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Why am I wasting my life on tankers
Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012 8:58 PM
Joined: 11/02/2012
Posts: 2

Hi I'm just looking for advice on the yachting industry, as its something I'm considering I'm currently working as a 3/O for an oil major, and have my OoW unlimited ticket. My sea going experience has all been with this company onboard LNG, crude and product tankers. Prior to going to sea, I worked with small yachts and tenders, mainly basic maintenance, tender driving etc Can anyone tell me the role of 2/O's onboard or their basic responsibilities? For example, do they work with the deck crew as well as doing watches? are they generally the Safety Officer? Do they look after passage planning? Do they do 2 watches a day etc? What's life like onboard, do you get your own cabin? Toliet/shower? How many crew/officers (appreciate this varies with size)? What I'm interested to find out is what would be my entry level job? Would it be necessary to sail as a Deckhand, and if so, for how long, or is it possible to sail as 2/O and learn from understudying the C/O? I'd have no issue working as a Deckhand if it were necessary In terms of employment, is it difficult in my position to get something? I was considering do a trip or two on a cruise ship first as I feel it may make the transition easier Finally, the lifestyle. Is there much of a social life onboard? And are there opportunities to get up the road in port? Do you spend much time in port? Anyway, I'd appreciate your thoughts, and apologise for any repetition or lack of basic knowledge
Posted: Sunday, February 12, 2012 2:00 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

Until you get into the very large yachts, you typically won't have a 3O and both the XO & 2O will be seen working on deck; it is not rare to see me out on deck running a doodle bug across the deck under the flow of the fire hose listening to my iPod lol. "Captain, did you want me to polish the deck?" "Nope, I like standing out in the sun playing in the water getting exercise & listening to music, I'm good. You can clear the hose when I'm done if you want." Own cabin or shared, could be either. The very large yachts (>250'/2500ton area) are run typically as professional programs, not unusual to see 'Honor Guard' level service staffed by former (or current) Naval Officers. Think back on how HMS Britannia was operated, that level.  As the boats get smaller the programs seem to diversify at the same rate as the owners. Boats with charter programs are basically a cut throat place to be. If you can put together a good compatible crew, it can be a great time and you can make a lot of money, lots of hours, don't expect any type of duty time rules to apply, 18+hr days with stuff can happen round the clock are a norm when in service. When not in service, you get normal type and even relaxed schedules if you have everything caught up. For me, as long as your duties are fulfilled, if you can do it in 2 hrs, the rest you're at liberty. Private boats tend to fall into 2 categories, the Family Boat and the Bat Cave; the fun gigs have the boat doing double duty.

The really good gigs are rare as hens teeth, watch for them, they're on the boats where the junior deckhand has 5 years on and everybody is smiling; they're all 'at home' and not looking for greener pastures. There are owners out there who have treated me as family and better. Sad that the really good ones are usually old or dying and having a nice time on the way out. I know guys who get to spend their careers with the same family, they got lucky and they know it lol. Yachting also allows you the  ehhm...opportunity for lack of a more reserved term coming to mind, to work and travel with your spouse/partner. I put reservations on it because it is taxing on the relationship, especially when you take a command. It takes a lot of understanding.... You have to keep the professional relationship separated from the personal. Women can tend to have difficulties achieving this state of Zen. As a lower ranking officer it shouldn't pose much problem. Some boats will allow relationships onboard, some won't.

Good luck to ya.

Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012 2:00 AM
Johnny, 1. Don't ever ask a yachtie if you should work in their industry. You will always get a big NO. Merchant marine officers are too much competition. You are a professional sailor. 2. If you are an American grad from Kings Point or one of the state maritime schools, do a search in your respective alumni directory to see who is working in the yachting industry. Go ask them for their opinion. They came from your side of things and know the ins and outs for transitioning to yachts. There are not many big ship guys in yachting, but that is changing as these girls get bigger and bigger. 3. Unless you are on one of the world's largest yachts, which are actually passenger ships, the hierarchy of crew, officer, Master that you are used to does not exist. The First Officer may hold a license, but his daily work more is atone to that of a bosun, plus bridge watches. 4. For the watch system, remember that yachts are not on a schedule between ports. There is no regular 8-12, 12-4, 4-8 routine. If the boat needs to move, you move it. If the owner or charter guest has a need, you fill it. Long sea passages will setup a watch schedule, but that is maybe twice a year on long passages. 5. Unless your working conditions are absolutely unbearable, and for this I don't mean boredom, you should stick it out to upgrade your license. No matter how long you work on yachts, the highest ticket you can achieve is the Master 1600/3000 GT. That is quite an achievement for yacht crew. It is not easy to reach that point. But with your background and sea time, as soon as you get your 2/M ticket, you can also obtain the Master 1600/3000. Push to get the unlimited Master. That is the PhD in the maritime world, regardless if it is yachts or ships. It garners instant respect and acknowledgment. It doesn't mean that every person with an Unlimited Masters is an expert, but it will be a solid baseline from which to expand your yachting or eventually shoreside career. 6. [comment deleted by moderator] Hang in there.
Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 12:38 AM
Joined: 10/05/2008
Posts: 21

