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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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Old 07-28-2011
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Sailing Career..?

Hello,

First I am new to the forum and sailing and I just wanted to say that I am glad this website exists. I am currently an undergrad at University of WI but am having my doubts about that route through life. I am very interested in sailing and traveling and would like to become a crew member beginning either around the start of 2012 or in mid may. Is there any one out there that is making a living doing this and wants to tell me about what is good/bad about it? I have next to no experience, but would LOVE to gain some.

Thanks you!

Joe
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Old 07-28-2011
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first step would be to get your Able Seaman cert. this would allow for you to be a crew member on a commercial vessel. from there it is getting sea time. when you reach 360 days of sea or something to that effect you can take the class online or in person to get your 6pack. from there it just keeps going up with licenses and more time building. the list goes on and on.

Last edited by OtterGreen; 07-28-2011 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 07-28-2011
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you can make a living, and at your age, work should be readily available..commercial work, you will need deck card of some sort, twic card, and safety/fire training...often hard physical work in all weather, and you will be on board weeks at a time, sometimes months.

Private charter is a bit better on the body, but often you need a skill...diving, cooking, mechanics or prior boat experience. Many times you can sign on as crew, pay is not much but the experience can be awesome, travel, and the boat to yourself several months a year, if you have a good owner. Accomodations for crew will be sparse but overall conditions quite good.

A lot of times you can find work by introducing your self as a rookie to a boat owner/captain and they may take you on a trial basis...but you would need to sell yourself, honestly. Most captains/owners have awesome BS detectors, and will not risk the boat or crew for crap attitudes or egos.

Be prepared to learn a lot, and you have to enjoy the outdoors.

best of luck
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Old 07-28-2011
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remember also, just because YOUR job is done, dont think you are finished working. I looked into a job that was offered to me through a friend when i was a helicopter pilot, ferrying richies to the yacht. their assistant informed me when you arent flying your cleaning the helicopter, when your done with that you are expected to be cleaning the boat or helping another crew member. now, not for nothing, i dont put myself above another or think i was better than them .. but, for the same pay i could sit in my air conditioned office when i wasnt flying and not do a thing. aircraft was clean? no flying? then i sit my happy self in my chair till a flight comes up. lazy? maybe a little bit, but i didnt spend all the money for flight school and bust my hump to scrub decks on my time off.
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well lucky for me i do enjoy the outdoors. when you say deck card of some sort do you mean the able seaman certification or is that something else?

and i dont mind helping out other workers, im assuming that i would be starting at or near the bottom and would like others to help train me and get me some more experience

thanks
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There are a couple of paths that you can take to do this. The most common ones are to work on a private yacht or a passenger carrying vessel.

If you talk to people who work on private yachts, their experiences are all over the place. Unfortunately, most private yachts tend to spend a lot of time sitting in a harbor waiting for the owner or motoring to the next harbor. You will spend most of your time cleaning something or serving someone.

If you go the passenger carrying route, you can do something like a windjammer or one of the larger vessels. Again, you will be cleaning and serving people a lot and the pay tends not to be quite as good. These vessels tend to be underway most of the time which is nice.

There are other ways to make money sailing such as deliveries but these tend to require more skill.

As for certifications, what you need depends on what you are trying to do. A surprising number of jobs don't require any cert, especially for an entry level position. If you interview well and seem excited, you should have no problem finding something, just be aware that the focus is not sailing usually, it is hospitality.
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ok well at least there will be sailing involved. so it sounds as if the way to get these jobs is to show up and talk to the owner. are there any specific places where i would have the best luck traveling to? like I said I'm in WI so wherever I go (unless there are jobs to be had around the great lakes), Im assuming it will be one heck of a drive.

thank you all for your input so far it has been helpful

Joe
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Joe,

If you are looking for yachts, they are pretty much all over. There are some hubs for them but there are few populated areas with harbors that don't have them. Some of the yachts will post online on crew wanted pages. Nothing beats going there and talking though.

As for commercial sailing vessels, the most densely populated area is the Maine coast which has a bunch of schooners. Daysail boats tend to be spread out all around the country. You can search for these boats online pretty easily by typing in words like daysail, charter, windjammer, cruise etc and a state name. Several states also have educational boats which you can find online. There are some class A and B tall ships that cover a lot of ground but not many of them are US flagged. If you want to work on one of the large boats like the ones owned by Windjammer Barefoot, you can find them by searching for sailing cruises. There are way too many boats to list (and I am sure there are plenty that I am not aware of) and I am not exactly sure what you are looking for.
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Ok, I will have to do some serious searches. Ideally I would find a catamaran, a trimaran, or a tall ship to get experience upon.

Yachts, and commercial sailing vessels would be great to gain some experience from as well.



I will plan on going to Maine then, I am also looking into a boat building there if things don't work out.

Thank you

Joe
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Old 07-28-2011
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Joe
Also consider Newport RI. Countless megayachts spend summers there and the YRS "yacht restoration society" is there that has classes in classic wooden boat restoration.
Jim
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