Ben Kane is an agent for the CIA.
If you asked him, he was a former CIA contractor now running a charter boat in the Caribbean. If you asked his boss, you would either be told he was a deep cover agent on call when needed or told "Kane who?"
Kane was a highly decorated river boat captain in the Vietnam War. When it ended, he moved back to his beloved Caribbean waters to find work and found it in the employ of Cord Weaver, a CIA operative he had met in Vietnam. Weaver needed someone who could haul items from one island to another and Kane was the perfect man for the job. Each mission, though, became more and more dangerous and less like a simple transport service. As his life was constantly put on the line, Kane decided enough was enough. Weaver wasn't having any of it, though.
The final mission was playing a gun runner to Cuban-back rebels in Central America. When the rebels try a double-cross and promised backup by the CIA never showed, Kane barely survived. It marked the end of his employment with the Agency. It also marked the end, in an explosion, of a million or so rebel dollars.
And suddenly Kane had the funds to buy his own boats to truly start his sailing and deep-sea fishing operation. Life would finally be peaceful.
As the series starts, Kane enjoys his life owning a charter boat service with an occasional side trip to find, buy, and deliver yachts for wealthy clients. He lives aboard a 50-foot twin-mast Chinese junk called the Wu Li with his two parrots, Andy and Sandy, and does not miss the old days whatsoever.
This is that time that Weaver comes back into Kane's life and proves there is never retirement for people like Kane.