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Old 02-07-2014, 13:02   #1
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Charter Crew Advice Sought

Greetings! I am searching for advice with regards to obtaining employment as a crew member on a sail charter. Currently, I live in Atlantic Beach, NC on my 1969 Rawson 30 and tend bar for a living. My sailing experience consists of frequent local sailing, 2 delivery crew positions (one from Beaufort, NC to Boston, MA and one from Beaufort, NC to Ft Pierce, FL) and finally as volunteer crew from Morehead City, NC to Jost Van Dyke, BVI. I grew up sailing on my stepfather's Pearson 36 in both Mobile Bay, AL and on the Neuse River out of Blackbeard Sailing Club in New Bern, NC where I was also a member of the Junior Sailor's program at Blackbeard Sailing Club. I am experienced in many aspects of boat maintenance including electrical troubleshooting, diesel engine maintenance, troubleshooting and repair, and fiberglass repair. As a bartender in a seasonal beach town I have lots of experience dealing with all kinds of people, many of whom are tourists on vacation. I also have a BA in Spanish and am bilingual in English/Spanish. This October/November I plan on taking my boat to Florida in search of more sailing experience and opportunities. My goal for doing this is to gain more experience sailing and to accrue enough sea time to sit for the OUPV exam.

Over the next 4 months I plan to seek out opportunities as a paid crew member on sailing charter boats. If the result of my efforts are unsuccessful I will continue my search in person once I arrive in Florida. Since there are so many highly skilled sailors on this forum with a wide array of experiences I wanted to first ask for guidance.

So with regards to my plans, can anyone offer any specific advice or point me in the right direction? Is it necessary to obtain any certifications such as STCW 95 to obtain work such as this? Thank you in advance for any help you can give me!
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Old 02-07-2014, 13:20   #2
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Re: Charter Crew Advice Sought

I'd guess STCW would be useful for megayacht jobs. Instructor certification could open up another set of jobs teaching sailing. Bartending should be a useful fallback in lots of places, including those abroad that might tolerate US citizens having a shore job. I'm guessing also that OUPV would let you move up from deckhand/cook to skipper for six-pack boats along with water taxi and that sort of work. Are you focused on crewed charter boat work or willing to take whatever water jobs come your way?
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Old 02-07-2014, 14:11   #3
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Re: Charter Crew Advice Sought

You will need STCW-95 for 90% of jobs. Look up Professional Yachtmaster Training in Florida. You can do a zero to hero 2 week course and get a 200 ton masters license. Not everyone passes as the course is difficult. Most of the larger yachts require this for even deckhand positions. Also most larger yachts are foreign flagged and you cant skipper a charter yacht with a US ticket. Sailing yachts are fun but motor yachts offer a lot more opportunities and the pay is quite a bit more.

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Old 02-07-2014, 14:18   #4
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Charter Crew Advice Sought

Commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster plus the 5 day 4 course ( BST) stcw95 course(s) ( Basic Firefighting, Personal Survival, Personal Safety and Social Responsibility, and Elementary First Aid.)

Since a large proportion of superyachts are now crewed to MCA standards ( whether UL flagged or not. ) this make the above skill set particularly useful.

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Old 10-07-2014, 12:28   #5
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Re: Charter Crew Advice Sought

Thank you for the replies everyone. At the moment I am not as interested in working as crew on a large mega yacht even though I understand the pay can be quite a bit better. While I of course do have to make enough to live on, my living expenses are pretty low and I lead a very simple lifestyle. What I really want is more sailing experience under a variety of conditions and settings. That being said, I spoke with a friend who crewed on a day sail charter boat in Key West and he seems to think he can probably help me find a job there this fall/winter. While I prefer to move away from bartending full time I can easily fall back on it as rgscpat said. I think the main goal now is getting a foot in the door without the burden of time and cost involved in obtaining certifications. Once I am in the industry if I decide to make a career out of it then I can seek out certs, licenses, etc.

As a bartender in a seasonal beach town for the past 3+ years I have noticed that many of the people who move here to "work" want to be on vacation as much as the tourists do. Therefore those of us who are reliable, honest and sober with a good work ethic typically have no problem finding work. My friend that lived in Key West said that it is a similar situation there. However, he could not really comment on other areas since he only lived and worked in Key West. While it would be nice to go to Key West since I have some second hand connections I would also like to consider other places. Does anyone have any other suggestions where to look?
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Old 11-07-2014, 06:43   #6
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Re: Charter Crew Advice Sought

You can find a job here: Tall Ships America Billet Bank

I would take the certification classes, an additional bonus to enhancing your skill set is meeting people in the industry.

Also, get on a race team! It is fun, challenging and probably the best way to learn to sail well. Not only that, it gives you a great response to the inevitable, "can you cook?"
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