Making money along the way... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-09-2011 Thread Starter
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Making money along the way...

I'm a code-monkey (read: software developer) by trade... and last I heard, they aren't in much demand amongst the better cruising grounds. I don't plan on our cruising years starting out with barely a cent to our names, but sooner or later budgets get blown and I reckon I'll need to earn my way until the next cheque comes through.

Got me thinking, what do people do out there to scrounge a buck or two when running short? Technically, I'm an electrical engineer by qualification, but it's been a while since I actually practised much of what I learnt and, in any case, microchip design and so on also seem uncalled for on the beautiful beaches and islands we intend to visit.

Given I have some time to get trained up before we head out, what would people recommend as a back-up skill?
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-09-2011
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Finding work ashore while cruising is very difficult - legal and qualified work that pays well almost always requires a local visa which is usually practically impossible to get. Doing (illegal) work means that pay rates will be lower and the labour tending more to unskilled, which pays even worse.

Certain skills that you can use on boats with other cruisers might augment your cruising kitty, but most likely not enough to survive. Plumbing, wiring, electrics, radio, welding, fiberglassing and such knowledge is more important than cpp or Java.

I met several liveaboards in St. Martin who did work from their boats for other cruisers, but that boat work wasn't enough to live on.

Cruisers tend to be pretty self-reliant and, I hate to say it, cheap.


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post #3 of 17 Old 03-09-2011
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Getting anything electrical/electronic fixed is always a problem when cruising but without spare parts it would difficult to do the work.

Setting up charting/weather systems on laptops might pay if you had the latest software to load. It took us 9 months to find someone to get out sat phone to talk to the laptop weather/chart system because of a modem software problem and we gladly paid him $100 as he also loaded a charting system.

Phil

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post #4 of 17 Old 03-09-2011
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The cruising environment is very hard on laptops, we have three on board that are failing progressively...2 dying mouses and a soundcard.

Anyone who could fix them would be very welcome.

Phil
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post #5 of 17 Old 03-09-2011
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I'm one of those individuals that can make money anywhere I travel--even while onboard. For the past 40 years I've been a freelance outdoor writer and photographer. Additionally, I'm an entertainer/musician. Consequently, I can produce magazine and newspaper outdoor articles along with the supporting photographs for a large audience. I've already lined up two publications for my trips during the upcoming summer.

In 2012 I'll be headed south from Chesapeake Bay to the south Florida Keys. I've already lined up a couple music jobs there, plus I'll still be writing travel and outdoor articles for a half-dozen publications if my mind doesn't go to Hell first.

My point is you must think outside the box. Forget about how you made a living in the past and think about ways to make a living doing what you love doing--sailing. I spent nearly 15 years of my life making a living in Cardio-Pulmonary Medicine--not much of a demand for that on a sailboat.

How about getting your captain's license and taking out day trips on the boat. There's always a demand for day trips, especially in resort areas. There are lots of crash courses that prepare you for the licensing exam and if you meet the criteria there's no better way of making a living with your boat and most of the folks I know that do this love every minute of it.

In NSW (New South Wales), and I assume that you will be cruising that area of the world, there must be a myriad of locations where you could take day-long cruises to one of the islands where your passengers could disembark, eat lunch or dinner, tour the island, then sail back to their home port. There are a few folks that I know of in the Chesapeake's upper reaches that make similar excursions and it provides them with a fairly good income. Some make up to 4 or more trips a week, depending upon the weather. One offers a Bed & Breakfast/Cruise combination on a 50 footer, which can involve cruises lasting up to a week.

Just something to consider,

Gary
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-09-2011
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Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
.....How about getting your captain's license and taking out day trips on the boat. There's always a demand for day trips, especially in resort areas. There are lots of crash courses that prepare you for the licensing exam and if you meet the criteria there's no better way of making a living with your boat and most of the folks I know that do this love every minute of it......
I just happened to speak to someone who felt exactly the opposite. He said the day tripper had only one thing in common, they would all be drunk, all the time. He hated it.

I also assume that you would want to consider insurance for a charter business, which means you will have to do some just to recoup cost.

Skills that I find are in most demand by boaters, where the owner isn't even sure how to rig something to get by: refrigeration, diesel, electrical. In that order. Sails, rigging and carpentry, are skills that most feel comfortable at least patching up temporarily, which reduces their value to pay you. When on the open seas, I understand you are more likely to barter than be paid in cash, however.


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post #7 of 17 Old 03-09-2011
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As a software developer, couldn't you do some work long distance? Float the idea past your colleagues and contacts. If not, you might "make money" by saving money. Keep your equipment simple and be prepared to do your own repairs.
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-09-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input, guys, taking notes and discussing with the Powers-That-Be (i.e. wife).

As for software development, yes, technically I can develop from pretty much anywhere in the world... provided I have a decent connection with which to discuss things with clients and/or send & receive data. It's the connection that is the problem, not the ability to do the job. I've been successfully working in a home-office for sometime now, but it has an ADSL2+ connection to handle the almost nightly upload/download of 400Mb interim software & data updates.

Perhaps retail software is the go.
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-09-2011
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Originally Posted by BentSailor View Post
Thanks for the input, guys, taking notes and discussing with the Powers-That-Be (i.e. wife).

As for software development, yes, technically I can develop from pretty much anywhere in the world... provided I have a decent connection with which to discuss things with clients and/or send & receive data. It's the connection that is the problem, not the ability to do the job. I've been successfully working in a home-office for sometime now, but it has an ADSL2+ connection to handle the almost nightly upload/download of 400Mb interim software & data updates.

Perhaps retail software is the go.
Why not setup a development machine somewhere with a decent conection and merely remote into that machine to do your work. There are many online services for this like Logmein.com. If you are firewall savy you could set this up using RDP or SSL telnet.

Tim R.
Our Carina is for sale
1997 Caliber 40LRC

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post #10 of 17 Old 03-09-2011 Thread Starter
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Because you need a pretty decent connection to do that too An SSH terminal connection (i.e. text-based connection to the server) would work but I wouldn't trust marina connections to be reliable enough for a reasonable VNC style interface (be it Citrix or otherwise)... but now I'm falling into geek-speak in the sailing forums!

Development remotely is not really a big deal, but a non-insignificant part of contract development is client relations. Hard to do that (with integrity) from a boat in the middle of the ocean and an unpredictable connection to the Internet. Retail development might work, but I am not sure how well contract development might go.
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