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Old 31-10-2013, 08:27   #16
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

There are a lot of cruisers that sew and have machines aboard to do canvas work.

Few metal fabricators out there.

Maybe a need for refrigeration technicians.

Cruisers are very fugal and so there is not a lot of ways to make a living on anchor that is why the vast majority are retirees
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Old 31-10-2013, 08:35   #17
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

Be careful about working in other countries. In most cases you would need to go through lots of red tape.
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Old 31-10-2013, 10:20   #18
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

If your boat is rigged to have access to the internet almost ANYWHERE while sailing, you can rent "internet connections" to fellow sailors; 15 minutes block rental time for $15 USD. Internet coverage is not available everywhere and some sailors MUST have dependable connections. The initial hardware/software investment is pricey, though.

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Old 31-10-2013, 10:47   #19
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

weather.....ability to discern the changes in environment hours before and days before an event.
intuitive weather knowledge.
deep seated love of ocean in all conditions
immense respect for momma nature yet with minimal fear of products of natures changes
confidence with which to deal with the changes before they become drastic or dire need situations.
and more...
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Old 31-10-2013, 11:22   #20
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

Once you become a cruiser, you are a sailor, electrician, plumber and mechanic. For your boat.

If you want to pick up traveling $$, what are YOU best at doing?
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Old 31-10-2013, 11:46   #21
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

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Originally Posted by scgilligan View Post
..I was mainly asking about a marketable skill... I have worked in architecture and IT services for about 15 years..no one needs an architect/draftsman on a boat..possibly some computer support, but I cannot see that as being much of a necessity either..not enough to depend on for any kind of steady income/barter....
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Once you become a cruiser, you are a sailor, electrician, plumber and mechanic. For your boat.

If you want to pick up traveling $$, what are YOU best at doing?
I agree with Stu. I don't think one needs to get money from other cruisers or locals. If you have a desired IT skill one can consult remotely. All I need is my laptop and internet. Face-to-face meetings can be handled with skype and webex when I can't get to their location.
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Old 31-10-2013, 11:59   #22
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

The ability to be relaxed and friendly while cruising. I don't know how much money I have saved by being nice, but it has been a lot.
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:00   #23
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

I second refrigeration mechanic
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:13   #24
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

Not being a cruiser yet I can only speculate but basic mechanical ability in general would go far. You may not make any actual money but I would assume if you spent a few hours helping somebody work on their boat you may at least get a meal out of it. Provisions not used today means one more day till you need to shop again. That's as good as money sometimes.
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:42   #25
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

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Not being a cruiser yet I can only speculate but basic mechanical ability in general would go far. You may not make any actual money but I would assume if you spent a few hours helping somebody work on their boat you may at least get a meal out of it. Provisions not used today means one more day till you need to shop again. That's as good as money sometimes.
I've seen that as a conceptually good idea but some realities set in that tweak the pragmatic aspect a bit:

- The schedules of when you need money versus when people will need your services don't always line up.

- Unless you're a licensed business in whatever country you might run into problem, especially if there is a local providing the same service. At minimum it makes it so that you can't advertise as much and get your name out as loudly. It confines to the big cruiser haunts.

- Depending on where you are it's frequently easier to buy a plane ticket, crash in your hometown and work 60-80 hours a week killing yourself for a few weeks since you probably need to go back home for some reason anyway.

- You're at the mercy of whatever parts you can get in. Again, this confines you to "big cruiser haunts" where you can be sure there will be locals who will drop a dime on you if they find out your're running a business and not doing odd jobs.

I know guys who've done it, but in places with "sailing season" (like the tropics), there are barely any boats from May-November (northern hemisphere) so you need to make all your money December-April which is prime time for when you might actually want to sail your own boat.

So as far as useful goes to yourself and your friends, mechanical and other skills are huge. But reliably using it as a source of income year after year is another story.

The money you save by doing your own is astronomical however, as it always is. Even in dirt poor areas with $20/day labor rates that's $500/month in labor plus materials (which will be probably be more expensive than the states if you want equivalent quality).
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:47   #26
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

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What would you consider the most useful skill for a cruiser? Something that you need more than any other..something that you have to pay for if you cannot do it yourself? Diesel Mechanic? Electronics genius? Computer support?
After cruising for a bit what would you wish you could go back in time and learn before heading out?
Just curious as to what would be a marketable skill for a sailor to possibly make some money or barter while in port or at anchorage..
The others have answered your first sentence, I'd like to answer your question.
All three skill sets you mentioned seem to be in great demand.
Most cruisers seem to have one or two of those, often the last, but not all three. Being able to multitask is best.
I'd say diesel/ general mechanical and emphasise the ability to read and understand a users or workshop manual because many can't or won't.
If you know something of the other two all the better.
The most successful voyagers, as mentioned above, can 'logic' out a problem because they can read a manual, look at the pictures and will have a go.
I don't know what the others here think but I am amazed at the amount of modern cruisers that don't have a clue about using tools, beyond the simplest level and appear to be afraid of any mechanical work.
They are your future client base and their numbers appear to be growing, give good service, be reliable and the word will spread.
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Old 31-10-2013, 13:07   #27
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

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What would you consider the most useful skill for a cruiser? Something that you need more than any other..something that you have to pay for if you cannot do it yourself?

I would say by far the most common problems on the boat involve basic electrical skills of troubleshooting wiring circuits. I bet I have to use these type of skills at least monthly!
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Old 31-10-2013, 14:39   #28
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

Eric I agree with everything you said. You should be either fairly wealthy or be able to troubleshoot and fix every system on your boat. Labor is a killer getting anything worked on and I'm usually never happy with the results anyways. As far as making money while cruising I also believe the best way to make money while cruising is to make it BEFORE going cruising. I started my business for this exact reason. I'll (hopefully) make my money so when I eventually get out there of all the issues and worries there are working won't be one of them.
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Old 31-10-2013, 14:42   #29
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

AS far as marketable skills in no particular order:
1. electronic trouble shooting and repair. That's not just changing out parts but actually figuring what's wrong and being able to make repairs to the components.
2. Diesel Mechanic.
3. Refrigeration Technician.
4. Fiberglass and wood working skills.
5. Canvas work and sail repair.
6. Beautician.

We couldn't get our HF radio working. Ran into the engineer who'd done design work on our radio in an anchorage in the Marquesas. He figured out our antenna tuner needed more oomph so he cut wires and soldered in parts and we ended up with one of the strongest signals in SoPac.

Met a cruising couple who were just finishing one of the more leisurely circumnavigations, 10 years. He was a diesel mechanic and she was a beautician. Never a shortage of demand for their services.

Shipwright who'd built his own boat. Worked on other peoples boats as well as finish on houses wherever he was anchored. He turned down work as they were cruising, not looking for work in exotic places.

A yachty who'd designed and built his own refrigeration system but had never worked in the field. Was constantly working on other peoples boats fixing Fridges.

Farm boy who could fix anything mechanical. Kept all the locals 2 cycle motors and outboards in service wherever he went. Didn't make a lot of money but never had to worry about food or gifts of the local handy crafts like wood carvings.

The ladies like to have their hair cut stylishly and look their best. Someone who can help them out will do well.
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Old 31-10-2013, 15:17   #30
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Re: Most useful skill for cruiser?

Being able to tell the difference between the important and the unimportant.

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