Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-06-2017, 22:33   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Key West
Boat: 1983 Dufour 12000 CT
Posts: 42
Work as mechanic while cruising

My wife and I make some money passively but are about $1,000 per month shy of our target budget.

I am a boat mechanic, electrical focus. While cruising I plan to find work in anchorages along the way - just one offs by maybe hanging a sign on our boat that says 'Boat Mechanic $XX per hour.'

We haven't left yet and are unsure of how much work I may discover. I'm thinking I could easily earn an additional $500 per month. Any other opinions out there? I know this has many variables but if you were planning this, with popular Carribean anchorages in mind what would you think? Also, I'm thinking $50 an hour or thereabouts.

Thanks!
__________________

theglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 22:40   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Alaska
Boat: Truant Triad 37 Cutter-Alaska, Leopard 40 Cat, Bahamas
Posts: 360
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

I'd be careful about that kind of advertising unless you are set up legally as a business wherever you are.
__________________

seahag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 22:42   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Key West
Boat: 1983 Dufour 12000 CT
Posts: 42
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

Good point. Thx
theglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 22:47   #4
Registered User
 
s/v Moondancer's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Miami
Boat: Boatless
Posts: 1,442
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

First you must be discrete when you work in foreign countries as without a work permit you will be acting illegally.

Second we help each other and I have never been charged by another cruiser even for extensive help.

If I tow you when your boat is broken down and going ashore will you pay me SeaTow rates? Or should I just claim salvage?

I am a doctor and on three occasions I have spent several hours organizing medical evacuations back to the USA, should I charge you for 8 hours of my time at US Doctor rates?actually I would not dream of charging a fellow cruiser!
__________________
Phil

"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
s/v Moondancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 22:49   #5
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Oregon to Alaska
Boat: Wheeler Shipyard 83' ex USCG
Posts: 2,440
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

Good luck! Every few months there's someone asking a similar question.

Most cruisers do their own stuff. We have to have our electrical mostly done to get to our destination. To do any mechanics on diesels you need extensive experience on many different brands of engine. Going to school on diesel theory doesn't get it.
Also, most of us have had experience with people that say they know how to do something, but really screw everything up.
I'd shoot for 50 hours a month at $10 and you might stay busy and off the 3rd world police radar.
Lepke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 22:53   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Key West
Boat: 1983 Dufour 12000 CT
Posts: 42
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
First you must be discrete when you work in foreign countries as without a work permit you will be acting illegally.

Second we help each other and I have never been charged by another cruiser even for extensive help.

If I tow you when your boat is broken down will you pay me SeaTow rates?

I am a doctor and on three occasions I have spent several hours organizing medical evacuations back to the USA, should I charge you for 8 hours of my time at US Doctor rates?actually I would not dream of charging a fellow cruiser!
My first thoughts were the same actually... but I'm pulling out all the stops trying to find a way to fill this gap. Might need to keep searching...
theglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 22:55   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Key West
Boat: 1983 Dufour 12000 CT
Posts: 42
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
Good luck! Every few months there's someone asking a similar question.

Most cruisers do their own stuff. We have to have our electrical mostly done to get to our destination. To do any mechanics on diesels you need extensive experience on many different brands of engine. Going to school on diesel theory doesn't get it.
Also, most of us have had experience with people that say they know how to do something, but really screw everything up.
I'd shoot for 50 hours a month at $10 and you might stay busy and off the 3rd world police radar.

Roger that. The boats I work on here are definitely not your typical cruiser. More of a multi-million dollar dockominium or million dollar fishing pole. Ah! Money.
theglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 23:06   #8
cruiser

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Pangaea
Posts: 10,856
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

In the anchorages, the vast majority of cruisers are do-it-yourselfers who are eager to lend a hand to others at no cost, and would be offended if offered some compensation for their trouble. Your idea is not compatible with this mindset and seafaring tradition.

In Montenegro last season, our generator quit on us, and two local mechanics I met at the dock on their day off had a look at it for a few hours, neither would accept any compensation, so we had a couple of beers, conversation for an hour or more... they refused any money because I was a fellow boater with a problem. In the end, one fellow ended up spending an entire day on the issue along with hunting down parts on his motorcycle and he finally aggreed to accept a JBL boom box as a gift. Next month I'll anchor off his B&B for a few days and find out how his son enjoyed the boom box.

So no... I doubt your idea will get much traction in the anchorages. It's more like we trade goodwill and Karma in the anchorage.
Kenomac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 23:07   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Key West
Boat: 1983 Dufour 12000 CT
Posts: 42
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
In the anchorages, the vast majority of cruisers are do-it-yourselfers who are eager to lend a hand to others at no cost, and would be offended if offered some compensation for their trouble. Your idea is not compatible with this mindset and seafaring tradition.

Here in Croatia last season, our generator quit on us, and two local mechanics I met at the dock on their day off had a look at it for a few hours, neither would accept any compensation, so we had a couple of beers, conversation for an hour or more... they refused any money because I was a fellow boater with a problem. In the end, one fellow ended up spending an entire day on the issue along with hunting down parts on his motorcycle and he finally aggreed to accept a JBL boom box as a gift.

