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Old 16-08-2011, 07:14   #1
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A Working Vacation in the Bahamas

Ahoy all...

I'm finding myself with the next 6 months with nothing to do, so I'll probably go sailing. I'm considering shutting the house down, parking the cars and loading up the boat. (40' CC Endeavour)

I'm thinking about lurking about the Bahamas for a while, or nearby ports. My budget is modest, so I'll anchor out a lot and be somewhat conservative, although not into starvation mode.

Now then, onto the question- Would a USCG Captains license, and any needed endorsements, be worth getting before embarking on this trip? I was curious, from you experienced sailors of the region, if there are any little small part time jobs in the islands? Just enough to add to the rum fund now and then.

Something like running ferry boats (launch's) to cruise ships, driving a dive boat, anything like that. Is this worth the up front expense of getting the certifications, or do I just go and drink myself silly in pretty water?

This is a request for information from those in the knows~
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Old 16-08-2011, 07:20   #2
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Re: A working vacation in the Bahamas

You'll find that you are not allowed to work in most countries other than your home country. I would not bother getting any certifications.
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Old 16-08-2011, 07:27   #3
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Re: A working vacation in the Bahamas

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You'll find that you are not allowed to work in most countries other than your home country. I would not bother getting any certifications.
Interesting answer... I don't understand it though as I've already worked in Angola, Uganda, Kosovo, Macedonia and Iraq... Places far worse than the Bahamas.

I was in Nassau and met a US lady hawking jewelery for a tourist trap and her husband was doing marine electrical work.

Now I'm confused? How were they able to get the jobs?
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Old 16-08-2011, 07:32   #4
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Re: A working vacation in the Bahamas

I don't know about the work permits angle (other than common knowledge that they are required, which may not be correct or a significant hurdle), but I do believe that that kind of work would be found (at least the cruise ship related work) in just a few places, Nassau, Freeport, Half Moon Cay (Little San Salvador), and maybe another "cruise ship private island" I'm not familar with. Those are not the places you'll want to spend the bulk of your six months in the Bahamas. You'll want to be in the Abacos (although later in the season, not earlier, because the fronts blow harder there longer), especially if you're looking for an "east Florida" experience with lots of bars, civilization, etc. You'll want to be in the Exumas, a lot, for the incredible beauty of this chain of islands and anchorages. You'll want to be in George Town, if only to figure out that this cruising hub isn't for you (and longer if you like the scene). You'll want to head down to the Jumentos/Ragged Islands if you want to get away with some solitude. You'll want to get to Long Island, Conception Island, maybe Rum Island, maybe the Acklins, Cat Island, Eleuthera and/or Andros. Those are the places I'd want to be, swinging on the hook, sipping rum drinks, fishing the reefs, visiting the funky little settlements and getting to know a few locals, buying fresh fish and conch from local fishermen, wandering beaches to look for sea beans and windward side detritus, etc. Nassau's worth a stop (especially if you have kids, then Atlantis is a must), and Little San Sal is beautiful (when the cruise ship leaves at 5 pm and before the next one arrives at 8 am), but those are not where you want to spend your six months.

See you out there.
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Old 16-08-2011, 07:33   #5
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Re: A working vacation in the Bahamas

I didn't see anything in the Bahamas. I have seen some in the BVIs but they want a one year committment to submit a work permit request, to make the permit fee worthwhile for them. In addition to license, they want STCW basic certificate, which is additional $$.

Working under the table generally takes a lot of local knowledge and a large word of mouth network which you won't have.

A large percentage of restaurants in the Abacos closed up Aug - Oct last year when I was there, so planning on eating aboard is wise. Stock up with beer before you leave and rum after you get there! Enjoy your vacation!
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Old 16-08-2011, 07:39   #6
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Re: A working vacation in the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by lannen View Post

I was in Nassau and met a US lady hawking jewelery for a tourist trap and her husband was doing marine electrical work.

