SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello! I'e decided to take a left turn out of nursing school and am not sure of my next moves. I sailed in high school and college and in this moment where i feel more free to do anything than i ever did before, i've been considering working on boats. I have a few questions/requests for advice from y'all knowledgable folks!

What is the best way to get started? I'm looking at maritime schools, but i'd like to get my feet wet before I make a decision to do something so long term. I've looked at oceancrewlink, but I'm just not sure about what I'm even looking for. What are the different roles or different type of excursions? I guess some of my examples would be working of a cruise ship, versus a huge container ship, versus a small sail boat, versus a fishing boat. What would i be looking at as far as training for the different roles? Should I pursue my able seaman? Should i jump right in and go for my captains? What could i do differently with each? I feel like i don't know how to talk about all this, which is getting me advice from different folks that either doesnt much help me, or just ends up adding confusion.

And, very importantly, where do y'all find jobs? And, lastly, how safe of a job is this for single women? Any thoughts on this?

Thanks so much!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,052 Posts
With so many possibilities you need to look off into the future. Without knowing a single thing about you, I would suggest perhaps you look for a crew position on crewed charter. You can find boats from sailboats from 50+ feet to motor yachts hundreds of feet (look for Below Decks on Bravo. Depending on the boat and the captain and crew you could learn a lot or a little. If it's a smallish yacht you'll be doing a little of everything from meal, to cleaning, watch keeping and so on. There must be agencies which place. find crew for charter yachts.

I think most sailors are cool as far as safety. Add some booze and many act out of control. But this is not worse on boats. You should feel comfortable with the crew and captain and not take a job unless you do. The one to ask is Capta. He's been doing this stuff for ages.

When I spent a lot of time in English Harbor it was loaded with crewed charter yachts of all sizes... lots of big sailing boats like Arabella. Don't know where they got their crews but it seemed they were mostly females... and I didn't hear any horror stories. Newport RI has a lot of these boats in the summer.

Cruise ships are too ugly to call home. ;-)

Good luck.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,235 Posts
I did 3 years at a Maritime Academy, Deck side. It was a tough go, no breaks. 8 months at the school, followed by 8 months straight at sea as a deck cadet, I was placed on an Iron Ore Carrier. Followed by 4 months of school, then a 4 month work placement on a chemical tanker then another 10 months of school. So it was 3 very full years.

The money was very good immediately upon graduation, but I thought the life style sucked. I sailed as a ships officer for 20 years before I pulled the plug and found something else to do. I had some great adventures and worked on a lot of cool ships, but most of the time it was kind of boring. At the end of your 12 hour day, you can either go to your 10x10 cabin or go to the Officers mess and watch whatever is on TV. The food was always good.

I know quite a few female Mariners, they seem to advance as well as the males.

If one of my own kids said they wanted to be a professional mariner I would discourage it. If they insisted I would tell them to join the Coast Guard. The money is not as good, but there are just so many ways to advance beyond the traditional role of deck and engine room departments for when you get tired of the lifestyle.

I wouldn't mess around with small sailboats. There is no money in it. I don't think commercial fishing would be much fun for a young lady.

Harbour type vessels can be a good option too. Ferries and assist tugs. Going home at night is awesome. I did that for my last 4 years as a seafarer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,052 Posts
Sailnet is not the sort of place to get advice about working in the merchant marine industry or even megayacht gigs.
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
8,366 Posts
Working on the big ships is a rather involved process, and you don't just show up on the dock and say, "Hi, I'm here!" Go to the USCG site and check into what you'll need to get your ordinary seaman's certification which you must have and sail under before you can become an able seaman.
As far as getting your small boat captain's certification, even if you have the 360 documented days of sea time, do you really think you are, at this point, capable of being the captain on anybody's boat, even your own, and safely operating it with the owner's family aboard, or charter guests?
My wife was just beginning school for radiology when we met. She decided to go sailing first, as the profession was advancing so quickly if she even sailed only a few years after getting her radiology certification, she'd need to do a lot of the schooling over again if she decided to go back to it. It worked out pretty well for her as we are partners in a pretty successful charter business in the Windward Islands.
IMO, your best bet would be to try and get on one of the day charter tour boats in the various harbors in the US or one of the charter schooners running tours/charters in New England this coming summer. It won't be easy and you'll have lots of qualified competition, but if you show the desire, work very hard and have the heart for sailing, you could move all the way up to captain in time.
However, if you are a cook, and I mean a good cook (no need to be a chef), that is by far the easiest route to get aboard a sailing vessel. Again, it is not easy work, and you will have to consistently produce excellent meals under stressful circumstances, but that is the easiest job to get as most coming into this business want the glory jobs and can't cook well anyway. And there's nothing that says the sea time you need for a license must be as a deckhand, so you can move up using the cook's position to get into the business. I know plenty of female captains that started out in the galley. Never mind that a good cook is worth her weight in gold, aboard a private yacht or charter boat!
I don't see how a few years of sailing in your youth gives you the idea you'd be happy as one of 30 or so crew on a commercial vessel, or one of the hundreds of crew on a cruise ship, but I'd gamble that you'll have a lot more fun being a professional crew member on a sailing or power yacht.
Good luck.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SanderO

