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starting as a deckhand

Discussion in 'Licensing & Education' started by merangely, Mar 2, 2015.

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  1. merangely

    merangely New Member

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    Hi Im new to all of this so please bear with me

    I'm looking to become a deckhand. I want to travel to Asia and other parts of the world. I live in new York and I can't seem to find any information on how to get started.

    I want to know the process and what schools and courses I should take to hopefully some day become a deckhand on a boat. (Any type of boat is fine with me)

    If you can help me out I'd really appreciate it.
  2. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Google these things:
    ~STCW Basic Safety Training. You'll need this to even be considered
    and then
    ~Yacht crew agents
    and then
    ~Dockwalking

    These will get you started
  3. merangely

    merangely New Member

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    That's it? I know absolutely nothing about boats. Should I just look at YouTube videos and Google or is there an actual class specifically for deckhands.
  4. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    In that case, also google I know nothing about boats and want to be a deckhando_O

    In all seriousness, that in itself won't preclude you from the job if you are smart, personable, and a very hard worker.
  5. merangely

    merangely New Member

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    Thank you
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Contact NY Waterway
    459 12th Ave
    New York, NY
    (800) 533-3779

    Working the water taxis will give you very good experience, sea time, and lead you towards a license if you want to become a professional. Get a second job in the hospitality industry to teach you how to deal with guests.

    or you can go to Ft. Lauderdale next winter and pound the docks if all you want is a job on a boat traveling.

    You'll need an STCW either way, but the Waterway can employ you while directing you through it.
  7. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    Hi merangely, we need some more information...how old are you? Male or Female? Not only are you starting at the bottom, you're starting below the hull (underneath the water). The above are starting points, but to get aboard a boat that travels to Asia you've got to have a lot of feathers in your cap. Listen to NYCAP, he's in your neighborhood, and knows more about what you need than I do. If and when you do get a gig and you're good enough at something to warrant being aboard, you'll sleep in something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. I would postpone anything to do with getting aboard a boat until you've taken enough classes and get enough ratings to get enough attention to get a decent job. There are crew members who spend years of school work and doing tons of crappy jobs, before they can get on board a boat large enough to tour the Far East. I guess what I'm saying is what everyone else is trying to say in a very nice way, there is no easy way, or short cut to where you want to be. Just take your time, do the work, and talk to enough people here and elsewhere, to determine how to make every step a forward one towards your goal, and not take side steps.

    You know what? Disregard the above of my post, call three or four Cruise ship lines, ask them what you need to get hired, as anything. And work for three or fours years on a Cruise ship. You'll travel more, learn hospitality, etc., and when you have down time take courses to further your education. It's the best short cut I can come up with. Best of luck.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  8. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    [QUOTE="NEO56, post: 212724, member: 42325"...... work for three or fours years on a Cruise ship. . It's the best short cut I can come up with. Best of luck.[/QUOTE]

    The cruise ship route is probably one of the worst for transition to yachts. The crop of engineers coming out with 3 rd engineers tickets when their studies are finished these days are a very poorly trained or capable group of employees for the most part. The Deck Officers also seem to be suffering some sort issue or other for the most part.

    If you want to work on yachts, you need to find a job where you can learn about yachts albeit daywork, boatyard work or whatever. You will also need to undertake the basic STCW Safety courses if you intend to get a job on anything that leaves the contiguous 48.
  9. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    +1. On a cruise ship you'll be a private in an army, and there's a very good chance that you'll get no experience that relates to yachting. You want to build up experience that relates. You want to learn how to maintain, repair or run boats. Other relative fields might be hotel management, and cooking. Deckhand on a yacht is a job, not a career. It's an entry level position, and it's often done as part of the job of other positions. i.e. more than a few captains, chefs, stewards, etc. handle lines and clean the boats. Develop a skill set that will fast-track you to advancement. You also want skills that can be brought to other industries (should yachting not work out).
    If you're young and strong, how about doing a season on the Bering Sea fishing fleet. Good chance you'll make a lot of money in a short time, while getting a baptism by fire. It'll definitely be an experience you'll never forget. The crew boats serving the Gulf oil fields will also give you some good experience.
  10. Lili429

    Lili429 Member

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    Ok guys be gentle with me here. I just came out of my classes and testing in Fort Lauderdale and met so many people who were in your same situation. Several of them never passed the test but had been working on boats for quite some while. There are boats that are docked at Pier 66 who are looking for inexperienced deckhands to work with their experienced Engineers and Crew. Getting your sea time is super important if you ever want to get any type of license.

