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Dean's Blog

Over 40 but not over the hill

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Yachting is preoccupied with youth and for the most part this is justified. There are many more entry level positions than there are senior positions, therefore yachting will be forever young. Having said that, there is a solid demand for veteran crew because experience has its perks, so long as it comes with the right attitude and performance on the job.



Before yachting I wasn't a butcher, baker or candle stick maker, I was an Engineer and this is probably why I’ve been able to stay in yachting for so long. Marine engineering is my profession and whether I’m working onboard or ashore the job is virtually the same for me because extended periods of time away are all part of being in the marine industry.


Yachting is a truly international business that needs people of all ages, experience levels and qualifications. The best way to stay in the game is to keep healthy, remain realistic and always be prepared to learn something new, even if that means going back to school. I’m hitting the books this year and taking full advantage of the distance learning courses available online.

In my younger days I worked hard to keep on top of things, whereas today I work smart to stay organized and use good technique whenever I’m performing physical tasks. 


As an older and hopefully wiser crew member I do have a responsibility to show people the ropes, set them in the right direction and provide them with valuable “Aha moments,” that enable people to excel in the workplace.


Yachting is a legitimate career option these days and I hope the current generation of newbies aspire to stick with yachting for many years, because few jobs offer such diversity, pleasure and reward.


The best advice I can give to a person trying to break into the game is don’t follow the crowd, consider getting a trade and come back to yachting when you have vocational skills that give you real edge. Engineering, culinary and hospitality staff are the backbone of yachting and all of these jobs are equally viable at sea and on land. 

I've experienced the ageism within the industry because of being an over 40 engineer. The young captains of today who don't like to employ the more mature crew will be the ones complaining when they can not get a position because of age.
Posted by: Malcolm Tod at 27/05/2011 20:28

As I've gotten older I've realized there is ageism, on that point why would anyone want to work with a Captain that discriminates against people?

The age of staff in our engine room ranges from 17 through to 53, some full-time and some part-time.

Giving young people a shot is important, as is recognizing the potential of older crew.

Age is much more than a number, it is a measure of potential and life experience. The young rely on their potential and ability to learn, whereas more senior crew rely on workplace experience and proven ability.
Posted by: Dean at 27/05/2011 21:11

Posted by: capt ron at 28/05/2011 00:15

On our boat we have over 20 crew and the average age is in the mid thirties. I have been on the boat one year and am the second newest crew member with most people having served longer than 3 years. The Captain gains stability and professionalism from employing more mature crew.
Posted by: wondrinfree at 28/05/2011 11:41

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