The reason I can afford to buy a 41 ft boat and refit it for offshore at 24 is because my Mommy and Daddy are rich and give me everything. Just kidding. I'm a Forest Firefighter. I work for the provincial government in British Columbia, Canada. Because of the terrain we have in B.C. our forest firefighters are a little better trained than most other fire crews and thus a little better paid. There's nothing complicated about it. I have a good job,I work hard, I'm good at what I do, and I'm good with my money. As far as crewing, well if you're serious about taking a boat offshore is sounds like you might want to get some more relivant experience but that's easy to find. You might not be able to get paid for it but there is no lack of opportunity in any well cruised area for a young guy to get some bluewater experience. I've been sailing my whole life. I'm a Canadian Yachting Association instructor but I don;t have any other tickets or licenses other than that. I believe sailing is partly experience and knowledge but largely your ability to deal with things as they come up. Common sense and inginuity. I think if you're even thinking about cruising in a few years you should go for it. I was a little unsure about taking off when i should be starting a career but now I'm confident in my decision. Thirty isn't what it used to be.