    I would check in the Captain and Crew section of this forum to find people who are looking for those type people.

    It's a great way to get experience and also suggest crewfinder.com. We are owners of a boat with crew and would love to have someone who has a passion and wants to learn to become part of this wonderful life.

    For sure get your STCW - which gives you experience in safety and fire-fighting.

    Hang tough. Passion and a desire to learn can get you where you never thought you would be.
  11. Lili429

    Lili429 Member

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    And listen to NYCAP123 - he has a wealth of knowledge.
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Thank you. Not smart, but if you live something long enough you're bound to pick up a few things.

    I've met very few captains who passed all their tests the first time out. My wife got her's on the third try. I would have failed one section had it not been a rainy day and a tug cruised past the Battery in NY (where the CG headquarters is). I drew a complete blank on how many degrees in a masthead light. lol. That tug made it an "open book" question. lol.
  13. Lili429

    Lili429 Member

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    Ha ha. I wrote a song with all of the mnemonics. I just really love the lifestyle and will be very vocal for women on this site.

    I feel so much hurt from when I began posting here and it felt discouraging- but I have followed very very often and when I read your posts they are always so helpful.

    I'm going to take a mechanical course next.

    I just want to continue the passion and believe a woman can bring a special touch to her husbands dreams. They have become my dreams too. I understand lines, knots, cleats, etc and I think every person who wants to embrace the seas must, can and will accomplish it.

    Sometimes women learn a little differently - and when I went to sea school I really had slot to overcome. 2nd woman in 6 months.

    I did pass my first time and credit that to much studying, reading and research from this forum.

    Thank you.
  14. Lili429

    Lili429 Member

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    Plotting was a *****
  15. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Good. Women need more representation throughout this industry and business. And the business needs them. BTW, women don't learn a little different. They learn a lot different, and in many ways better. My wife also hated plotting, because she hates practical math. I love both. She can type like a jet fighter and spell like Webster. I hunt and peck, and thank God for spell check. lol. Viva la difference.

    Speaking of difference, men tend to test each other and make them pay dues before accepting them. It sometimes takes a thick skin. Glad you hung in.:)
  16. Lili429

    Lili429 Member

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    Please put your wife in touch with me - I bet she has alot to offer to a newbie like me. In fact - maybe I will start a thread.
  17. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    When we left Ft. Lauderdale she said she was done with tourists, boats and boaters, and she'd rather deal with dogs. And that's exactly what she did. Need any dog bones? lol. She hadn't been on a boat smaller than a ferry since until she joined me on the Erie Canal leg of our current Great Loop adventure last summer.
    Give you an idea though of where I get my respect for female boat handlers, she was up on the New River one day when she lost the steering on our outboard powered tour boat. All she could do was spin and play the throttle and the current. She went around and around and around until she slid it into the sea wall, under the bow of one large yacht and behind the stern of the one in front without 5' to spare. Not sure even I could have done it so well. Then there was the time she didn't let go of the ski line in time, and got a major rope burn across her palm. She completed the charter, sticking her hands in the salt water, and never let me know until the charter was over. I've had male crew that would cry like babies if they got a splinter.

    P.S. When I met her she didn't even swim. She followed me into boating. When our business got to where I needed another captain, she got her license and took over so we wouldn't have to pay someone else.
  18. Lili429

    Lili429 Member

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    OMG I am laughing out loud - but think I will experience some of the same things. We just get through it right? It's the respect for you guys that keeps you going. I never want to let my honey down - and although I don't want to admit it - he thinks much differently than I do. She sounds so awesome and I hope someday we cross your path!!!!!! We have a black lab (10) who just got on a boat for the first time ever. She loved it and I love her for being my little captainess on the boat. Dogs have great souls.
  19. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Different isn't bad. In fact it's good. Ying and Yang. And yes she is awesome. If it weren't for PMS she'd be near perfect. lol. Hope you put a PFD on that pooch when on deck. They do fall/jump overboard.