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Photo of a globe, telescope, map, and compass representing crewing on yachts.

 

Crewing

 

 

Introduction

Cruise Ships

One way of traveling the world is to crew on a cruise ship or yacht.  I met a man in his late sixties in a ballroom dance class who was learning to dance as a means of making him desirable to cruise lines.  The story that he told me was that some cruise lines will give males who dance free or nearly free trips aboard their ships in return for their dancing with paying customers--older women.  I was not able to confirm this story and I don't know if he was successful, but this is typical of the kinds of stories circulating about cruise line employment.  There are also scams where what is supposedly a cruise line contacts would be crew by email offering them work.  The catch is that the crew has to pay $400 or more to sign up.  The jobs never materialize.

Yachts

Crewing on yachts has advantages and disadvantages.  If you don't know how to sail, visit a nearby marina and volunteer to crew.  Find out when people are racing their boats and just show up and volunteer.  Post messages on their bulletin boards.  Contact the Coast Guard and take their classes.  You can even buy a small boat for under a thousand dollars and teach yourself how to sail.  Once you have the skills, you can then respond to advertisements for experienced crew and post your own crew available notice.

Beware of the Captain Bligh syndrome.  People who are friendly, mild mannered, cordial, and respectful on land can instantly turn into slave masters the moment they step aboard their boats.  People who have invested in sailing vessels and travel the world are different from people who stay at home.  Learn how these people are different from reading narratives of sailing adventures in book form.  The more books you read on contemporary sailing adventures, the more likely you will learn if you are compatible with the bigger than life characters who sail their boats across oceans.  Be cautious about signing up to crew on boats where you have to pay.  If you pay your way, expect more from the experience than just crewing. 

Knowing how to cook, handle sails, handle lines, and navigation will make you desirable to yacht captains.  If you are congenial and work well with others, these traits are also desirable.  Most important, you have to be willing to shoulder your share of work.  Crewing on sailing yachts is a 24 hour a day job.  Shifts at the helm (steering) are usually four hours long and rotate around the clock.  On small boats with few crew, sleep deprivation will be an issue for some.  Space aboard most sailing yachts is cramped at best.  On racing yachts, conditions can be Spartan. 

Books

       

Bulletin Boards

  • Crewbay.  "Find crew, find boats, find Crewbay...Crewbay is the professional online crewing service designed to connect amateur and professional crew with sailing and power boats from all over the world. To view the Crew Message Board, you must firstly register your boat as needing crew."
  • Crew File.  "International service for yacht crew to maritime jobs and boats to find crew - crew wanted, crew available, maritime jobs or cruise jobs. All users are welcome including yacht delivery crew, cruise jobs, mega yacht crew, amateur racing or cruising crew and commercial yacht crew agencies."

Cruise Lines

Sailing


 
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