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Life as a Crew Member
Sailors working in a crew have different positions that range from junior steward to first mate to captain. This hierarchy offers a pretty rad career opportunity: you can go from ‘ahoy matey’ to savvy skipper as you grow in the profession. How cool is that? These roles come with various responsibilities and required skills but there are some general personality traits a sailor should have.
Tracy says that that seamen (and sea-women) are generally:
Is this your personality in a nutshell? Then you could be suited to a life at sea. Before you rush off to the nearest coastline, it is a good idea to think about a mariner’s lifestyle. As awesome as living on a yacht sounds, adjusting to this life is the real test. Sailing professionally is more than a job; it is a way of life.
Tracy explains that it’s important to adapt to the long working hours, small living space and life away from the main land,
“You need to work hard and be used to living on a vessel for most of the year. You will not be shore-based for very long so you will need to be able to love the ocean.”
If you can adjust to these conditions and get over not seeing loved ones for a while, cruising the ocean is a wonderful experience.
If you are into the idea of travelling and working at the same time then super yachting is like winning the career lotto. One of the big career opportunities in the sailing field is working on super yachts overseas.
What exactly is a super yacht? So it’s like a normal yacht, only super. Most qualified maritimers aim to work on these. What’s the big deal about working on super yachts? Well, your job involves travelling and earning dollars and/or euros while living on a luxury yacht. Not a bad job description right there. This has even become a cool gap year option.
So what do seamen spend their days doing? Firstly, there’s a reason for the expression ‘all hands on deck’. The deck (and all other parts of the boat) are activity hotspots. There are always tasks to be done and working hard is a real thing.
Learning the Ropes
Getting your sea legs may seem like a challenge but with some training, you can find your feet. Lame joke. Actually it’s a wannabe joke. What a sail! I mean ‘fail’. Okay, I’m going to stop now.
Seriously though, there are basic training courses that will allow you to get skilled up and ready to take to the high seas within a short amount of time. The two main entry requirements for these courses are:
A matric certificate
Knowing how to swim
Reaching a professional level is not too complicated since there are only five main steps to take.
The process of becoming a seafarer (cool word for sailor):
Know the yachting basics—do a beginners course to help you get to grips with the basic skills
Go full steam ahead with career training — this involves practical and theoretical courses
Get qualified — sailing involves passing some course exams which are mostly practical
Get a commercially endorsed certificate — complete an advanced yachting course and pass a medical test
A commercial endorsement means you can work on any British flagged commercial yacht. Getting commercial endorsement is your ticket to scoring jobs on board fancy vessels and earning the big bucks.
Tip: Start with a competent crew course and work your way towards an advanced offshore yachtmaster course.
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