Doug grew up in Elk Rapids, Michigan, boating and sailing recreationally. He started working in the sailing industry at the age of 17 as crew on a charter catamaran and continued to work summers there until he graduated from Michigan State. Doug then moved to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and worked as a charter captain for 7 years and sailed most islands between Dominica and The Bahamas.
Doug moved back to the mainland in June 2011 to work with Great Lakes Sailing Co. teaching sailing and maintaining the fleet. Doug holds a USCG 100 ton near costal masters license and ASA instructor certification for 101, 103, 104 and 105.