boat just goes everywhere, I follow their journey on social media, I manage it, and they have a great crew, it would be AquiJo.

Aquijo makes the globe feel small the way they travel. It’s a massive sailing yacht, yet nothing seems off-limits for them. There is an element of mystery attached to it and it is so intrepid, is constantly on the move, rarely stands still, and it just excites me. It seems to explore like no other boat out there.

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