Ever had a desire to leave the shore behind and set out to sea? Sailing off into the sunset can actually be a career option. Let’s test the waters and see whether sailing is for you.
If you’re anything like me, you think life at sea involves free dolphin shows and spectacular sunsets on a daily basis. Reality check: sailing takes skill and commitment. I caught up with 2 Oceans Maritime Academy’s operations manager, Tracy Marr, to find out what it takes to become a mariner. Spoiler alert: this is a legit career choice that requires lot of time offshore.
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.
2 Oceans Maritime Academy
If spending time out at sea is something that (literally) floats your boat then perhaps consider doing a training course. 2 Oceans Maritime Academy is a sailing school which offers internationally recognised training courses. They provide Royal Yachting Association (RYA) courses which are UK-based qualifications known for their high standard.
From Basics to Brilliant Boater:
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As the saying goes “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for”. It is great to try something new and get out of your comfort zone. What could be better than starting a career in boating and exploring the horizons? Setting sail promises adventure and cool experiences. I’m not going to lie: the ability to sail the seven seas also looks pretty awesome on your CV. Just saying.