It is great to see professional Mariners join the industry. We need more of them.
Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 3:34 AM
Joined: 17/08/2011
Posts: 4

The above replies represent good and sound advice. It's worth remembering that the yachting industry is a 'corner' of the maritime world and that your MN career and associated experience carries a high premium. Certainly getting your 2/O ticket is a must before you jump! ie make a long term commitment. I suspect however that this is as much to do with being fed up with tankers as it is to do with yachting and a job change towards the passenger fleet might be very helpful especially if it keeps your MN career on track. A DP ticket can also be very useful in yachting where boats have a diving agenda. You don't say which flag state you are with but it would be useful to you to network a bit and find out some more. I run a small, free social networking site at that offers a mentoring scheme that you would be welcome to join and Call the Captain also has a presence as a discussion group on Linkedin. Naturally of course Dockwalk here is a great place to put out feelers. Whilst crew agencies are plentiful, the truth is that personal contact still remains the best way of finding work. In summary, best of luck with your research, but don't do anything rash!
Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 8:28 AM
Most likely with your background, you will be offered positions on boats that do quite a bit of cruising as you have more bridge experience than many OOWs who came up the yachting ranks but you (most likely) don't have their yacht maintenance experience. If you're fine with that as a start then the likelihood of getting a 2O position or oven a CO position rises. As someone with no yachting experience, it would be to your advantage to get out on deck as much as possible and learn some yacht maintenance. Without some knowledge, you won't get far in yachting.
Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 12:20 PM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 1

Hi I can appreciate your frustration on board the tankers (I've been there!) but I cannot emphasise strongly enough NOT to jump to the yacht sector until you have obtained your unlimited Masters certificate. You do not need Command experience, but you should persevere & get the bit of paper! A move to work on cruise ships would be an advantage. When you are then a little older & wiser & more experienced and if yachts were still attractive to you, there is a lot of good advice available out there to start this process again. For the time being, please don't jump but drive your future career forward with some thought, getting some good & relevant exerience together & looking to the future. Who knows where you might be in 2, 5 or 10 years?! Good luck.
Captain Andy
Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:56 PM
Joined: 17/09/2008
Posts: 93

Henning my dear boy, BRITANNIA was an HMY and not HMS ...... the Y obviously standing for YACHT!
Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:58 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

If he is in the US system, he may already have the "time on tonnage" requirements fulfilled for the Master Unlimited and can complete the rest of his time (albeit slowly on most yachts) on yachts, sail a hitch bluewater for tonnage recency and upgrade.

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 9:02 PM
Do not listen to Henning's guess on licensing. One cannot go straight from 3M to Master simply by "time on tonnage" whatever that is. Yacht time is not accepted by the USCG unless it is over 200 GT and that is only allowed for a maximum of 6 months. The other 6 months must be on a ship over 3000 GT. It gets more stringent when moving from C/M to Master.
Oscar Perez
Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012 1:08 PM
Joined: 10/10/2011
Posts: 7

Don't do it
Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012 1:37 PM
Joined: 11/02/2012
Posts: 2

Thanks for all the replies guys, your advice is much appreciated I'm UK based so currently the ticket I have allows me to sail as 2/O unlimited. In order to get a further ticket, I have to return to college to get my C/O and then hopefully Masters unlimited tickets. My plan is certainly to get these, and I'll soon have enough sea time to get the C/O so I'll be doing that asap My motivation for going into the yachting industry isn't necessarily just that I'm fed up on tankers, I do enjoy the work onboard but the enjoyment is purely the professional aspect. There's little by way of much enjoyment onboard, bar a few beers in the evenings hence I want to try something else I've always gone to sea to make a living and enjoy the leave. My contract is 3 months on, two off so I'd do the time easily enough however my personal circumstances at home have changed, and coming home no longer has the same appeal Having given it some thought, I'm considering applying for a job as a Deckhand on my next leave, just to gain some experience and insight into the industry, before getting my C/O ticket and I'll decide then whether to pack in my current job I do however intend on going back to the Merchant Navy as I feel I'll need the experience prior to going for my Masters ticket Either way, thanks again for the advice its certainly appreciated
Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012 5:42 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

Captain Andy wrote:
Henning my dear boy, BRITANNIA was an HMY and not HMS ...... the Y obviously standing for YACHT!

Please extend my apologies to Her Majesty if you have tea with her next before I do.... =

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