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Discussion Starter #1
hey guys. i've been hanging around this forum on and off for quite a while now. i've got few questions concerning a certain topic that i've been thinking about for a while, and it is particularly difficult to find answers in this area.

i've heard often about the job of being a private boat captain. you know, the guy who gets paid to live on a nice yacht full time, keep it spotless, keep up with maintenance records and stuff, and most importantly, deliver it to where the owner wants it, when he wants it. i know a few people who have done the job but i don't see them regularly. what i know is that it's typical modernly for them to make 1k per year per foot of boat.

my questions are, what are the usual requirements for this job? a 6-pack license might help i'm sure. a college education would look good. i've been told cutlery is a good skill to have on your resume...

but what is the real down low on this job? is it impossible to get? how do you find employers? has anyone done it? i'm in the middle of college right now, and thinking about trying to do a job such as this when i get out. all advise is welcome!
 

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I studied for, and obtained, my 100 ton ocean operator's license in 1978,- I think they call this a master's license now. If you read, study and learn well, it's yours! Document some experience! My immediate offers, with the credentials, were running crew boats out into the Gulf for the oil companies, but it put me on the list for all the private vessels too. Like all else, opportunity comes with knowledge. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks much!
haha on a side note, i was just told by someone that considered getting a license that it has a down side.... when on any vessel, whether you are piloting it or not, or know anyone else on board, if anything happens to anyone, or there is any kind of accident, then you are responsible if you have a license and nobody else does... that's pretty bad! that pretty much makes it a bad idea to go pleasure boating with anyone you don't know!
 

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I thought about it once upon a time, when it was time to get a real job. I looked into it when i move to New Orleans and lived near the water. I know someone who did it. Was probably around 30 when he got his job, after a lifetime of sailing, working and being around boats and some type of CG license.

It was more than a 40 hour a week job. It seemed good to be on the water all the time, but it sucked to be on the boat all the time. With all his experience it was still hard to find the job, and he was a slave to the boat. Just a license will not get you a job. A long list of nautical experience combined with the ability to fix boats, electrical and engines and some local reputations is more important than anything else.

Also when you work for an individual your experience can widely vary. Will you be provided insurance. Will you have to get their dry cleaning? Will you be required to do all the maintenance yourself.

Or do you just have to coordinate maintenance then sail the boat to the Caribbean in time to meet the jet. Just speaking from personal experience outside of the marine industry. Your QOL quality of life and stability in employment can vary widely. Very slim chance of you getting rich doing it though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
yeah good stuff. one definitely could end up doing the job for the wrong person and have negative sides to it. as for getting rich though... one of the people i know that did the job would say that he made 30k or so a year. on top of that, he got a 5k bonus at the end of the year. and, every time they went into a port, he got a few hundred for food. and that was 15 years ago or something like that. so, provided the place to live, food bonuses, and a salary on top of that, you're putting away a lot of money. so translate that situation to a 50 foot boat, today, so you're putting away maybe 50k per year, with no expenses. it's not a sure thing, but a possibility. i firmly believe that i could be very happy doing that job. living on a very nice boat and just taking care of it every day, going on long trips to wonderful places... that's what i'd do in my life if i were rich, so i may as well do it for someone else and make money at it!

thanks for the responses though. it's good to hear that some people have considered it and stuff. i'd still like to hear from anyone that has done the job though, or gone through the process of looking for the job, if there is anyone else!
 

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I don’t know any boat captions running any mega yachts but I do have a relative of my wife who flies a helicopter for a Saudi oil Sheik. He is in his late twenties and got the job out of school in Canada . Apparently this school was known by the Sheik as a good place to get pilots and he had recruited from it before. He asked for the schools best pilot and he was it at that time. After a long interview with the Sheiks other pilots and lots of flying the job was his. He makes around 75k CDN a year.
So a young person or someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience can get a job like this. You just have to be the best at what you do and a few connections. I don’t know if a Captains license works the same as a pilot’s license. If it is similar talk to the schools that provide the accreditation and they can tell you if and who recruits their students.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You would probably need a Masters License rather than an OUPV (6 pack) to get a full time job as a Captain of a yacht. You will also have to be enrolled in a random drug testing program if you are licensed in the US. If you have any alcohol related driving offenses or have any drug related convictions you can pretty much forget passing the background check. You also need 720 days of experience to get a near coastal or offshore license 360 of which have to have been beyond the demarcation line. This sounds like a glamorous lifestyle but Triton magazine did an article last March in which many professional Captains have been stiffed by the owners they worked for on money they put up to pay for day work or provisions.
The Triton classifieds are online and you can get an idea of what is available and the qualifications they expect. The best way to get the experience to land one of these jobs would be to start as a delivery captain first and build your resume from there, IMO.
 

