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Wheel time vs Tonnage
Posted: Monday, April 24, 2017 9:32 PM
Joined: 24/04/2017
Posts: 1

 Hello All,

Here's a bit of a predicament I am faced with at the moment.
For a brief background, I am 25, and I have been at the wheel of vessels from 13 to 50 feet for the last 12 years or so. I have been a mate in the yachting industry for almost 2 years now, and I have held my USCG 100ton ticket for the last 7 months.
I am currently the mate on board 100 foot motoryacht, and have been for the past 6 months. I have a good captain and good owners. However, I am limited in opportunities to get wheel time docking and un-docking the boat, because the owner makes a point to be on board for the majority of our movements, and he prefers to drive the boat himself.
I have received a full time employment offer working for a private boat club that would have me running boats in the 40 to 50 foot range. 
My short term plan (within 2 years) is to acquire a position running a yacht in the 65 to 80 foot range.  My long-term plan is to get my USCG 200 ton, and run something in the 90-105 range. 
So, my big question is...
Which transition is easier?  50' captain to 70' captain or 100' mate to 70' captain?  Is it better to have the wheel time or the tonnage.
Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 12:48 PM
Joined: 03/02/2017
Posts: 1

Wheel time is more important at this point of your carrier. The only good way to learn is to just do it. I have watched lots of operators run boats and you can always tell who is salty and who is not. All boats fundamentally drive the same, tonnage equals wait heavy boats need to be maneuvered slower than lighter one's. Wind Hp current and load conditions all play part in how the boats feels wheels time matters. Capt Rob
Posted: Saturday, April 29, 2017 12:58 AM
Joined: 09/09/2008
Posts: 78

I would say stay on the 100 footer. You have wheel time on smaller vessels. Whats amazing is that with your limited experience, like so many others, you are talking of becoming captain of a vessel that size with a short amount of time. Approach your boss, and talk about wanting to learn docking the vessel, for your benefit, but also so in case of an emergency you could if needed. I am honestly amazed that an owner wants to dock a 100 footer, and he has a captain that doesn't mind, I had a taste of that on an 88 footer and shut it down, as it was dangerous. There is a lot more to being captain of a large yacht than driving it, thats the easiest part. Watch, listen, learn.

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