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Old 05-04-2015, 10:06   #1
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Making Money while Cruising

Hello all and thanks for this forum!
I'm thinking of cruising the Caribbean with hubby this year and maybe down to Panama..Can anyone elaborate on what ways my husband can make some extra money while were sailing?
I have already surfed the web for any and all ideas but if you have anymore suggestions it would so appreciated..
Much appreciation!

Avoir un grand voyage sur la mer
Have a great trip on the sea !!!!!!!
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:29   #2
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

Hi Dovejoanne and welcome to the forum.

Funny you should ask. This is a frequent question and there has been a long term, ongoing discussion on this exact subject, with almost the same title. Going on for over 5 years and almost 1200 posts.

Make Money While Cruising - List

Check this link but only if you have a couple of hours to spend. Also a couple more that are related like Cruising on $500 per Month.
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:36   #3
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

I believe that thread is basically useless, it has grown too much ... So many posts that mean nothing. Or people commenting on stock trading strategies. Not a 'list' at all, and the ideas are buried in it deep by now.

Typically, when somebody asks for a 'list' on this forum, the thread doesn't end up as a 'list' because people always want to add non-list items to the discussion. For example, there is a recent thread on listing Catamaran videos. Out of 20 some posts, only 4 posts actually "list" videos. The others are useless comments.

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Old 05-04-2015, 10:46   #4
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

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Originally Posted by FollowingCs View Post
I believe that thread is basically useless, it has grown too much ... So many posts that mean nothing. Or people commenting on stock trading strategies. Not a 'list' at all, and the ideas are buried in it deep by now.

Typically, when somebody asks for a 'list' on this forum, the thread doesn't end up as a 'list' because people always want to add non-list items to the discussion. For example, there is a recent thread on listing Catamaran videos. Out of 20 some posts, only 4 posts actually "list" videos. The others are useless comments.

~ Following Cs ~
Like almost any long thread, after the first 5-10 pages the posts start drifting seriously from the original question and like all internet discussions you will find a lot of nonsense, rants and bad information.

But basically useless? I think that is a gross overstatement. Weed through the junk and there is a lot of very useful information.

One thing for example that dovejoanne probably hasn't considered is the issue of work permits for visitors in the Caribbean. Just like it is illegal to work in the US without a work permit aka green card, most countries in the world have the same laws. In third world countries this issue is even more critical because a cruiser may be literally taking income away from a local who's annual income might be less than the cruiser spends per month. In these situations the locals will not hesitate to report a cruiser working under the table.

This was discussed in detail in the thread I mentioned.

So maybe useless to you but to someone with less knowledge and experience that thread is an excellent resource. Just read through it with a critical eye and don't take everything as fact. Ignore the long arguments about currency trading, derivatives etc if that isn't applicable to your situation.
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Old 05-04-2015, 15:29   #5
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

Expertise in electronics, refrigeration, diesel mechanics, sail repair and canvas work, and anything else that you can think of that a well healed or just a cruiser could need done on a boat will get you some spending money but won't get you rich. Computer repair and software trouble shooting can get you work ashore as well.

As Skipmac said, anything that competes with the locals can get you in trouble and will if you start making significant money. That could end up with some nasty consequences worse than just getting thrown out of the country. Still, we all know that NO non US citizen works in the US without a Green Card.

Why aren't you looking for work?? Forcing your poor husband to work while you live a life of leasure hardly seems fair (grin).
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Old 06-04-2015, 09:02   #6
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

The best strategy seems to be having land-based investments like real estate rental income which will take care of you while you're out cruising. Hopefully, real estate that's mostly paid off or without a mortgage, so that you're not counting on someone else or others to pay the mortgage. An annuity type retirement account is also something you can count on.

Otherwise, I wouldn't count on making any money in foreign ports. It's a sure way to upset the locals and get yourself into trouble unless you have a work VISA for a highly sought after field such as the medical business. A personal friend got himself kidnapped and had to pay over $75,000 in ransom in order to get himself released from a Mexican jail, his only crime was making too much money running a fishing charter business. The local Mexicans viewed it as taking money from tourists that should have been going to them.


I know of people who've worked as a traveling nurse or MD successfully in other countries. But trying to work in the trades in foreign ports, under the radar will just get you into trouble.
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Old 06-04-2015, 09:48   #7
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

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But basically useless? I think that is a gross overstatement. Weed through the junk and there is a lot of very useful information.
It is full of great info. It's just disorganized and hard to find. Wading through all of it is mind-numbing. Useless may be too strong of a word, venting my frustration with that thread.

On technical forums, we have a way to 'vote' for the best answers, and those rise to the top. I also wish there was a way to down-vote posts, so we could just skip over the non-sense comments from people who just seem to like to get their post count as high as possible.

Sometimes there is just information overload, and that thread is a great example. If you have the time, sure, browse through it. Work permits. Internet connection options. Day trading concepts. Why day trading concepts won't work. Why there is no way somebody is getting THAT return on an investment. It's ALL there.

