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Average career lifespan
Posted: Friday, November 13, 2009 7:33 PM
Joined: 17/06/2008
Posts: 70

How long does the average person stay in yachting? Breaking into the game is more challenging these days and the average of crew seems to be creeping up. I would guess the average age of crew to be thirty one (31) and the average time people stay in the game now is eight (8) years. When I began working full-time in yachting no yacht specific qualifications existed and few people had licenses, unless they came from the commercial world, did RYA or USCG tickets. Has the introduction of yacht qualifications created a realistic career path for the next generation of yachting professionals?
Posted: Saturday, November 14, 2009 8:50 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Well Dean, be careful that your not viewing the world thru Motoryacht lenses. Sailors start young, disregard paper tickets and stay at the game much longer. Many times their entire life. I frequently have 21 year olds as crew who first started sailing when they were children and I know many captains in their fifties, sixties. In major yacht centers Im always running into sailors with 20 or more years on the yachts. The only thing I see new on the present yacht scene is the normal progression as you age into your career. Typical a sailor would hold course for 20 years or a couple hundred thousand miles and when their knees or back gave out, move into the slow motion world of marinas, dock express and motoryachts. At present you actually see young guys sign on as motoryacht crew before they have gone thru this phase. Many times this leaves Senior sailing guys out of yachts to sit on, so they simply take up shore side marine activities. The short career you mention regarding motoryacht crew is easily explained by the lack of challenge and the utter boredom involved with the programs. Listen to all the crew complaining about overwork or whatever around here ! They are bored self pitying motoryacht crew. Perhaps 8 years is an eternity on a motoryacht. As an Engineer I would strongly recommend that for your next yacht you sign on a modern sailing yacht. The level of complexity and challenge faced by a sailing engineer dwarfs what is found on motoryachts... , mountains of equipment, machinery that must operate 20 degrees off level, salt water everywhere , feathering propellers, retractable foils, weight sensitive high failure rate gear and layouts, millions of dollars worth of highly stressed hardware aloft, huge constructed steel cradles to handle the yacht on the hard. The challenge is great and when the challenge is great, work becomes a passion and you stay for a long time.
Nancy Smyth
Posted: Saturday, November 14, 2009 4:14 PM
Joined: 12/06/2008
Posts: 3

I got into the industry by sheer accident and at a late age (42) for the yachting industry. My experience began when I started sailing in the Carribean at 21 years of age.  After working as a legal secretary in NYC for over 19 years I moved to Newport, RI and had crew stay with me.  Thanks to Norma Terse formerly of Worldwide Yachting, I packed my bags and came to Fort Lauderdale and have never looked back. It was the best career move of my life and at age 61 I'm still working as a freelance yacht chef and own my own home and fortunately one of the owner's of a yacht I worked on sent me to culinary school.  The yachting industry has definitely kept me young and fit.

Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2009 11:06 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1061

Average? My guess... about 5 years for girls, 15 years for guys, longer if you count in ancillary businesses and not just onboard crew.