·
dadio917
Joined
·
326 Posts
Quite the life question to pose to a ragtag bunch as ourselves.

Here is my thought: If you started nursing school you must have some thought of helping others. If you would consider a maritime career you must have some desire for adventure. Why not join the peace corps and do both? Go live somewhere very different and help people for a year. Someplace you can make a difference. Might help put things in focus.

btw...there is no quitting life, just choosing how to spend it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,052 Posts
As we don't know what OP's vision is... we can only guess. My guess is that it involves a sailing or motor yacht and not a merchant marine vessel or cruise ship. Camden ME has a bunch of schooners and must hire crew each year and there are numerous day trip charters on boats in Newport for example which also take on crew each year. Newport is a good salty location and you can network. Mega-yachts do Newport in season and likely crew up there. And there are sailing schools, boat building school and sailboat rentals and so on. It a very vibrant fun community.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,235 Posts
^^ I got the impression from her OP she was asking about a career on the water, not a summer job on an excursion boat or as a sailing instructor.

Maybe if she posts again she will clarify, but my response was based on the wording of her original post which mentioned; maritime academies, able seaman certificates, cruise ships and container ships.

Those jobs in small sailing vessels can't really be used as preparation for sea going careers for a bunch of reasons, but the big one is the sea time on those boats isn't recognized for any of the bigger licences. To write commercial licenses sea time generally needs to be on commercial vessels with some tonnage sailing beyond protected waters.
 

·
snake charmer, cat herder
Joined
·
2,640 Posts
as nurses are able to work worldwide, continue nursing school and get a teaching cred and have total freedom to work and play anywhere in world. cruise ships use rns as do merchant marines and military. flight nurse in airforce is an enviable position.
besides there is always the fall back shift to pay for the surprises that tumble into your path. when i became disabled rn emergency was paying 45 usd hourly and 650usd a 12 hour shift via agency contract.
best of luck in your decisions. all your choices are not available here in sailnet. you must venture out more and understand the flexibility of a registered nurse, especially one with trauma and critical care experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,052 Posts
If you're talking about income you can get from work from a sailing boat...
Nurse means you have to be on a large vessel or work ashore.
Hair dresser / barber you can do anywhere - you need to be where lots of boats are and spread the word
Mechanic (most sailors DYI)
electrician (most sailors DYI)
plumber (most sailors DYI)
rigger (maybe)
canvas work / upholstery - seamstress
brightwork - wax and varnish
graphics design / CAD work
 

·
Registered
S2 7.9 Bear Lake, UT
Joined
·
2,465 Posts
Nursing is a noble profession. If you become a nurse work hard, spend wisely you have the opportunity to own a boat and a home and retire early and go cruising. Those opportunities greatly diminish as a professional sailor unless you become a merchant marine. As a traveling nurse you get paid more and can work seasonally, so you could be cruising on a boat and return home to do a few months of work and go back to your boat and continue cruising. I can think of very few careers that lend itself as well to supporting a cruising lifestyle.
 

·
Marine World Classifieds
Joined
·
22 Posts
Hello! I'e decided to take a left turn out of nursing school and am not sure of my next moves. I sailed in high school and college and in this moment where i feel more free to do anything than i ever did before, i've been considering working on boats. I have a few questions/requests for advice from y'all knowledgable folks!

