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Yacht Crew Expiration Date?
Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2011 4:36 PM
Joined: 23/12/2009
Posts: 26

I am in my upper 20s, and have been enjoying working in yachting for about 4 years now. 

As I look around at many of my older co-workers, I can't help but believe that it is a bad idea to spend one's entire working life on yachts.  Not to insult anybody, but it seems like almost everybody over the age of about 35 is wishing they were living on land with their own car, home, family, etc.  Visiting home twice a year just doesn't cut it.  The only problem is, by the time they get to that age they usually have no other options.

I know the "grass is always greener on the other side," but there is something to be said for working a standard 9-5 job and having the benefits of a "real life" the rest of the time.  The older generations always say that family and friends are the most important thing in life...are long-term yachties missing out? 

Does anybody have any thoughts or insight on this?

Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 8:38 PM
Joined: 25/07/2008
Posts: 1

Nice having you aboard! Dont let the door hit you on the way out! Put an oar on your shoulder and walk inland until somewhat asks what it is.... I started on vessels when I was 27. I'm now 54 and I think I might make a "career" out of it. In the early 80's this wasn't a career sort of field to be in. If you lack passion for the sea --make room.
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 8:54 PM
Joined: 29/09/2009
Posts: 1

Well said Jack.
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 8:55 PM
This industry severely lacks the professional experience it needs. The only crew experienced enough to lead this industry into the future are the over 35's. With rotation as an Engineer, there is nothing I miss out from a family life, and in fact I have more time for family than '9-5ers'.
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 8:57 PM
Joined: 08/08/2009
Posts: 17

I work as a captain and I'm 40 in July and still see another few years in the industry. With the birth of my daugther last month I do see that my time is limited. After the 45M we're building is finished I'm out. I would say this though; SAVE SAVE SAVE...if I had started saving when I got into this industry 12 years ago i would be retired now.
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 9:04 PM
Joined: 01/06/2010
Posts: 4

Well said Jack. I am 36 and am yet again looking this season for another job and needed to hear that. Thankyou x
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 9:16 PM
Listen to your elders.. Somebody has to teach you [comment edited by moderator] how to do it.... Quit complaining about everything and work your way up through the hawse pipe like the rest of us..
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 9:32 PM
Hear hear... Earn your stripes like we had to...
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 9:48 PM
Joined: 13/10/2010
Posts: 6

this is an issue I work with in my coaching, Certainly there are some who think of and dream about a life after yachting. If you find yourself thinking about it alot, it may be time to put a plan into action. It may be your life calling you in a different direction. Some, who are single, don't jump to that settled down house and dog and yard life because they want the right person to do that with. They haven't met that person yet so they stay on the yachts. There are many reasons for staying and there are many reasons for leaving. It takes a clear plan, some courage and some money saved to transition out of yachting. Anyone looking for some help with this feel free to contact me. As far as over 35 and no other options, well thats just not true at all. I wouldn't waste a moment thinking like that.
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 9:59 PM
Joined: 09/09/2008
Posts: 78

Well, I do believe you are not cut out to be a yachtie, kinda wondering if you have only been yachting only 4 years what you were doing the rest of your life. Have you worked shore-side jobs? Odds are that you will earn a lot less, and you will have much higher overhead. How long will your commute be, right now mine is a set of steps. Get ready for the ole rat race, course with the economy doing so well, I am sure you will land the most unbelievable job. I have always made a career on the water, 10 years commercial fishing and 29 yachting . I can say that I do not miss fishing winters. Six figure job, all expenses paid, medical and training, I can certainly see why you would not want to make a career out of it.
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 10:27 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

