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Age barriers??

Discussion in 'Yacht Crews' started by Argonaught, Jan 4, 2008.

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  1. Argonaught

    Argonaught New Member

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    Hi. I am seeking some advice................ For my next adventure I am looking at the super yacht industry, initially as a mate. I am ex New Zealand navy and have considerable command experience in vessels 30 - 50 metres as well as several years watch keeping in frigates and other ships. Also completed about 15,000 miles cruising the Pacific in my own 40foot sloop. I am a competent ship handler, navigator, and seaman. Am also a capable engineer and would be comfortable overseeing the plant and machinery of a vessel up to 50 metres. As well as that lot I have had management experience in the retail and tourism industries.

    I plan on heading to Europe in April / May 08 to look for work and by that time will have obtained the RYA 200ton offshore skippers and basic STCW 95 tickets in addition to my RNZN Bridge Watchkeeping and Ocean navigation certificates..

    So my question: is being 50 years old going to be a major obstacle in finding a mate position????
  2. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    As a fellow NZer I would like to welcome you to Yacht Forums.

    I don't want to rain on your parade but have to say honestly that you will be up against it purely by your age.

    I was told when I was 40 I was too old to be Chief Engineer by a Crew Agency person. I don't know if she had any comprehension where I got my experience to be holding a Merchant Navy Chiefs Ticket in the first place having also had nearly 20 yrs on yachts.

    I got an ex Sealord guy a job as second engineer on a 60 m yacht in 2006 who had been turned down by several agencies at 44 yrs of age. He has a NZ Issued STCW 95 Class 1 Certificate and no one would touch him as it would be his first boat. If anyone had bothered to read his CV fully they would have seen that he did 2nds and Chiefs twice as his S.A. Tickets were not accepted to the NZ System when he arrived in 1994. No mean feat in anyones books.

    This guy has taken to the business like a duck to water and has declined to look at another job I heard of for him recently out of pure gratitude to the Captain who gave him his first break into the industry.

    If either of the guys mentioned here see this they will know who they are for sure.

    All that down and negative stuff said I wish you luck and you never know when you will stand in the lucky puddle. Yachting can be very fickle like that to put it mildly.
  3. Argonaught

    Argonaught New Member

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    Hi K1W1,

    Thanks very much for your welcome and response, which unfortunately for me, is along the lines that I expected!

    It would appear that despite published crew shortages (?), the industry as a whole has blinkers on. Being in your 40’s, I am sure you would agree that 50 is not old! I was kind of hoping, perhaps naively, that my considerable experience, excellent training, proven management skills, and great personality coupled with recent refresher training might have given me a reasonable chance at a look in.

    Still not totally off the idea, I think I will contact some agencies before forking out the $6k to get the RYA and STCW.

    Once again thanks for you realistic advice!!
  4. Garry Hartshorn

    Garry Hartshorn Senior Member

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    The older you are the tougher it seems to get into yachting. However there are plenty of owners who want crew and captains with experiance. As long as the boat does not charter you do not need to go down the path of getting an MCA ticket. Might I suggest that you get your Kiwi master class 4 commercial ticket or larger if possible. Then look at a captains position on a 30 m private yacht.
  5. Codger

    Codger YF Wisdom Dept.

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    Argonaut.
    I just traveled half way across North America to hire an experienced machinist.
    Granted that this is in a different industry but don't sell yourself short.
    I'm sure that there are owners out there that are looking for someone that has already made his mistakes, and learned from them, on someone else's dime.

    Another thought on this. Let it be known as widely as possible that you are looking. The man I'm about to hire was looking for almost 8 months and I only heard about him by accident on Thursday. Send your CV out to as many places as possible even if at first glance they don't seem to be potential employers. Sure, many of them will end up in File 13 but as in my case the CV may just find it's way to someone with an interest.
  6. Gareth

    Gareth New Member

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    I'm 57, I got out of the business when my kids were born,now they have grown. I'm looking to get back into boats. I agree there's prejudice against age, luckily some of my contemporaries who stayed in the business are now leading lights. I'm a dinghy coach, which speaks to my agility. I've been sneaking in slowly as a delivery skipper. I'm going to upgrade my Yachtmaster (one of the earliest) to "professional" in a couple of weeks.

    Crew agencies are ignoring me however. Let's see what happens.
  7. Argonaught

    Argonaught New Member

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    I had a feeling that this topic might generate a little bit of interest! Thank you to those who have posted replies. I am also amazed that there does not seem to be much information about professional yacht crewing available on the internet. After some weeks of researching I think that this forum is the most useful that I have found to date. I am presently in a library skimming through the popular yachting magazines but am yet to find any articles on crewing!

    I note that this forum is largely American in content, and was wondering if there was a European equivalent??
  8. jdpeterson

    jdpeterson New Member

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    The Triton

    The Triton, a news source located in Ft. Lauderdale, publishes monthly and is an excellent source of information for captains and crew. Although based in the USA, has broad coverage. The link is thetriton.com (Carl, please delete the link if you deem it inappropriate to this forum.)
  9. endeavour

    endeavour New Member

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    Age Barrier

    Hi,

    I am also a fellow NZer and just turned 60 and have yet to experience the joys of ageism in the luxury yacht employment market. While I am based in the UK which has anti ageism legislation they always find ways to get around employing you or the work is based in a country where they do not have such laws and they are able to request your date of birth.

    I have been an IT consultant/Accountant, and have decided a career change was necessary and so I have just completed my RYA Yachtmaster offshore and have been looking for my first sailing job. I realise that I will have to start at the bottom of the rung in order to get a foot in the door. despite having sailed most of life and owned my own keel boats.

