Capt. Brandy Miles brings home Disciple Ship from Atlantic City

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

If you were to ask Capt. Brandy Miles how she got her new 46-foot Viking, she'd say "It was a God thing."

The five-year captain, 32, had been searching online for a multi-passenger boat for several months.

"I'd been checking ads religiously," Miles said, when a 46-foot Viking with a certificate of inspection popped up online.

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"I really never heard of a Viking in my life with a multi-passenger certificate," Miles said.

Miles called the owner of the boat in Atlantic City, New Jersey, who had a small fleet of boats, and questioned him.

Capt. Brandy Miles on the bridge of her new boat, Disciple Ship, in Destin Harbor.

"Are you sure?" she asked. He confirmed the certification.

Still not sure, Miles called him back to confirm the price of $60,000 to make sure there wasn't a typo in the ad.

"I'm thinking it has to be $160,000 or $260,000. Everything I had looked at was a minimum of $180,000 to $600,000. I said there is no way," she said.

He confirmed the price.

At that point, she asked fellow captain Mike Eller if he would go up to Atlantic City with her to check it out. 

"I trust his judgment. He's had a successful business," she said, noting he's like an uncle.

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So the week after the Destin Fishing Rodeo, they flew to Atlantic City.

"Brandy wanted another set of eyes to look over the boat with her," Eller said. "We flew up and met the owner to go through the boat. We couldn't find a reason not to buy it."

Capt. Brandy Miles recently purchased this 46-foot Viking in Atlantic City, and will tag it Disciple Ship.

The boat was just as it was described online.

"After sleeping a night and praying on it, she knew it was the right boat for her," Eller said.

The Journey

Miles, along with her dad Capt. Jimmy Miles and Capt. Chris Michelson of One of a Kind, flew up to Atlantic City on Nov. 16 to bring the boat home.

"It was the most amazing journey and doing it with my dad was super special," Brandy said.

They left Atlantic City and went via the Atlantic Ocean down to Norfolk, Virginia.

"At most, we were about 15 miles offshore, but most of the time we hugged the coast being the wind was terrible," she said.

Because of the bad weather, they took the intracoastal at Norfolk to Coinjock, North Carolina.

"That was a super cool place and the food was amazing," she said.

Next stop was Belhaven, North Carolina, also on the intracoastal.

"It was again a super cool little place ... like a little 1960s town," she said.

The next morning they headed to Beaufort, South Carolina, where they ventured back into the Atlantic and got to Charleston about midday, got fuel and headed down to Jacksonville.

"The weather was getting terrible again so we pulled in to Jacksonville and did the intracoastal again," she said. 

They got all the way to Daytona without stopping and then got up the next morning and headed to Stuart. At Stuart, they passed through the locks and crossed Lake Okechobee and over to Fort Myers.

However, they did run into a problem at the locks. The locks were scheduled to close at 5 p.m. but closed early at 4:30 p.m. that day. So they had to find a place close by to stay the night.

A hand-lettered sign marks the slip for Capt. Brandy Miles' boat Disciple Ship at HarborWalk Marina in Destin.

They found a marina in Moore Haven and stayed at a place called Grumpy's.

"It was fun ... by far my favorite spot," Brandy said.

The next morning they made it through the locks and to Fort Myers and into the Gulf of Mexico.

They came right up to Panama City that night.

"I was so glad to see lights when they finally shut the boat off," she said.

The next day they made it to Destin, for a total of 11 days on the water and one day of flight.

"It was crazy," she said.

But the thing she'll remember most about the trip were some of the stops along the way.

"Probably the coolest thing was the war ships in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. They are etched in my brain. These giant, massive war ships were so cool," she said.

"But the coolest thing about the whole trip was doing it with my dad," she added. "He's got so much experience and I had never done anything like that ... just doing that kind of trip with him was super cool."

The Boat

This is Brandy's second boat. Her first was the 5th Day.

"I knew when I bought the 5th Day it was my three- to five-year boat, my stepping stone, it gets me in, gets me some knowledge," she said.

But then she was ready for a bigger, multi-passenger boat.

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"I always thought I'd need an investor or something, because most of the guys do. But the fact that I can say my boat is paid for and it's mine. I don't have a partner ... it had to be a God thing. There is no other explanation," Brandy said.

Following along the lines of her Christian faith, she named the 1982 Viking boat Disciple Ship.

"I always want to be able to just speak for the Lord and keep the conversation open and not offend anyone. And so I always wanted to name my boat Disciple Ship, but when I bought the 5th Day I knew it wasn't my forever boat. So I thought when I get to buy the boat that I want and pick the boat, then I'll call it Disciple Ship," Brandy said.

5th Day is named after the day God created the birds and the fish.

"And the second thing is you've got to become a disciple, right?" she said.

The Disciple Ship is a 1982 model and loaded with luxuries.

It has two galleys, one upstairs and one down. A full kitchen with microwave, stove and refrigerator. It has a full bathroom with a walk-in shower, plus full bunkrooms that can sleep six.

The boat can take up to 15 passengers and a crew of four.

"I probably won't ever put 15 on it, but it will be good for kids and a lot of families," she said.

Capt. Brandy Miles sits in the cabin of her just-purchased boat Disciple Ship at Destin Harbor.

"I won't have to turn down trips now," she said, noting the 5th Day was just a six-pack boat.

The Disciple Ship also will carry a federal permit for those federal water catches that are 9 miles and beyond.

"It also has a lot of upgrades that I didn't have on the 5th Day," she said, such as auto pilot, radar and a bigger fuel tank.

The Disciple Ship holds 700 gallons of fuel as opposed to the 180-gallon tank on the 1967 model 5th Day.

"It's like a whole new world," she said.

In the next few weeks, Brandy will be adding a live well on the back deck of the boat as well as a fish box.

As for the color of the new boat, "purple ... shinny and purple," Brandy said with a smile on her face, noting it's her favorite color.

"When I look down at all the boats they have a light blue or a light green on the deck ... and I'm the only female down here doing it, why not be girly. Why not say this is a girl's boat," Brandy said.

The captains' chairs and controls of the Disciple Ship, which is docked at HarborWalk Marina in Destin.

And as the only girl captain on the docks, she said that has worked out fine.

"Most of (the captains) watched me grow up ... so a lot of them are like uncles," Brandy said. "Most of them are real cool. It's almost like we're family. We just really have a good group of captains right now ... we really do."

The Fishing

"I love families, that's my thing. I'll take people that want to go hard after them, but I would really rather just see parents with their kids," she said. "I love top water fishing, that's probably my favorite."

But when it's snapper season she'll be ready to go get them, although she loves catching kings and sailfish.

Her plans are to be ready to fish in March aboard the new boat.

But for now, she's just thankful for the Disciple Ship.

"I told the guy (in Atlantic City) I think you've been just taking care of my boat until I could get the finances to pay for it," Brandy said. "It was definitely the experience of a lifetime.

"We're ready to do it," Brandy said.