Yacties do blow thru the industry from deckhand to captain ,then expire fast. Always been like that, only a few are born to be sailors. After near 40 years as a sailor I only know a handfull of fellow seaman still in the game. Its a great pleasure to run into these shipmates on the road . Did I miss something in life ? cars, houses, stuff.... perhaps. Ive never owned a car. Perhaps when I grow up Ill accumulate some stuff. Perhaps Ill even adopt the modern habit , go to the bank, borrow money and buy something I dont need. Who knows........... In the mean time Ill continue to sail back and forth enjoying life as much as I did when I got my first captains job. Tonight Im anchored off one of the most beautiful ports in the West Med. Been anchored for the night off this port a few times a year for decades. I still think its beautiful. I still love my job. Spotted a dozen friendly sea turtles while crossing the sardinian sea yesterday ...same zone as always. Dodged Italian Longliners with bleary eyes on the radar screen then greeted a Leeward teakdeck this morning that was peppered with black ink spots from squid swept onboard in the waves during the night...same zone as always.............. lets hope next year is the same.
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 10:41 PM
GREAT Topic!
Im in my mid forties and want to start in the Industry!! Ive been in the customer service/travel industry all my life a looking for a new career!!  Since were talking about age.. Am I too old?
I dont care so much about houses, cars and all the material things.. I just love to do what I love to do! Being on the water, engaging in service with customers and building relationships all over the world.. Its just a beginning! Its a huge world out there..

Am I too old to start? Please love to hear your comments!

Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 11:13 PM
Joined: 24/01/2010
Posts: 3

I don't understand how a Captain can be 40, 50 or over, and be respected, but the rest of the crew have to be in their 20's. When the industry was young, (ie,. yachts were smaller) then yes, it was a younger persons game. It was the "Studio 54" of jobs. But now, good or bad,.. it's a business. (Every $$ yachting course will prove that) But, ALWAYS the most qualified, age aside, should get the job. I understand the original posters question, if it came from "why don't they play", or "why are they so serious". I have also met, and worked with too many crew who use the "in my day" bullying style. (And truth be told,... I have also encountered older yachties, who try to get back into it after they have been out for years. *See above bullying comment* ) However,.. Some of us have chosen this changing environment, countries, rotating crew, because we love it. And with the new perks, (more holiday that before, SWEET) why not? Why should we work for years, perfecting this industry, our skill set, to give it up to much younger crew to come and get better wages, better work environments, and more respect, because what, we're ,.. too old. Not gonna happen. I want my job. I want to stay in yachting. I will train ANYONE, and give them all my help, and knowledge, because I learn from every single person I train. Which makes me better Just my thoughts, D
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 11:28 PM
Joined: 24/01/2010
Posts: 3

I forgot to say, but thought it was implied, I will train anyone that is hired. Just NEVER, give me the "So,.. you don't want a life" Grrrrrrrr,...
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 11:44 PM
Joined: 23/12/2009
Posts: 26

Thank you everyone for the responses.  For those of you making the argument that I somehow "lack passion for the sea," you couldn't be further from the truth.  Otherwise, why would I be in yachting?  I'm not saying I want to leave tomorrow, or ever leave the industry.  The simple question that I posed was, despite a passion for the sea, how long can you keep it up before other "land-based" obligations take priority? 

Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 11:51 PM
Joined: 23/12/2009
Posts: 26

To CaptErik: Actually, yes, I have worked shore-side jobs, and before that I earned my 4-year university degree.  I'm not trying to argue that one is financially better off working on land - I agree that yachting is great from a financial perspective.  But as you watch your bank account grow larger and larger, what are you doing with all that money?  Who are you sharing it with?  Do you go home at night, or do you live in cramped quarters with your co-workers who you may or may-not like? 

Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 11:59 PM
Joined: 24/01/2010
Posts: 3

It reads like,.. you're not questioning our decisions. But your own. X D
Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 2:22 AM
Joined: 16/10/2010
Posts: 15