What is the best way to get started? I'm looking at maritime schools, but i'd like to get my feet wet before I make a decision to do something so long term. I've looked at oceancrewlink, but I'm just not sure about what I'm even looking for. What are the different roles or different type of excursions? I guess some of my examples would be working of a cruise ship, versus a huge container ship, versus a small sail boat, versus a fishing boat. What would i be looking at as far as training for the different roles? Should I pursue my able seaman? Should i jump right in and go for my captains? What could i do differently with each? I feel like i don't know how to talk about all this, which is getting me advice from different folks that either doesnt much help me, or just ends up adding confusion.

And, very importantly, where do y'all find jobs? And, lastly, how safe of a job is this for single women? Any thoughts on this?

Thanks so much!
ICU/ER nurse here for 23 years before being introduced to sailing at 42, I hope I can share my own experience and give you some nuggets to think about for your own journey.

I am based out of CA and the coast line here is dotted with many hospitals and medical centers that have marinas and berths. Which to me is the perfect mix of work and sailing. I've done an assignment in Oxnard and was living(a sneakaboard) on my first boat a 27 foot Lyle Hess designed Balboa and was just learning how to sail. It was a perfect situation, on my days off I'd be circling Anacapa, sail to Santa Barbara, MDR, Catalina, and all the way to SD and the stops that come with it. While I was there I hauled out and was in the hard for a couple of weeks and learned bottom painting, bright work, some electrical work, etc.

It's been 4 years now and the dream of cutting the lines is getting real with each passing day. Barring any life-threatening events, disease, etc. I hope and pray to make that tack very soon and sail wing on wing towards the South Pacific and SE Asia.

If I can humbly offer an opinion, I would stay in nursing and continue to perfect the craft and when your circumstances open up for that chance, hoist your sails and embrace the liveaboard life.
 

·
Marine World Classifieds
Joined
·
22 Posts
Nursing is a noble profession. If you become a nurse work hard, spend wisely you have the opportunity to own a boat and a home and retire early and go cruising. Those opportunities greatly diminish as a professional sailor unless you become a merchant marine. As a traveling nurse you get paid more and can work seasonally, so you could be cruising on a boat and return home to do a few months of work and go back to your boat and continue cruising. I can think of very few careers that lend itself as well to supporting a cruising lifestyle.
That is the key. Do not compete with your peers at work. Begin living like a cruiser, simple and respectful of the resources given to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,148 Posts
I’m a retired doc. Wife’s a retired RN. We maintained our licensure and various certifications for awhile after retiring. Although it was feasible to do charity work in our home country it was quite problematic to do it in other countries. This was true even when going through established NGOs such as medicin sans frontiers. Most want a work history, active licensure, a fixed time commitment and ability to be entirely self supporting. We switched gears and have helped out when we can outside any governmental or NGO opportunities. This can be accomplished via local churches or simple word of mouth.
With you just starting out would suggest not becoming a diploma nurse. Most hospitals now want to see at least a bachelors in nursing before hiring. Any hiatus from your career can be dealt with by recertifications and recent continuing ed.
Know multiple people who are professionals in the marine industry. From them and personal observations would say.
Working on a ship except in deck and engineering capacities is the same except more limiting than the same job on land. Doesn’t matter if sail or motor. Being a maid, bartender or waitress is the same if on a cruise ship. The actual maritime jobs require schooling. Look to Mass Maritime or Kings Point to get a sense of what’s involved.
Working on a 1%ers boat is no walk in the park either. At present commonly requires no tattoos, clean medical and drug and criminal history, poor wages, no job security and social isolation. Seems white South Africans, Eastern Europeans, multilingual people have first dibs on these jobs.
Cook was mentioned. To date the cooks we know are commonly part of a couple. Interestingly know several couples where the female is the captain and male the cook. On many boats the cook is credentialed in that art.
The feasibility of being a traveling nurse is something to think about. Wife knows multiple people doing this and enjoying their other life while doing it. Be it skiing, climbing or wilderness for example. This would give you the most flexibility and allow you a rewarding career when you swallow the anchor.
In any case have fun but be realistic. BTW will be looking for passage crew spring of 2020. Try to take one newbie so stay in touch.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top