So no... I doubt your idea will get much traction in the anchorages.
Thanks for your insight. Ill keep saving or adjust that budget
...
theglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 23:36   #10
Moderator
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 14,841
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

Some years ago in the Pacific Islands we encountered a cruiser who was a pro diesel mechanic... nice fellow named Jeff. He was quite upfront with his fellows: "I'm glad to come to your boat, do diagnosis and give advice... as a fellow cruiser. But if I pick up a wrench and start to work on your engine, my rates are xx dollars per hour. My work will be done to US standards and will be guaranteed." He did a couple of engine rebuilds in our area (Fiji at the time) and his attitude and work were well accepted. As I recall, he charged something like 1/3 the going US rates and added parts at his cost, but this was a long time ago and I'm not certain of the rate.

I don't know if such a scheme would work for you, or in the area in which you will be cruising.

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II now northbound, lying in Moreton Bay pending medico appointments.
Jim Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2017, 00:01   #11
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Bellingham
Boat: Outbound 44
Posts: 7,292
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

If you have hard skills and experience with a resume to back them up, then you can probably make a decent supplementary income - just not in the way you are thinking. There are a number of spots around the world where cruisers hang for extended periods. Lots of boats and lots of boat issues that need repair. Places like Panama, St Martin, Grenada, La Paz, New Zealand. If you are willing to stay in these places for an extended period you can build a local reputation. You might get work through a local shop or on your own. Some of the places make it reasonable and worth the effort to get a temp work visa - Mexico, Panama, New Zealand all come to mind. So it won't be a reliable monthly income, just a seasonal income when you decide to stop moving and hang at an appropriate place.
__________________
Paul
Paul L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2017, 00:03   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Key West
Boat: 1983 Dufour 12000 CT
Posts: 42
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

Thanks for the answers. All have the same theme and all answer my question. Time to adjust the budget.
theglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2017, 02:20   #13
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Helsinki (Summer); Cruising the Baltic Sea this year!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 24,835
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
In the anchorages, the vast majority of cruisers are do-it-yourselfers who are eager to lend a hand to others at no cost, and would be offended if offered some compensation for their trouble. Your idea is not compatible with this mindset and seafaring tradition.. .
I don't agree with this, but only because working for reasonable hourly cash compensation and helping out other cruisers for free, are not mutually exclusive. Ken is right that a great deal of work is done for free by cruisers for each other -- I have done a lot myself and enjoy doing it; and others have helped me. We also lend tools and equipment unstintingly.

But there are many jobs on my boat, for example, which I would not feel comfortable asking someone to do for free, especially routine jobs, and I would be happy to find someone skilled and well equipped who could work for a reasonable hourly rate.

That same person can be helping others for free, when they are having an emergency or otherwise just need help. In fact I think you could in many cases even just let people choose whether to pay or not, and many will themselves want to pay.

I think it's a good idea myself, and I might be your first customer. Keep in mind, however, that it is going to be ILLEGAL, so you have to be very discreet about it, and you have to be ok with the risks. So no hanging up any signs. But in much of the world, including all of Southern Europe and even the UK by the way, MOST home improvements and small technical jobs are done off the books for cash, so this is not anything strange.

Your hourly rate should reflect the gray market nature of what you're doing, so everyone is sharing in the benefit. Keep in mind that in the third world, you may be able to hire actually quite good mechanics, working legally, for very small hourly rates compared to what we pay at home. You should also be sensitive to not competing too much with local guys -- that's bad karma, bad manners, and might get someone angry reporting you to the authorities.
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2017, 09:15   #14
Registered User
 
Cadence's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SC
Boat: None,build the one shown of glass, had many from 6' to 48'.
Posts: 7,730
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

I believe you would have a hard time verifying your capabilities. Mechanic or shade tree mechanic?
Cadence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2017, 09:28   #15
Registered User
 
Sailor647's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Cruising Mexico
Boat: Norseman 400
Posts: 273
Re: Work as mechanic while cruising

I like Jim's reply. We think if you're upfront and honest about charging, you could stay very busy. But, you will have to be discreet if you work in a foreign country.

We are currently cruising in the Sea of Cortez, and frequently come back to La Paz. Based on comments from the "fellow cruisers" we've met, there is a huge need.

I'll try to be nice, but tact isn't one of my strong suits...

We have met so many cruisers in Mexico that are COMPLETELY CLUELESS about their engines and other boat systems. Not a clue. ALL the engines we've seen, except one (and ours), is so dirty you can't even tell what it is. Basic maintenance is deferred to the point of engine or system failure. (But the varnish on the outside looks beautiful.)

Finding a mechanic in La Paz, San Carlos/Guaymas, or Mazatlan has been real challenging for folks. And finding one that will make repairs to the manufacturer standards (ie done correctly) - in a decent time frame - is nearly impossible. Or so we've heard.

We routinely run across cruisers that want "free" advice and help, which we have really grown tired of. We want to spend our time cruising (sailing, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, eating, and drinking), not fixing other peoples' boats. About about a year after cruising, we became really dumb and inexperienced - on purpose.

But, Good onya mate, for being willing to spend your cruising time working! Best of luck!
__________________

Sailor647 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cruising, mechanic

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Charity Work while Cruising? krafthaus Our Community 7 07-02-2015 06:28
Canvas Work While Cruising wswhiting Boat Ownership & Making a Living 7 03-09-2014 06:50
Is There Work for Professional Boatbuilders While Cruising ? thompsonisland Boat Ownership & Making a Living 22 23-08-2012 05:27
Taxes and the cruising mechanic? Zach Boat Ownership & Making a Living 4 03-03-2007 19:19
Maintenance work while cruising CapnRon Boat Ownership & Making a Living 0 29-09-2006 10:57



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 13:12.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.