Now I'm confused? How were they able to get the jobs?
Perhaps you should have asked them. Check here if you don't want to run afoul of the law.
Bahamas Immigration

Here's an excerpt ..
"Basically any job that does not require a higher education is out of limits to foreigners (such as a bartender, bar-maid, housekeeper, etc.). Jobs which most Bahamians think they are too good for are easy to get (such as farm worker or gardener which is usually happily taken by Haitian immigrants). Each person granted a work permit (fees for work permits go from $250 for a farm worker to $7,500 for professionals and executives) is required to place a bond to repatriate the employee and his dependents and to pay any public charges, including medical expenses, incurred by the employee."
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Old 16-08-2011, 13:14   #7
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Re: A Working Vacation in the Bahamas

to work legally in the bahamas, you'll need a work permit. if you can get one, it'll be VERY expensive (thousands..not hundreds). a friend got one to do hairdressing at some fancy resort and the resort had to pay $8k--A YEAR! now this was in georgetown where they take the illegal working seriously. in smaller settlements, they look the other way if they really need workers.

BUT, if you do work w/o a permit, you do so at your own peril, since if you get caught you're gone!!
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Old 16-08-2011, 14:07   #8
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Re: A Working Vacation in the Bahamas

Good question, if you work on someones boat as a captain or stew based outside the Bahamas but sailing in the Bahamas I believe you will be OK. If the boat is Bahamas based good luck....
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Old 16-08-2011, 21:07   #9
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Re: A Working Vacation in the Bahamas

What about taking on some novice crew, teaching them about life aboard, sailing, etc....and charging $$.....might not have to be alot, but enough to make it worth your while and supplement your rum kitty.....Bahamas is easy enough to fly into from US/CAN for those who want to take you up on it.......
Good luck....
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Old 16-08-2011, 21:23   #10
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Re: A Working Vacation in the Bahamas

In all cases you are treading on very dangerous waters trying to "work" in a country that you are not a citizen. If you are running a "crewed charter" out of the USA to the Bahamas and back to the USA you can get away with it. But if you are picking up and/or discharging your paying "guests" in the Bahamas, you are again flirting with significant danger. Folks do it, but they keep the whole thing very quiet.
- - And if you are taking paying "guests/crew/whatever" out of the USA you will need all the licenses, inspections and insurance that every other such operation in the USA has to have.
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Old 16-08-2011, 21:53   #11
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Re: A Working Vacation in the Bahamas

I'm a Bahamian citizen by birth, my kids too. I left when I was young and although we have visited some and have some connections and family still there, I'm clueless about this and curious to hear about boat jobs you all are aware of. It seems like the work is thin in the out islands, am I wrong? As far as credentials, is the USCG captains license even relevant or is the Yachtmaster deal the standard? What about the charter companies?
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Old 16-08-2011, 22:00   #12
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Re: A Working Vacation in the Bahamas

I meant "on the down low".....but I hear what you're saying.....
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Old 16-08-2011, 22:43   #13
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Re: A Working Vacation in the Bahamas

three years ago we were at nassau yacht haven for a week. the guy next to us was a semi retired american carpenter living aboard. he was working every day building houses on paradise island and being paid daily in cash. told me he never applied for any work permit - his boss took care of everything....
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Old 17-08-2011, 07:28   #14
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Re: A Working Vacation in the Bahamas

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. . . - his boss took care of everything....
One advantage of small countries is the ability to "take care of everything" with a well placed gratuity to the proper official. If that is not possible then usually the "boss" takes care of filing the papers/fees for the work permit.
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Old 17-08-2011, 08:17   #15
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Re: A Working Vacation in the Bahamas

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It seems like the work is thin in the out islands, am I wrong?
No you're not wrong. There is very little work available in the out islands. If there is a resort nearby that's the only work available. If a resort is being built there's work. In the past few years much of the resort building has stopped and the developments have not been finished. There is housekeeping work on the private islands. It seems that the government has a policy of encouraging large developments and often these crash in lean times. Tourism seems to be the only industry. The folks in the out islands are quite resourceful but it does not appear to be an easy life. Cruisers help the local economies, mostly small restaurants and small grocery stores.
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