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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sailing/dive partner and I have been looking for team crewing opportunities on multiple crew finding sites, but unfortunately they have not been of much assistance. Even after uploading our resumes, the jobs that do show up on the websites are limited and very far away. We do have experience, and we want to learn as much as we can about sailing, but so far it is proving difficult to find that opportunity.

We have a San Juan 7.7 in the Chesapeake Bay that we have lived aboard every summer since the summer of 2012 when we purchased it. We have crewed on a 30 foot Bristol for a single man on his own personal journey from Stuart, FL to Beaufort, SC via the ICW and a brief period off shore.

So in a way, this is two posts in one:
1. Where can we find more crewing opportunities?
and
2. If you need crew, we are available!
 

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Beneteau 393
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You can find more oportunities on your own boat. I am not being facetious, though I sound like it. Consider your proposal the other way around: if your boat was in the tropics and was gently cruising up and down the islands would you need crew?

Mum and Dad on a cruising boat just don't need other people on board unless its Great Aunt Polly for a 3 minute vacation.

They sure don't need a bunch of free loaders captured off the internet who could turn out to be drug smuggling vegan ratbags who insist on anchoring next to a dive site instead of near the French bakery.

So that leaves you with professional crew jobs that means you need your STCW95 and you will be carrying a tray, or swabbing decks for 16 hours per day. And they will never anchor where you want...


Mark
 

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As usual I mostly agree with Mark!

We have twice tried to take crew for long trips, over 2,500 nm, but they jumped ship when we pulled into a boatyard to do a weeks work before the trip. Scraping and painting the bottom in 90 deg weather appears to be the best way to get rid of young crew...

Now we only take old and trusted friends two of whom have each sailed over 5,000 nm with us and will be on board for the 4,300 nm from Panama to the Marquesas.

Your best bet is to take your own boat down through the Bahamas to the Caribbean. I know a couple with a 12 yr-old daughter who managed it both ways on a 26 ft boat!

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well I can assure you we are certainly not drug smuggling vegans. Though we are young, we understand that there is a lot of tedious and not so glamorous work involved with up keep of any boat, and we are 110% willing to do all that grunt work, because we know it's a part of the process, and we honestly want to make a career out of sailing/diving. We did a lot of that kind of work while living at our marina, as well as managing our own dive business throughout the summer. Our San Juan has no luxuries, so we're not expecting to be spoiled. We just want to find any chance we can to learn.
 

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Just curious, what is it exactly that you think you are going to learn that you can't on your own boat? Is it an income issue, that holds you to your current locale? I know people who think this is the impediment, it is not. I've cruised with many people who find work in the areas that they cruise, from the NE to the Islands.

I guess I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish (also agree w/ MoSL), most people I know that want to crew don't own a boat and are gaining exp. thru other peoples vessels. You already have a 25 foot boat. I met a couple of 18yo Canadian kids (Knotty Bouys) that made it all the way to the D.R. on a 26 footer. So... again...??
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We're not trying to get into sailing as a career for the money. On the trip we went on from FL to SC, he paid for our travel expenses to get to him, fed us, and helped us with certain financial obligations. I understand being under a captain of a personally owned vessel will vary from captain to captain, so we are very open minded when it comes to that. Again, we do want to do this as a career, so we are willing to be on board for any duration of time, anything that will help us further our chances of making sailing a reliable career.

glymroff: I can understand why you would be confused. Having our own sailboat has given us much experience, our only issue with long distance trips is our motor. We have a short shaft and a rig job and no swivel bracket. We have limited resources and finances, and motors aren't really cheap. And during the winter we come home to WV, so we're not near our boat or any consignment shops to keep an eye out for anything that could be of assistance.
 

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1. What does making a career mean to you? If you aspire to own a dive boat then you need to start with getting a 6 pack license. If you aspire to work on mega-yachts you need professional merchant mariner credentials and need to start collecting licenses.
2. Being a team may be hurting your chances. I never take on a team, particularly if they are not experienced. It is too easy (and has happened to me in the past) that it is "the team" vs the Captain.
3. Being young, poor, and a team is hurting your chances. It smacks of "we would like a free ride vacation." If you are willing to pay your way to and from the boat, pay your fair share of food expenses (plus 100% of your booze and recreation expenses) you might find it easier to find a boat.
4. What is the quid pro quo? Diving, photography, and cooking are skills just about everyone in the crewing small boat game has in common with you. Fixing just about anything that breaks is also a skill that most offshore skippers already have. What unique talent do you have that would make me choose you? Don't tell me you have a guitar and want to bring your dog for a transatlantic voyage (that actually happened to me in Tenerife in the Canaries!)
5. Can you demonstrate that you handle stress? Many offshore sailors joke that transits are days of boredom interspersed with hours of pure terror.