Hey Popeye,
Wow, you got some heated response to that question!  I would like to add without the young 20-somethings who wish to travel and stay in the industry for only a few years, there would be no industry!  You have to be fit for the exterior and other hard work!  And as well, we need the mature, experienced group to lead the industry.  That said, my personal experience is this:
There is a certain society that forms on a boat, and in the industry in general.  You are never without company (whether you like them or not) and that's tough to find in the world outside an industry like this.  I've been involved in boating my entire life (Grandfather had a shipyard and I remain an avid club-sail racer) yet grew up with in a house with property, pets, a father who came home every day after work, and a mother who stayed home with us until we were old enough to look after ourselves.  As much as I crave the endless summers and sea-life, I also crave having a family of my own with a husband who comes home daily, after work.  My reason for leaving the industry, as a woman, was just that.  I can't have a family while working on a boat.  Am I an industry-quitter?  Perhaps.  If I could stay fit enough to do wash-downs and engine work (yes I was a female engineer as a second), and put off having children for longer, I would.  There are other ways, however, people stay in touch with and participate in the industry.
After leaving sunny Florida I moved to one of Canada's largest cities and have experienced extreme the loneliness and harsh realities that come with city life.  Sea life was absolutely happier (am working to move closer to my original home as a result) but the desire for the 9-5 family life was too ingrained.  Instead, I'm helping crew find positions on boats which keeps me going to FLIBS and in tune with the industry.  Interesting to see how strongly people feel about this thread
Karen Murray
Facebook: Five Star Crew

Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 3:24 AM
Joined: 02/06/2011
Posts: 3

I started in the industry at 18 for 2 years then took a 30 year break. At age 54 I consider it a privilige to work in the industry. I know that all too soon it will be all over and I therefore truly enjoy every waking hour. I have worked half my carreer at sea in the merchant navy, the other half managing adn owning merchant ships ashore. My wife and I have never saved so much money as on yachts. We live on the best waterfront one can wish for, surrounded by interesting, dynamic people. Most of our guests have facinating life stories. When we are finally ready to retire we have interesting people all over the world to visit. I wish I had returned to yachting 5 years or so sooner. Many young persons I meet seem to dislike the profession and I think they should get a reality check ashore.

Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 3:33 AM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277

junior wrote:
...then greeted a Leeward teakdeck this morning that was peppered with black ink spots from squid swept onboard in the waves during the night...same zone as always...



Was that when you "nudged the coast"? (according to AIS )




Luke A
Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 6:05 AM
Joined: 13/07/2008
Posts: 2

It's certainly an alternative lifestyle that can't be compared to anything else. I started at the age of 30 after getting the college degree and 10 years of working in the rat race at home with low pay and minimal excitement. Now after 10 years in the industry I get to enjoy high pay and high excitement in the best places in the world on someone else's dime. At the age of 42, wouldn't trade it for a wife or kids.
Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 7:06 AM
Joined: 04/10/2010
Posts: 11

LukeA I did not know anything about yachting until I was 46 years old and crossed paths with a yachtie. Just taking the courses and meeting people from all over the world in the crew houses in Florida have been a life changing experience for me. This has to be the best job in the world. I do not look my age and some yachties can not believe my age when I tell them. Your post made me feel like I should not give up.

Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 7:07 AM
Joined: 27/07/2008
Posts: 1

Im not sure what your problem is Popeye. If you want a 9-5 lifestyle, get a 9-5 job. Im 66 Yo. and been in the bizz for 50 years, and im more in demand now than ever before. I manage and operate 2 yachts, and have several more potencial clients that wants me to take on their yachts. Life is good, life is wonderful. I have 2 homes, one in Florida and one in Sweden. Retirement feals like a long way away and boring. You have to understand that this is not just a job, but its a lifestyle. You have to have a burning desire, and dedication. If you want to go home to the litle lady, and play with the kiddies every night. The yachting life is not fot you. Good luck to you.
Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 9:36 AM
Joined: 04/09/2010
Posts: 7