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I think the biggest problem will be if you want to caption a sailboat is getting the experience. With planes you can work in the commercial world to get you experience. With power boats you cloud do the same. Drive water taxi, fairy, and tugboat or join the navy or coast guard to cut your teeth. But how would you get that experience with a sailboat short of buying one and sailing the world. I suppose getting into the ocean racing world may get you their but that would be a long road.
 

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I've worked all sorts of working vessels... But due to the minor detail of that I can't say: Sir here is your Mint Julip, would you care for anything else? I've never worked on any of those fancy yachts.
 

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yeah good stuff. one definitely could end up doing the job for the wrong person and have negative sides to it. as for getting rich though... one of the people i know that did the job would say that he made 30k or so a year. on top of that, he got a 5k bonus at the end of the year. and, every time they went into a port, he got a few hundred for food. and that was 15 years ago or something like that. so, provided the place to live, food bonuses, and a salary on top of that, you're putting away a lot of money. so translate that situation to a 50 foot boat, today, so you're putting away maybe 50k per year, with no expenses. it's not a sure thing, but a possibility. i firmly believe that i could be very happy doing that job. living on a very nice boat and just taking care of it every day, going on long trips to wonderful places... that's what i'd do in my life if i were rich, so i may as well do it for someone else and make money at it!

thanks for the responses though. it's good to hear that some people have considered it and stuff. i'd still like to hear from anyone that has done the job though, or gone through the process of looking for the job, if there is anyone else!

Sounds like paradise doesn't it. I was the Capt. of a 72ft Palmer Johnson for a time. The crew was 2 full time and one part time.

The biggest hurtle you have over come is being Insurable. Just getting a Masters license does not mean that the owner's Insurance co. will allow you to Capt the boat. You need to get experience. How do you do that? You work on board for a guy like me for 5 to 10 years. Starting out a 2sd mate then moving up. Your new license is just enough to qualify you to clean the bilges.

You are a young guy. I sure you like to date girls, don't even think about it. Even when the boat is at the dock the owner will call and say with 1 hour notice he bringing 10 clients to the boat for the evening and have everything ready. That means food and drink. So you call your date that took you 2 months to convince to go out with you, and tell her that you can't make it. Thats the last you hear of her! During the evening one of the guests asks for some rose petal flavored bottle water, and the boat owner looks at you like you are not doing your job because you don't have it on board, and the owner doesn't know what it is either.

20 years ago you could work you way up like I said. Today things are changing. On the Mega-yachts many of the new crew are coming straight out of the maritime schools as a Jr. deck officer. They do this instead of going into the merchant marine. The Insurance Co's. like these kids as they have maritime degrees and licenses.

It's not the Paradise that it looks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
wow the triton classifieds sure are depressing! i see about 4 captains for hire and 4 captains wanted! and all those for hire had years and years of experience...

oh well. i understand that there's always the possibility of a job on a boat with a not-so-great owner, but there's also the possibility of having an awesome owner! well i'll look into the mate thing. perhaps i'll be able to give that a try and see what i think from there. i appreciate all the suggestions!
 

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"But how would you get that experience with a sailboat short of buying one and sailing the world."
That's called apprenticeship. You serve as an apprentice, i.e. a low paid underling, and do all the scut work for a couple of years while you are documenting your hours. Same as any union job on land, or any harbor pilots' union, etc.
And there's that whole body of maritime law to protect sailors and repatriate them, because for hundreds of years they've been getting shafted and dumped without pay in all the odd corners of the world from time to time. (Nothing new about that.)

"Own a computer? Make money from home in your spare time!"

The grass is always greener over the septic tank. :)
 

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Here's another thought to consider. The "very rich" who would employ a private captain are "very cheap". Don't know why that is, but it probably the inherent drive that got them to where they are. After going through the steps listed before in this thread, make sure compensation is well understood and agreed or you will be "very pissed.
 

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Here's another thought to consider. The "very rich" who would employ a private captain are "very cheap". Don't know why that is, but it probably the inherent drive that got them to where they are. After going through the steps listed before in this thread, make sure compensation is well understood and agreed or you will be "very pissed.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
well guys, you've officially talked me out of it lol. and mostly for the reason that i don't like being a waiter. i don't want to be anything close to a butler and bring food and the like.

well bummer. what should i do?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
There is always delivery work, but that too isn't as glamorous as it may sound. Forget much of a family life and remember delivery skippers get paid to move the boat, usually the time spent waiting for crew or repairs or the boat to be rigged are not compensated. The companys I am familiar with also require you to crew with them for up to a year (unpaid) before they will give you a boat. Of course if you have extensive prior experience as skipper this would probably be waived.
You could try crewing first to see if it is for you . There are a lot of opportunities out there.
 
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