I don't mean to put you down or be negative. But getting started is very hard. Most of the time it means being in the right place at the right time. And frankly, it has become very competitive. When I was in the Canaries for the November-December annual transit from Europe to the Caribbean there were 600 people more people who wanted to crew then there were crew slots. The going price was for you to pay the Captain 1000 euro per person for the privilege of crewing across the Atlantic.

Best of luck.

Fair winds and following seas :)
 

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We're not trying to get into sailing as a career for the money.

Again, we do want to do this as a career, so we are willing to be on board for any duration of time, anything that will help us further our chances of making sailing a reliable career.
No Quarter... This is why people are confused with what your goals are.

svzephyr has given you some good advice
 

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So let's look at it from the other side.
Assume passage of >1000m, 40-60'craft,owner on board.
1. Couple- bad on small boat with 3-6souls on board. Us and them dynamic. Risk of the couple v. everyone else. I would avoid couples except as live lumber.
2. Never done that passage before. No asset when filling out insurance form.
3. No blue water experience. Actual detriment when filling out insurance form. They may require additional crew.
4. No demonstrated skill set. Owner gets to pick crew why pick you with many other choices out there.Many offer less concerns.
5. No references. High risk for owner.
You may find work on mega yachts but don't think it likely on the usual type of cruising sailboat. Owner has too much at stake. Too little room to be carrying two people who don't work out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We are not inexperienced. All I have tried to stress is that our 3 years of sailing versus many other sailors with decades of experience, we know we have a lot yet to learn. We have crewed before and we have sailed our own boat. We do want to make a career out of sailing. What I meant was that we are not expecting to become owners of a megayacht, we don't want to get rich, but we would like to earn a living. And if it starts out at not getting paid, I don't see how that is freeloading. If we are willing to give our time and effort to assist someone else on their mission, I would see it almost as volunteer work. We're just trying to find a stepping off point to further our careers.
 

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Look on the websites of different offshore races. The Pac Cup, Transpac, Vic Maui and such are often crewed with the skipper/owner's buddies and not everybody can always make the trip back. Also, some singlehanded skippers may welcome the help to either deliver the boat to the start, or home from the finish.
It's worked so well for me that back in June I had to turn someone down!
 

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Well to start with I’d say you are looking in the wrong place. Here, SA I’ve no idea how well it works out.

Crewfinders? Works for some.
Most replies on this forum tend to be from folks sitting at home on a computer. Telling you why you can’t do something. Most of who don’t appear to be the kind who hire crew or get hired as crew.

I’m just one of the most. I don’t hire or hire on.

You want to get some miles, Try contacting delivery companies directly, send them your resume, they often take extra crew. Be prepared to go alone.

If you are serious about working in this “industry” you need to get qualified.
Where do you want to work? Different requirements in different places.
In US you will need a green card or citizenship plus US Qualification’s contact training schools.
Else where you made need RYA. Again contact training school.

A marine training school, get basic Marine Emergency Duty certification, and a Basic Deckhand Bridge lookout any one who needs STCW 95 crew. This is what they need.
It’s where you start, at the bottom.
Get an RYA super yachtsman offshore in 6 weeks or what ever call it. Your still at the bottom.
It’s the STCW Emergency duties and being a STW Qualified lookout which is what they need.

Once you have the STCW requirements contact crew agencies. The real ones who will actually find real people for real boats. Usually have contact info and advertise for crew at marine schools.

Get a load of experience with your shamwoa or sponge working on deck Then your 6 pack, 100 t, RYA offshore might mean something. To some one who needs a hired crew and they might consider you for a mate or skipper.

Despite the sales pitch from sailing schools if you are on this side of the Atlantic and you want work and make an actual living wage on the water. Go to a real academy or training institution and get the entry level certification.
It has an advantage not only can you get hired on a Big Yacht, if that don’t work out you can get hired on all sorts of commercial boats. Anything from whale watching to tour boats to ferries to super tankers.

At one time I made a few bucks teaching sailing, It paid for some of my beer, not all of it. I enjoyed it. I got asked to do a few deliveries, paid for a couple of six packs.
I did some time volunteering with a sail training association, and got a few offers of paid work crewing on big boats. It was a long time ago and far away, world may have changed but they were asking because they knew who I was and I was referred.
In any event I chose to keep sailing as something I do for fun.

Best advice I can give you is get a real job, and go sailing when and where you want.

From what I could see, making an actual living out of sailing, is rare and you probable need to own the business. Organise it and get other people to work for beer money.
 