When us 'oldies' came into yachting, when it was a lot more unusual, dangerous and adventurous, we did it as a vocation, with passion. That passion is so ingrained, that we will continue until we are dragged off kicking and screaming - or dead. Yachting is at the opposite end of the spectrum to the 9-5 job. One of the big downsides is a lack of freedom - the yacht is always 'the other wife'. However, you do not have to choose between one and the other - just be smart about the sort of jobs you take - it is a big challenge, and takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice from you and your potential wife - but if you are successful, you get the best of both worlds - having a stable home life with family, and having a fun and rewarding work life on board. As you look around, you realise there are many options, rotation being one. And, there are many options in rotation. For me, I find that working on a yacht where the owner is relaxed and I have the majority say in the setting of itineraries, and I can bring my family on board with me to share the experiences of some of these amazing places we go, means that I spend more time with my family and still retain full pay than if I was on rotation. At the end of the day, as others have said, a successful crew, and a successful company on land, is made up of younger and older - the younger learn as well as doing some of the more physical tasks, the elders provide the experience and management. These days, there is so much paperwork to do on board that most of the younger crew don't want to do, anyway. To be successful in life, you have to change it to suit you - ask any successful owner. So, make yachting, and your family, fit you - not vice versa. And be prepared to compromise and sacrifice - you will be glad that you did.
Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 2:22 PM
Joined: 08/12/2008
Posts: 7

I dont need to read the ESSAYS! I LIKE the ages I am reading about ' Experience and age are a good thing but Stay fit!
Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2011 7:54 AM
Joined: 17/04/2011
Posts: 14

Popeye, fair play for asking, naturally as soon as you question anything about this lifestyle (even out of curiosity) people just assume "you don´t have the passion" etc etc.

I too have pondered this question, is it forever? Who knows. All I know, for now, is that with each month that passes by I am loving it more and more. I do, however, want to return to my home, family and friends some day in the future.  

Being only 25 this is probably a while away but I think the best thing you can do is just take it one step at a time. What if you meet Mrs Popeye (err...Olive Oyl?!) tomorrow? I have always thought the time to look for something else will be if Mrs Beachbum & kids ever come along. Who knows, I might not want that, it might never happen. I don´t know what I really want so at the moment am just going with the flow. I´ve always found the easiest people to get on with are those of a similar mindset. Life is short, just enjoy it.

I think the smaller boats give an opportunity for a "9-5" lifestyle.

Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2011 8:27 AM
Joined: 21/04/2011
Posts: 1

I'm a 48 year old chef trying to start a new career path at sea and wonder if I'm already expired before I even started. I'm chasing an old dream which got put on the backburner cause I got married out Culinary school and moved to Australia. But I'm finding it difficult to even get an interview due to my age, even though I'm in excellent health (still climb mountains for fun) and have top notch experience. Be happy that you've got to follow a dream, if you have another dream then chase that but one shouldn't worry about a careers expiry date or your own expiry date as you never know when either might end. Enjoy the journey one step or knot at a time!
Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2011 7:10 PM
Frankly you come across as naive and immature asking questions that insult those with experience, skills and dedication that come with age. You also help to perpetuate the view held by many that anyone over the age of 35 is "too old" and only want to leave to have babies and a land life. This is making it harder for those of us who are older, fit, capable and fun and who know want to stay in yachting. Why don't you take your head out of the dark place and really look around and see that there are many both people and opportunities after 35 but importantly ask yourself what YOU want to do without projecting your ageism on others.
Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2011 10:22 PM
Joined: 23/12/2009
Posts: 26

Well, this forum has certainly brought about quite a variety of responses.  We have had quite a number of people agree that they may not remain in yachting for their entire lives, despite a passion for the sea and for the job.  Others have decided to commit their life to yachting, which is also a perfectly reasonable option. 

When it comes down to it, obviously this is a personal decision that is to be left up to each individual.  To those of you who have very well explained your opinions, on both sides, thank you very much - I truly appreciate it.  That was the reason I started such a forum - not to convince anybody to go one way or another, but just to collect various points of view. 

To those of you who are personally attacking me simply for bringing up the subject, really, you should check take a look in the mirror, especially those that are then calling me "young and immature."  It is really mature to attack an anonymous poster in a public online forum.  You know who you are.   There was obviously never any intent to insult anybody.  In fact, I even mentioned that in my original posting. 

