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Old 02-09-2009, 13:00   #1
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Careers in Boating - Ambitious Young Sailor with Lots of Questions

I have been boating for about 4 years now. I'm 23 and in school at USF for a mechanical engineering degree (one semester left). I started with a prindle catamaran and have worked up to racing on a j105 and cruising on my 24' bermuda rig sloop. Basically I really like being out on the water. I started reading about getting a captain's license a while ago mostly because I want to be a legit, responsible boater. Since then I have been keeping a personal log of all my days out on the water. My main question is this -
Can I merge my love for boats/engineering/sailing into a decent job? I'm getting married soon and want to eventually have kids so I can't really afford to make less than I would as an engineer. I would also prefer to have my family and I living somewhere in FL.

How feasible is this example of one of my Ideal/Theoretical Situations? and how would I get there?? - I'm the captain of a Carnival Cruise ship (homeport is tampa or miami). I make 6 figures. When I get back from a cruise I have time to spend with my family.

This doesn't need to be my exact situation, its just something I've thought about while out on the water sailing past a carnival cruise ship. I also don't want to give the impression that I believe in get rich quick schemes; I do understand that it would take a lot of work but I'm pretty ambitious,hard working, and intelligent. I've taken courses such as materials, mechanicals of solids, fluid dynamics, dynamics, statics, and programming concepts getting mostly A's (3.78 GPA).

Sorry I've written so much.. I've just been daydreaming about the possiblity of actually landing a job that I love.
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Old 02-09-2009, 17:37   #2
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Can I merge my love for boats/engineering/sailing into a decent job? I'm the captain of a Carnival Cruise ship (homeport is tampa or miami). I make 6 figures.

Yes. But I don't know the exact 'how'. What I do know is that if you set a goal A SPECIFIC goal then you can attain it.

If you want to captain a Carnival Cruise ship you know obviously that you need to start at the bottom ... but at the RIGHT bottom.

I think that would be in a junior position in Navigation. Engineering is OK if you want to raise to Chief Engineer but the cross-over may take years.

So find out what the 'right' bottom is by calling or going in to see Carnival Cruises and getting information. They are likely to be based in Ft Lauderdale.
Naturally they will have the application forms / procedures etc.

The only thing I can tell you about life is to set goals! And be bold enough to follow them! Follow goals, I mean, not dreams

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Old 02-09-2009, 18:14   #3
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Can I merge my love for boats/engineering/sailing into a decent job?
Become an engineer. It has two obvious advantages. Number 1 - you could end up owning the boat. Number 2 Nobody pays anything for deck hands. For the most part you get cheated by rich boat owners.

If setting goals then own the boat!
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Old 02-09-2009, 18:32   #4
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Cal Maritime, in Vallejo. Check them out and go for more schooling. starting at the bottom will take you a lifetime to gain enough sea time at different tonnage levels to ever captain a large ship. Go to school and cut to the front of the line.
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Old 02-09-2009, 19:37   #5
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I agree with Andy about Cal Maritime Academy. I know I am going to sound biased because I graduated from there as a Third Mate or whats called a "deckie". My brother graduated a year earlier than I as a Third Assistant Engineer or what is called a "snipe".

You do not need to start at the bottom if you get the right college degree and the right Coast Guard license. You do not get a college degree by "working your way up through the hawse pipe" as they say. Statistically, those with college degrees get paid more than those without.

Many of the classes you took are required classes at CMA. You will be able to transfer a lot of those units.

The job placement ratings, especially for marine engineers are excellent.

If you have any questions about CMA, then I would be happy to try to answer them.

The California Maritime Academy Home Page

Marine Engineering Technology (MET)

Marine engineers curriculum:
http://www.csum.edu/studentrecords/c...lum_sheets.asp

Besides, you can make some real money doing this. Its much better money than working on a pleasure boat.

Its a difficult thing to do, you are constantly being tested and put under stress in a lot of different ways, but then, is anything that is worthwhile ever easy?
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:05   #6
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get the right college degree
Goodness, I didn't know there was a college degree! I spose in these times....

Of course if there's a degree course thats the best way The formally educated get the big bucks (unless they are running the business!)
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:53   #7
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How about joining the Coast Guard?
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:26   #8
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Life's journey begins with a single step. The key is to follow up the first step with a lot more steps. And then having the smarts to know which direction to head.

I had no idea I would end up with the career I had. I just knew I loved aeroplanes. It's taken me all over the world and pays OK.

Like every career the cream rises to the top and not everyone is going to make it. Make sure that if you go "cruise" lining, or even ship driving, that you absolutely love the vocation at several levels or you may end up miserable.

Extended separation from family is in this future and it takes a special family to make it work. You don't jump into a 7 day on 14 day off schedule in year one. Or maybe even in year 15...
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:09   #9
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I find the coast guard option interesting.. I have a friend whose is also a mechanical engineering major and he just got done with OTC this summer. Would spending some time in the coast guard help that much?? Is it a "good" bottom/path to start at?? Do people look highly upon the experiences gained from the coast guard?? I guess it depends on what I do with my time in the coast guard.
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Old 03-09-2009, 15:38   #10
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Do people look highly upon the experiences gained from the coast guard?? I guess it depends on what I do with my time in the coast guard.
Military experience does count and is looked upon favorably. Of course what you do matters too. It tends to convey the idea that you are serious and reliable. Those qualities are desirable. It's not to say you couldn't be all that without having that experience but it's how people look at things.
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:23   #11
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I knew when asking this question that there is no exact answer. Thanks for all the advice thats been given and I would apprepiate any more than could be offered. I will continue to research and talk to people.. its just a thought right now.. I'm pretty busy with getting married, finishing school, and working (I have been interning at the local power plant so all my experience so far has been in the power industry, which I have enjoyed).
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