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With some very rare exceptions I have found finding (decent) crews a real challenge. There is a shortage of experienced crew which doesn't come as a surprise; if I was experienced and without a boat I would seek a paid position, that seems fair enough.
So what I find on crewing web sites range from:
" looking for a ride from A to B" I read "I'm looking for free transport with no intention to help or contribute"
" I have no experience but want to see the ocean" I read and experienced " a passenger reluctant to pay his/her share of food and drinks"
" I have no experience but willing to learn" I experienced " pretense to be learning but losing all interest after trying to learn to make a bowline knot"

I always give specific details about my boat, myself, the planned sailing and what is expected from crew in terms of work and financial contribution but very rarely get any details from the would be crew.

As usual I guess I'll sail single handed :D and that is a lot more relaxing than having to watch crews that would not learn.

Fair winds,
 

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NoQuarter,

Well, now we have all been negative...I will attempt some positive thought that I have seen be successful at my sailing club in Miami, Coconut Grove Sailing Club. Which is a low cost basic sailing club and not a yacht club!

People who take a sailing class and then turn up for the "work weekend" and offer to help get invited as crew for 'rendezvous,' some of the races or just weekend sailing.

People who help me fix my boat always get to go sailing...trips have included a week in the Bahamas or Caribbean, Puerto Rico to Canada and back, Miami to St Thomas twice, crossing the Caribbean followed by a week diving in Bonaire twice and this year crossing the Pacific.

My advise is find a basic sailing club and let it be know that you will work for sailing opportunities. Putting on the dive gear and cleaning the bottom of my boat always gets you a couple of days sailing.

Formal certifications are important if you expect to make a living...If you expect to be in the dive industry then you need to be a Dive Master or Instructor. Go to the local dive shop where you spend the winter and become a Dive Master. Easily done across a winter.

Good luck Phil
 

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People who take a sailing class and then turn up for the "work weekend" and offer to help get invited as crew for 'rendezvous,' some of the races or just weekend sailing.

People who help me fix my boat always get to go sailing...trips have included a week in the Bahamas or Caribbean, Puerto Rico to Canada and back, Miami to St Thomas twice, crossing the Caribbean followed by a week diving in Bonaire twice and this year crossing the Pacific.
Phil is on to something really important. For delivery crew and crew on Auspicious I want people with good judgment and good attitude. Sailing skill and experience is secondary. I can teach skills and experience comes with time. I can't teach judgment and I can only encourage attitude.

I haven't found a good way to discern judgment from a resume. An inkling comes through in an interview. Working side by side on a sailing club work day or on a boat project judgment and attitude quickly become very apparent. Of course showing up is a good start. *grin* You'll know who gets invited on a day sail as appreciation, and who goes on the crew list for an offshore passage.
 

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Dave obviously has judgment but would like to add slightly different perspective.

If crew doesn't have basic knowledge base to very rapidly learn my navigation system I can't let them stand solo watch. If they can't "read "the AIS and radar I can't sleep. If they have no experience with the sailing systems on a boat my size they are at risk to break something and I can't sleep. If they don't know how to sail they don't know how to trim and my daily log suffers, my sails flog, my gear is unnecessarily stressed and I'm up looking at trim so I can't sleep.

If they can't use the Ssb effectively while I'm asleep I will miss messages on the rally net and I can't sleep. If they don't know how my boat should sound and feel they won't know when something is wrong and how serious it is so I can't sleep. I can't feel comfortable they will know when to wake me. If they don't know basic boat systems when something breaks they won't know enough to help me fix it. If they have no storm experience they must for safety's sake be viewed as unreliable until proved otherwise.

I think most owners can sail their boats by themselves. Most boats under roughly mid 50' are single handable. Most watches are done by one person with captain "on call" or if experienced crew second crew on call. Most owners are looking for crew/captains so they can sleep without worry.

Now for the tough love. Looking at the OPs original post. They have sailed their own small boat in coastal settings. They don't report any offshore experience. They mention no training in boat systems or navigation or weather or any of the skills necessary for me to sleep without worry. I am not surprised they are having trouble.

Turning to credentials. I've hired several captains and recruited crew through agencies like OPO. I care less about certificates be they licenses or coursework then experience. Have they done this passage or something similar?. Have they owned or run a boat like mine? Do they have a skillset I can learn from? If the answer is yes to these questions they get first crack at the slot. Will accept equivalencies . Just had great crew. He was experienced gung-ho crew racing of boats in my size range. Owned a smaller j boat he also raced.Had raced in weather. Never been offshore but was great crew for passage.

Think OP needs to decide if they want to crew in a big boat (>60') or small yacht. If small the licenses don't count for much. Think most owners of small yachts look at that stuff last. Know a bunch of delivery captains without licenses or ASA credentials. The RYA stuff is worth a look.
 
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