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PNW College grad looking for career advice

Discussion in 'Yacht Crews' started by N.D.Nichols, Jan 8, 2017.

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  1. N.D.Nichols

    N.D.Nichols New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA, USA
    Hey everyone, my name is Nathaniel Nichols and I'm curious if anyone has any advice on becoming a deckhand; or in general how to break into the world of being on a yacht crew.
    A bit about me:
    I'm a recent graduate from Western Washington University with a degree in Archaeology.
    I've grown up around the water love the outdoors.
    I like to dive, hike, and camp.
    I've worked labor jobs my whole life, from roof cleaning, window washing, landscaping, and as a janitor.
    I've got a strong work ethic and take pride in all of my jobs.

    I'm looking for a career in this field, NOT just a "holiday" or "fun" job, but something I can do for the rest of my life and support a future family on. I have the utmost respect for all of those that work out on the water and would appreciate any and all advice from you all.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  2. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    4,333
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    First, I like your attitude and approach and the method by which you're asking.

    Now, have you been around any deckhands? What do you know about what the job is really like? How do you feel about being away from home most of the time with your future family? What kind of time have you spent on the water that tells you boats are for you?" Do you know enough about yacht jobs to really know that's where you want to turn?

    You don't need to answer those questions for us but be sure you're asking them to yourself. One reason I ask is that you started with an interesting major in Archaeology, but one that either wasn't aimed toward a profession or that you've now decided that profession isn't for you.

    There are two elements to training for yacht crew jobs. Education and Time. Education at minimum means some time at a Maritime Institute or Training school getting STCW plus some other training that will show you are serious. This in total is at least a two week program. At the other end would be a Maritime School for a degree. Part of the process certainly includes how far you intend to aim in your yacht career.

    Then there is time. You need time but then how do you get time if no one will give you time because you don't have time. It's the old experience issue. Part of it is working hard at getting positions and part is the luck of being in the right place at the right time. I see them together because being in the right place typically comes from effort to be there. Are you prepared to move across the country to pursue this as most of the careers in the US are on the East Coast, the majority in the Fort Lauderdale area? Can you afford to live while waiting and not earning? It's a huge move. Ideally one spends time living in a crew house, gets to know others, gets day work when they can while doing part time jobs to survive, and h0pes for opportunity. But you need to be immersed in the yachting world. Now if you're aiming for captain's training or engineering training the fastest way to build up sea time is on commercial vessels. If your goal is to be a captain then that will require several years of time/experience.

    The fact you dive is great and if you are or can become certified then that gives you a nice plus over others starting. Your willingness to work hard is a huge plus as is your approach toward career vs fun temporary job.

    You might do a search here on deckhand as this question does come up periodically.

    I'd suggest a strange site and book too and that's by Julie Perry-workonayacht.com and Insider's Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess. If you've never been on yachts, it will give you some insight and much applies to deck, just inside vs. outside. There is also a site, superyachtcrewjobs.com and Superyacht Crew Bible is available there.

    None of these are absolute industry Bibles but they do give some insight by different people.

    Now, to start, there are commercial jobs in your area and a few pleasure boat jobs. You could get some basic STCW training and target some form of commercial or pleasure job prior to making a decision to move and become more aggressive.

    I don't know that I've supplied answers, but just some things to consider as you think about this.
  3. Wally

    Wally New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    seattle
    Some online websites to check out that can give you some broad and specific info on yachting.

    PNW Captains Meeting (Seattle Facebook page for yacht crew)
    lacassemaritime (Local crew placement agency)
    the triton (Web magazine)
  4. N.D.Nichols

    N.D.Nichols New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA, USA
    Thank you guys for the prompt responses!
    I haven't been around any deckhands before, but my father has always worked on harbor patrol in Seattle and I always enjoyed being on the boat with him. Honestly, I have no experience working on any vessels, but I would like to start working some jobs so I can build experience and really get a hold on the job responsibilities. What I do know about the job, is that you work long hours and have to stay vigilant with little to no sleep at times, especially when out in deep open water. While I can't speak to how I would do in this type of environment, (because I haven't been there), I do know that I can work under pressure and that I always am more calm near and around water. And as for being away from family for long periods of time, I can handle that. I know there is always more to learn and I definitely need to do more research on this, but I figured this was a great place to start. Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it! This definitely gave me some answers!
    And thank you guys for the resources too, I'll definitely look through all of these.

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