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Old 06-04-2015, 11:04   #8
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

Hello Dovejoanne

On a Valiant 40, we've lived aboard in Panama for the past 8 years. In that time I've helped out at marina, did minor canvas work, fixed dinghies, etc. all the while generating grocery money. Now, I work as a project manager for a software development company all via the internet.

No worries in Panama about hurricanes. And truth be known, Panama is an incredible place to cruise. On the Caribbean side you have Bocas del Toro, with it's archipelago and San Blas, home of the Kuna. Panama's currency is $USD and it's people are wonderful.

But by all means, start cruising. When my wife and I lived in SoCal, I brought up the subject of cruising and she said, "I can barely stand you now in a 3 bedroom house, what makes you think I can live with you in a shoebox?"

Now in our 14th year, we can both attest that our cruising years have been the best in our lives and we're more together than ever. And we just had our 35th anniversary.

So give Panama some thought and shove off.
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Old 06-04-2015, 13:14   #9
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

Out of my hopeful (?!?) bag:

- services to other cruisers, in the marina
- seconding to local fishermen or naval concerns
- mantaining a link to the US for ready made imports of special parts, if in troubled, under-serviced areas..
- daily sailing escapes for land-locked tourists, working with local hosts... and possibly involving local people
- yes, sw and electronics and English teaching, nursing... are ubiquitous services...
- NOT STAYING TOO LONG !? :-)
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Old 06-04-2015, 13:32   #10
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

Having a certificate that allows you to teach English as a second language can be useful and then getting a low paid job via (say) via the British Consul - and keeps you legal. As others have said, the most low profile is to work for other cruisers fixing their issues - however, this usually pays very low rates. You can also look after other peoples boats when they go off to earn money or to travel inland, or to deliver boats if you have formal qualifications - usualy required by the owners insurance company.
We live off our investments - previously we cruised until our money ran out and then flew back to our home country and worked until we had a good kitty again and then resumed cruising. One expense we have that many do not is education for our children.
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Old 06-04-2015, 14:43   #11
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

I have 750.00 a month SSI, so that is enough to live well in most third world country's. However I am a very good mechanic so I've made extra income repairing other cruisers boats. I've made some very good friends that way also. In Guatemala I did some free seminars on How to check out your diesel before you hire a mechanic and therefore Knowing whether the mechanic knows what he is talking about. I got free steak dinners and beer for doing those. I am retired and will not do anything just for money. If it is not enjoyable, it is a bummer. mac
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Old 06-04-2015, 15:05   #12
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

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I have 750.00 a month SSI, so that is enough to live well in most third world country's. However I am a very good mechanic so I've made extra income repairing other cruisers boats. I've made some very good friends that way also. In Guatemala I did some free seminars on How to check out your diesel before you hire a mechanic and therefore Knowing whether the mechanic knows what he is talking about. I got free steak dinners and beer for doing those. I am retired and will not do anything just for money. If it is not enjoyable, it is a bummer. mac
Come try the Indian Ocean and you'll live well on that.
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Old 06-04-2015, 16:12   #13
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

Hi everyone,

this is a good thread.It's been a while sense I've been cruising in other countries, other than the Bahamas. I plan to change that this year;-)
I have a small pension and can just make it by out of country. But when I used to cruise central America I would find some young person teach them a trade Whilst hiring ourselves out on different jobs. mostly small outboards, paint and varnish and glass and gelcoat work. I was confronted once in the Bahamas but once they saw that the woman I was teaching how to do canvass work was getting half the money, they backed off and sent some more work my way. I've sense lost touch with her, but the last time I ran into her was in Nassau, she was doing mostly seamstress work and supporting herself. That was worth more than any money.
Peace Luv & Happiness
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Old 06-04-2015, 17:52   #14
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

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Why aren't you looking for work?? Forcing your poor husband to work while you live a life of leasure hardly seems fair (grin).
Right on roverhi! Imagine that, a wife looking for work for her husband when she is just as capable! Sounds like my wife!
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Old 07-04-2015, 13:22   #15
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Re: Making Money while Cruising

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Originally Posted by dovejoanne View Post
Hello all and thanks for this forum!
I'm thinking of cruising the Caribbean with hubby this year and maybe down to Panama..Can anyone elaborate on what ways my husband can make some extra money while were sailing?
I have already surfed the web for any and all ideas but if you have anymore suggestions it would so appreciated..
Much appreciation!

Avoir un grand voyage sur la mer
Have a great trip on the sea !!!!!!!
The easiest, of course, is to have investments or rental income.

If you need to work, then you can:
  1. Try to fly under the radar working for other cruisers. This is technically illegal and can land you in hot water, but people often do it without getting caught.
  2. Stay in one place for a while and get a work visa. People often stay in Australia for an extra year, for example, and top of their kitty.
  3. Work remotely via internet for a company in your home country.
  4. Have your own online business which you can maintain from anywhere. It will need to be largely on autopilot (or have employees) to handle times when you are on passage with limited bandwidth. This one is what I'm working on setting up.
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