    I am very fiI for my age exercising regularly so if anyone knows of any work I would be interested in hearing from them.

    Endeavour
  10. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Depending upon your IT skills you might get lucky just on the strength of this as there is such a dire shortage of guys and gals with the appropriate skills and experience in the business.

    What level are your IT Quals up to?

    Do you have any other skills like the repair of the equipment as well?

    If your IT Skills are really high I can put you in touch with a guy for a job in Auckland
  11. SSLillypad

    SSLillypad New Member

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    I would have to agree our, Age shouldn't be as much a problem as a lack of responsability a young mate might display. I'm not bashing the younger folks, as I'm sure there are many young folks out there with more know hows than I may have and can keep a ship out of harms way, but there are many young guns out there that want to play more than work. You'd expect the gray beards to be past that and more respnsible for the owners.
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I was an old man (38) when I got into this business. Did some commercial work , then went to Laud. Hit upon an owner who asked me how much I wanted. Said he'd call back. Ran into him again, same question. I said "whatever you want to pay, then we'll revisit the subject after you see what I know". That was 20 years ago. There's not much I haven't done in this business before or since, and that's the key. If you know how to work, and to think and just don't understand how to fail and give up there are employers who will recognize the wisdom and experience we bring to the game. I will say though that they are regulating and licensing old and young out of the trade. Just too many papers required these days and they cost too much in money and time to get to be worth the trouble. I think I'm getting out at my next renewal. That's a bit of experience leaving the trade.
  13. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    You are right in that the "paper" knowledge is about to kill the real world knowledge.

    I was a teacher at one of the first ever schools of driving and navigating high speed boats in the early 70:s. It wasn´t mandatory then, but today new regulations will force me to go to the same school to get a certificate before I am allowed to drive the boats I am building...

    It is about the same with my old papers for captaining yachts, the fact that I was running an 85-footer for years is worth nothing since I have not been renewing my papers this side of the millenium.
  14. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    One more layer of paper.

    Curious, Now that all Masters are required to get the new Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) issued by the TSA for $135 plus additional prescreening by the TSA (Weren't we already checked by the FBI?)how does that affect our foreign brethren?
  15. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "... Now that all Masters are required ..."

    Anyone holding a USCG issued license, MMD, or STCW is required to obtain a TWIC before April 15, 2009, not just "masters." And if your MMD or license is fairly recent (the dates are different for the MMD and the license) the cost is $105.

    As for foreign crew, they will require an escort through "secure" areas.
  16. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    “You are right in that the "paper" knowledge is about to kill the real world knowledge.”

    Let’s look at this from another point of view. The number of commercial yachts is growing rapidly. The number of trained and experienced mariners is dropping nearly as quickly. The passengers carried aboard a commercial yacht have every right to expect that the crew and yacht both meet the highest standards in every respect. The increased training standards were developed to protect passengers and the environment, not to eliminate “real world knowledge.”


    STCW and the other IMO conventions related to maritime safety did not just appear because the regulators were bored, they were developed in response to a real need to improve safety and reduce the number of deaths of crew and passengers and reduce marine pollution. None of this really applied to yachts in the past, yachts were for the most part privately owned and the public was at little risk. The only yachts that traveled the oceans were mostly privately crewed by professionals with a long history and a great deal of experience. Very few advertised themselves as charter boats and offered international cruises to anyone with enough money.

    With charter yachts over 300 tons becoming the norm and yachts over 500 tons very common in international trade, they have become commercial shipping as much as a bulk carrier or containership. The life of a yacht charter passenger is no less worthy of a qualified crew than one onboard a cruise ship or ferry.

    We are talking about international trade, not the small boats being used to take people fishing on near shore waters or day-trips around a bay somewhere. There are no new requirements for US issued “6-pax” or the other highly limited domestic tickets that have no application or validity on commercial yachts.

    There is a new world order, we can either adapt or become irrelevant. The seatime and experience of the old guard is not gone but unless they have evolved with the system and made the choice to continue their professional development through recurrent training and upgrades they will be left in the past. It is a matter of keep up or get forced out. It isn’t necessarily fair but it is the only way to eliminate those who can’t keep up. And that is what is most important to the future of the industry.

    Do I think the “system” is going is the right direction? Mostly yes, but I believe it is a flawed system, especially in the case of yacht restricted licenses. The sea-time requirements are so very low that we are becoming highly dependent on technology to replace experience and a quick review of the accident reports makes it very obvious that technology alone is not sufficient.
  17. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    I am not sure I follow what you are saying, but when I say real world knowledge, I mean what it takes to do the job, not to get the job.
  18. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "... when I say real world knowledge, I mean what it takes to do the job ..."

    Uh, that is what I was writing about. To do the job now takes a lot more training and the certifications to prove it. Doing the job is more than just steering a boat and avoiding the rocks and shoals.
  19. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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  20. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    So not counting the time it takes to gain enough experience to "just steer and stay off the rocks and shoals" (which so far has taken me 50 years) a person entering this field should go to this school for about 150 days and pay several thousand dollars for the privlige of what. And that's not counting little things like stints at a merchant marine accadamy or military time. Oh well, at least they'll be able to read a wine label. I'm sure that will make up for not being able to read a sea or a chart like the yacht I watched coming down from Boston in 7' seas last summer who followed his courseline religiously while taking it on the quarter all the way to the CC canal (can anyone spell seasick guests)and while almost running into a lighthouse because he didn't notice the buoy a 1/4 mile to its east. I think the profession may be heading for a time when they have very well tested, multiply certified, computer skilled ....oh wait, they can make more money on land working 9-5 and have a family. :rolleyes: