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Old 16-08-2012, 11:38   #1
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Is There Work for Professional Boatbuilders While Cruising ?

We are hoping to cruise extensively in a few years, and we have to make a living. Not a big one, mind you, but enough to pay the bills. My husband is a professional wooden boat builder and a timber framer; he is highly skilled, like many here, I'm sure. I have some knowledge of cooking for nutritional healIng, and treating both acute and chronic conditions with food. Is it feasible to make, or supplement, a living at sea with these skills? I'm not averse to staying in one location for a while; I think that's part of the plan.
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Old 16-08-2012, 11:42   #2
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Re: Is there work for professional boatbuilders while cruising?

Only if you cruise in the States will you be allowed to work. Most countries do not allow foreigners to work and take employment away from their citizens. Same thing in the US except it does not seem to be enforced. Most other countries enforce it vigorously.
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Old 16-08-2012, 11:44   #3
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Re: Is there work for professional boatbuilders while cruising?

I think someone with boatbuilding skills can usually find work, but you won't find many wooden boats out cruising these days. The work might be on wooden parts of fiberglass boats. However, there are certain places where the woodies go like West End in Tortola, or New Zealand, where you might be able to pick up work. In my experience, contrary to Vasco, there are lots of people working under the table in boatyards or just quietly aboard private boats all over the Caribbean at least. Not saying it is legal--just saying it is done.
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Old 16-08-2012, 11:49   #4
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One doesn't necessarily need to work for cash, either; barter for dockage and produce and the like can be okay.
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Old 16-08-2012, 11:52   #5
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Re: Is there work for professional boatbuilders while cruising?

There is a shortage of skilled people in the cruised world just as there is at home. There are always jobs for skilled workers but under the table. The trick is finding the jobs and staying under the radar of the local authorities. Work probably won't be steady, small jobs or short term projects so wouldn't count on it paying all the bills. Being a member of the Commonwealth might give you some benefit in SoPac. Pay usually isn't what you'd get at home but it's usually a lot better than what the local unskilled labor are able to command. Judging by the size of the budgets required for the boats that a lot of people are cruising in, might be able to make a living just in the cruising community.


When we were cruising, picked up a little work rehabbing a nightclub and helped out the locals in exchange for fresh food. In the Societies, there was a Swede overseeing the construction of a large house; an American electronics/computer guy who had too much work; a boat carpenter who stayed quite busy; an Aussie diesel mechanic who was making the slowest circumnavigation ever, going on 11 years, because he was dragooned to work everywhere he stopped; a self taught refrigeration expert, he'd designed and built his own system, who seemed to have as much work as he wanted and others.
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Old 16-08-2012, 11:55   #6
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I was also thinking that there are US-based boat and timber frame jobs that come up routinely in non-US locations where the comp is not sufficient to temporarily relocate if you have a house and a family, but if you carry your home on your back...
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Old 16-08-2012, 11:58   #7
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There is a shortage of skilled people in the cruised world just as there is at home. There are always jobs for skilled workers but under the table. The trick is finding the jobs and staying under the radar of the local authorities. Work probably won't be steady, small jobs or short term projects so wouldn't count on it paying all the bills. Being a member of the Commonwealth might give you some benefit in SoPac. Pay usually isn't what you'd get at home but it's usually a lot better than what the local unskilled labor are able to command. Judging by the size of the budgets required for the boats that a lot of people are cruising in, might be able to make a living just in the cruising community.


Yes under the table work can sometimes be found but legally not much. It is difficult to stay under the radar and a jealous coworker is all you need and you will be thrown out, if you're lucky. In replying to a poster I would not advocate working illegally.
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Old 16-08-2012, 12:02   #8
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Re: Is there work for professional boatbuilders while cruising?

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I was also thinking that there are US-based boat and timber frame jobs that come up routinely in non-US locations where the comp is not sufficient to temporarily relocate if you have a house and a family, but if you carry your home on your back...

Have you seen the wood boat builders in the Bahamas and in the Caribbean in Bequia? No plans, all in their heads.
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Old 16-08-2012, 12:29   #9
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Yes, I think that is a different culture of designing and building than what dh is used to, but he has a natural sense of how to solve problems with joinery and wood so perhaps he can put together a bulkhead or two.
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Old 16-08-2012, 13:04   #10
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Re: Is There Work for Professional Boatbuilders while Cruising ?

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One doesn't necessarily need to work for cash, either; barter for dockage and produce and the like can be okay.
True, but no matter how you receive your payment, it is still usually illegal without the appropriate work visas.

Not that it doesn't get done, just that before you do it you should probably consider (at least be aware of) the consequences of getting caught.
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Old 16-08-2012, 13:16   #11
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It's a fair point. I guess it all depends on flexibility and opportunity; maybe if we need cash we chase legal work, and if we can afford to take our chances we ride the tide.
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Old 16-08-2012, 18:00   #12
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Re: Is There Work for Professional Boatbuilders while Cruising ?

Our observation is that one can often work for other cruisers in a low profile mode and not get crosswise with the locals. Once one moves their work ashore it is virtually impossible to avoid attention. But, if you have a skill that is locally absent and there is a demand for, one may find that a short-term permit (whether legal technically or not) can be arranged with local authorities.
The above applies to third world areas, not civilization!

Obviously, a little "local knowledge" is very important while making such decisions.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 22-08-2012, 06:14   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thompsonisland
We are hoping to cruise extensively in a few years, and we have to make a living. Not a big one, mind you, but enough to pay the bills. My husband is a professional wooden boat builder and a timber framer; he is highly skilled, like many here, I'm sure. I have some knowledge of cooking for nutritional healIng, and treating both acute and chronic conditions with food. Is it feasible to make, or supplement, a living at sea with these skills? I'm not averse to staying in one location for a while; I think that's part of the plan.
Hi , I have retrained as a marine electrician and yes under the table you will have no problem.. On the other hand legal work is harder. Keep quiet do a good jobber and theres no problem. Remember the field we are in requires boats so look for places where they are. I've just spent 7 months working 6 days a week in hong kong . Hope this helps.
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Old 22-08-2012, 06:17   #14
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I think someone with boatbuilding skills can usually find work, but you won't find many wooden boats out cruising these days. The work might be on wooden parts of fiberglass boats. However, there are certain places where the woodies go like West End in Tortola, or New Zealand, where you might be able to pick up work. In my experience, contrary to Vasco, there are lots of people working under the table in boatyards or just quietly aboard private boats all over the Caribbean at least. Not saying it is legal--just saying it is done.
Mr Kettelwell you are quite right. Long time since Columbia hope you and the family are well.
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Old 22-08-2012, 07:10   #15
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Re: Is There Work for Professional Boatbuilders while Cruising ?

If he's a professional wooden boat man he should be able to find a fair bit of under table work at places where cruisers congregate. Yes I know most cruisers do it themselves, and other cruisers usually are willing to pitch in for free - but sometimes it is a big job and in a vital place, i.e. not replacing a shelf. Here he can find work. On the other hand - if he is really good with wood - why not think about having him make things you can sell along the way? Handcrafted items can usually be sold to stores in harbors and such for cash without having to involve local authorities.
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