If there’s one thing Black women will do, it’s excel on land, in the air, and of course, by sea. That’s why it’s no surprise that a Black woman filling a niche in an overwhelmingly white leisure boating market is making waves — literally.
Captain Nashawn Taylor is the genius behind the country’s premiere paint, sip, and sail boating experience, Be You!. But her journey to the company’s current success was not met without its challenges.
Taylor, also a trained police officer, was stunned to find that there were so few Master Captains chartering yachts were Black women. She used her job on the force to find a way to merge her love of water and boating with her every-day work. She realized this would be a stepping stone to getting into the yacht industry.
“I said, what if I just join the marine division [of the U.S. Coast Guard]? The marine division is a special operations division. It’s one of the most elite in the police industry and it’s male dominated,” she says. “In order to get into that unit you had to do obstacle courses, you had to be physically fit. Most women hardly ever try out, but for the most part I was an athlete growing up, and the love of the water was a passion for me.
Her experience while training was “extremely intimidating,” but she knew she couldn’t quit. “We did a lot of high-risk training, and had to perform at the elite level, and it’s very stressful,” she says. “But because it’s male-dominated, I knew it couldn’t fail.”
Her hard work paid off. Taylor not only passed, she was one of very few Black women to ever get a high score. And that was just the beginning. Taylor even convinced her son — who was 26-years-old at the time, to take the test as well (which they took just days apart from one another). And of course, he passed as well.
“We are family — mother and son who both became Master Captains,” she says. “This is the highest ranking level with the U.S. Coast Guard. He’s also a part of my business.”
She continued, “We studied, and when I say it was hard, that’s an understatement.”
On the police force for the past twenty-two years, Taylor spent years of research and planning before she launched Be You! Charters, a unique boat charter company that coordinates ““the one and only, artistic paint and sail charter,” offering personalized, stress-free, yacht charters in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Captain Taylor (affectionately referred to as Captain QT by her clients) offers two options for her guest’s yachting experience: the “luxury” yacht comfortably seats eight guests, while the larger “lavish” yacht offers more dance floor and open-air deck space.
The savvy entrepreneur knew yachting could be for anyone with the means to enjoy it. Especially as the first Black-owned business in the DMV of it’s a kind. Based near the National Harbor in Fort Washington, Maryland, guests can expect to paint on wine glasses, which will start on the pier before taking off to sail for the yacht party.
For more information and to book with Be You! Charters visit beyoucreate.com.