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Quick Captain Question

Discussion in 'Yacht Captains' started by kdock87, Mar 6, 2007.

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  1. kdock87

    kdock87 New Member

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    Hi all,

    I will be completing my Maritime Transportation Degree in the next two years. With the degree i will aquire a USCG Deck license. From this point how long/ hard will it be to acomplish my goal of being a super yacht captain.

    Thanks
    Kdock
  2. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    What sort of Deck Licence will you acquire?

    I have recently met a young guy( early 20's) who did a degree in the US and came out with a 3rd Mates unlimited Licence. He has taken a job as deckhand on a 60m yacht to get some experience as he begins his climb up the ladder.

    I don't want to rain on your parade but you have to understand that before 99% of the people make it to super yacht captain they have spent several years at the very least as super chamois, squeegie, tender and hosepipe captains a select few even master the art of applying varnish and paint ot rival the pros whilst on their path to the cabin behind the wheelhouse.
  3. kdock87

    kdock87 New Member

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    I will have the same license as the guy you met....do you think i should ship out commercially inorder to gain sea time....with the license i come out of school with i will also have my 100 ton captains license...if i work a year at sea commercially as a third mate ...i can become a second mate and will gain my 1600 ton license...

    thanks
    kdock
  4. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    As I was trying to say above the qualification itself is not worth much itself when looking for a job without experience.

    Just because in your own words you will "aquire" a 3rd Mates licence do you expect to go aboard a commercial ship as 3rd mate for your first position after this?
  5. kdock87

    kdock87 New Member

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    I kno that i could get a third mate job definately...there is a high demand for ship officers...but i dont know if i want to "ship Out" commercially..i was thinking ship out for a few years, then turn to private yachts
  6. cranky

    cranky New Member

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    Best advise I every had after I got my first licence was that now I had permission to start learning about seamanship.

    Nearly 5 years later I changed over to yachting and had to accept that I was a deckhand again.
  7. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Very well put Cranky.

    When you were told that originally you probably though "you silly old so and so, I know all about seamanship, I have the licence to prove it. I can show it to you when the ink dries :)" but now that you have been down that road would you agree that you actualy learned something in those 5 yrs and then again since the switch to yachts.

    How long ago was this anyway?
  8. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    Well it sounds like you are coming out of one the Maritime Acadamies.
    Your thought of shipping out to upgrade your license certainly has some merit. I was in your position 15 years ago and it took an awfully long time for me to get the 720 sea days to upgrade to 1600 ton. This was mainly due to the fact that most yachts very rarely do an 8 hour day (yes a sea day is 8 hours!). I never had the inclination to ship commercially, I would give it some serious thought.
    On the other hand I think working on a big yacht is much more enjoyable, and we are certainly in need of good US deckies. For me it was about 6 years before I made the jump, but don't be so quick to put a number on it.
    When you come out of the Academy and decide to join the yachting world, remember that aside from your general seamanship and navigations skills, you were not taught the skills needed to work on a yacht. I recommend that you try to get on as big a boat as possible that is in the charter business, this way you will learn more, make better contacts and get your sea time.
    It is important to remember that the license doesn't make the mariner, it is the sea time and experience that counts.
  9. cranky

    cranky New Member

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    There is a lot more to the story but lets just say from when I decided I wanted to be a yacht captain to actually being one took nearly 15 years. And I still have a long way to go, I guess if it was an easy journey it wouldn't be worthwhile.
  10. kdock87

    kdock87 New Member

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    thank you all for your advise, it has made me realize that no matter how qualified i am, im still going to need to work at the bottom of the barrel first...

    Thank you very much
    kdock


    PS. How many days a year does a private yacht sail?
  11. cranky

    cranky New Member

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    How long is a piece of string ????

    Depends on the owner
  12. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    Hehe, thats a good one, cranky.

    kdock, there is nothing wrong with starting at the bottom and working your way up. The big jobs, with the big salaries, will come with time. Better to have some solid experience and be ready for it, as opposed to not enough experience which could lead to a mistake and consequently ruining future prospects.

    Learn how to make beds and clean heads. Hopefully learning from someone who is top notch. When you learn every detail of every crew member's jobs by actually doing them, it will make you a better boss. You will know what is a reasonable performance expectation, and what is not.

    I was lucky enough starting out to work for several excellent captains, and one or two who I did not think so highly of. It helped to be able to cultivate what I thought were the best traits of each captain and incorporate them into my management style. Although I have not worked on large yachts with large crews, I do believe that having a solid, yet varied background can only make you that much more successful.

    The smallest part of the equation in running many yachts is your license. Granted, you should be a competent mariner in order to get your foot in the door. The real challenge is in managing a crew, and most importantly, keeping your boss happy.
    Best of luck in your endeavors.
  13. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    kdock,
    One more thought. When you do get your captain's license, show it proudly but guard it like it's gold, because it is to you. I think getting a license (from a six-pack on up) is a great accomplishment. Sea time, studying, taking that long initial test, it's part of the process. And once you get your ticket, you know you have arrived. But don't get too cocky about it, there is always much to learn. And don't let anyone, an owner, a guest or your own judgement, have you make a bad decision that puts you, your crew or guests, or vessel in danger. You are responsible for people's lives, and you will have to answer for it if something happens.
    Good luck.
  14. kdock87

    kdock87 New Member

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    hi all

    Thank you soo much for your advice. Your advice has sent me in the right direction.

    Thank you
    kdock
  15. JHA

    JHA Senior Member

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    Capt/Deckie/Stew/Engineer/Therapist... not in that order

    Capt. Kilbride made a good point, and one that I think is often overlooked by (some captains). Learn everything you can about every job aboard. I cursed the captain who had me doing "beds 'n heads" nearly ten years ago. But when a green stew comes to me now and asks for help with the heads I take a great deal of pride teaching her (or him) the little "pocket" thing in the towels, and the diamond in the t.p...