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
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
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
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
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.