Let's take a fast look at the numbers here:  How many people do you know who are in their 20s and 30s working in yachting?  How about 40s?  50s?  60s?  I'll bet you anything the number is going down as the age is going up.  Of course those who have left yachting are not represented in this forum since they aren't on this website, but it is just some food for thought.  Not to say there aren't exceptions, and there is no right or wrong decision, but most of the people must be going somewhere as they grow older.  My point here is not to convince anybody they should leave the industry; my point is there are plenty of others out there who have asked themselves this same question. 

Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2011 10:26 PM
Joined: 23/12/2009
Posts: 26

beachbum wrote:
Being only 25 this is probably a while away but I think the best thing you can do is just take it one step at a time. What if you meet Mrs Popeye (err...Olive Oyl?!) tomorrow?

Finally, somebody with a sense of humor!  Kudos to you, beachbum!

Mr Aardvark
Posted: Monday, June 13, 2011 2:29 AM
Joined: 18/03/2009
Posts: 2

Well I am in the category of having left the industry about 7 years ago because of older family health. I orignaly fell into it by accident around 1998 and came home in 03. I have run about 5 well know yachts at the time as chief engineer. One of the biggest problems I had was of being homesick. That aside, I had worked in china, korea, new guniea, and around australia doing various jobs mainly with oil exploration and heavy equipment. All those jobs gave me a wealth of experience both with machinery and also dealing with people. I am now in my 50's, but I very much enjoyed looking after crew who had got too drunk, younger captains whom thought they knew everything, teaching stewies how to put the generators on-line and dealing with owners who sometimes don't quite understand the real world. Young people need a few older people around them to calm the waters and give an experienced eye whether for safety or learning.
Posted: Monday, June 13, 2011 12:24 PM
Joined: 05/08/2008
Posts: 3

As far as I see it. Age should only be a problem if you cant do your job properly
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 5:03 PM
Joined: 17/04/2011
Posts: 14

popeye wrote:
beachbum wrote:
Being only 25 this is probably a while away but I think the best thing you can do is just take it one step at a time. What if you meet Mrs Popeye (err...Olive Oyl?!) tomorrow?

Finally, somebody with a sense of humor!  Kudos to you, beachbum!

Thanks mate! Sense of humour round these forums is sometimes lacking, especially if you dare question the motives behind why were all here. It´s a privilaged lifestyle indeed but it isn´t the be all and end all, like I said just see where it takes you!

Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2015 3:47 PM
Joined: 12/10/2015
Posts: 1

I am 42 years old, and can't WAIT to get my first job as a deckhand!  I have lived ll over the US, had a great variety of land jobs from NY-CA, and have zero desire to have kids, settle down and marry, and have any "white picket jail-oh-fence!  I am taking the risk that I will still be hirable, as I have heard about the agism on Yachts, but am hopeful that I will find the right fit.  It definitely sounds like you are looking for land, and might want to consider that not everyone shares your wants and needs for the future!
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2016 2:26 PM
Joined: 28/10/2016
Posts: 1

Deckhandnewbie wrote:
I am 42 years old, and can't WAIT to get my first job as a deckhand!  I have lived ll over the US, had a great variety of land jobs from NY-CA, and have zero desire to have kids, settle down and marry, and have any "white picket jail-oh-fence!  I am taking the risk that I will still be hirable, as I have heard about the agism on Yachts, but am hopeful that I will find the right fit.  It definitely sounds like you are looking for land, and might want to consider that not everyone shares your wants and needs for the future!

Dear Lord! You don't look 42 in your profile pic! I am 35, single and free-spirited and also a newbie at this industry, and needed a change after living in Australia for 7 years.  After  a short research I've found that the more I was reading about yachting the more I wanted to do it.

Since your comment was from last year, I wanted to know if you were successful in stepping on a boat and start working. I am a wee bit concerned that age and that I am foreigner (language barriers)  might precludes me to find work and eventually I would have spent quite some money to get qualified to find myself on a dead end.

Any thoughts?

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