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Where to take my career

Discussion in 'Yacht Crews' started by LauderdaleZak, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. LauderdaleZak

    LauderdaleZak New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
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    Ft. Lauderdale
    So for some backround i'm 20 y/o and i've lived in Ft. Lauderdale my whole life. As soon as I graduated High school I started the Marine Mechanics program at my local tech school, picked up a job at a marina running boats and the Marine forklift 3 days a week, and got certified to work on all the major outboard brands. When I graduated Tech school I went to work at Tow Boat US as a tech for about a year and kept my weekend marina job. While working at Towboat I picked up my TWIC card, Passport and Port ID. About a year and a half ago I left both Towboat and the marina and picked up a job as a yacht service tech doing warranty work for Princess, Fairline, Azimut, and Sunseeker as well as doing monthly systems checks and scheduled maintenance on a plethora of other boats. I went out a couple months ago and got ABYC electrical certified as well as NMEA. With the company i'm working for now i've done everything from cleaning sea strainers to changing out chillers and redoing complete raw water/cooled water loops. From installing underwater lights to retrofitting retractable cavnas sunroofs where there was once a hardtop. From changing 50amp systems to 100 amp systems to reattaching anchor pockets that fell out.
    So for the past 3 years i've been learning boats from the technical standpoint. However, the whole reason I picked the Marine industry in the first place is because my passion being out on the water. I want to start doing that. So i'm looking for what to move into next.
    I'm looking to be pointed in the direction of a career path where I can travel around, Get to see other parts of the world, check out other ocean, and make okay money
    So the ideas I've been bouncing around so far are as follows,
    - Get my 50 Ton license (largest i'm currently applicable for), STCW and maybe take an engineering course or two then try to find an open spot on a boat

    -Go to work for a service company like say Fassmer where they'll send me around to do product spefic service work

    - Maybe a program like Merchant Marine? Get help paying for a college degree then work on a ship. Theres a ton of drawbacks that make me weary of this choice so its lower on possibilities list

    What I'm asking is if you could start over in this Industry all over again, How would you do it?
  2. Fletcher500

    Fletcher500 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2017
    Messages:
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    Location:
    San Diego
    It sounds like you are developing some solid skills, and have a plan.

    I left the marine world in the 80's so I will let others give current advice.

    As far as a Maritime academy, a great choice but a big 4 year commitment and you will work and study hard especially if you chose engineering.

    With that said, the background will allow you to eventually transition shoreside if you decide its time to leave.

    A lot of variables for you to consider, but whatever you do I wish you the best.
  3. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
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    321
    Location:
    Lighthouse Point, FL
    Go get your AEC (5 days), STCW (5 days) and hit the crew agencies and check daywork123 and the various yachty facebook groups. If you are clean cut (that means, hair cut, clean shaven and no visible tattoos), and have all the skills you described you will be snapped up by a yacht looking for an engineer or a 2nd engineer pretty quick. Make sure you have a passport and ready to travel in a moments notice. If you have IT skills that is indeed an added bonus.

    If you are going to engineering don't bother with the 50 ton.

    The Academy route is great (I'm a Grad) but is not for everyone, and as mentioned it is big 4 year commitment. In 4 years in yachting you most likely could get the same license, but have better hands on experience.
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Sep 2, 2013
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    3,686
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    The one thing you need to be clear about is do you want to be an Engineer or a Captain. Certainly you've shown a proclivity toward engineering and it's probably where there is the greater shortage of people. However, you talk about seeing other parts of the world and checking out other oceans and the ability to experience that aspect is more limited for an engineer.

    One other path worth considering and that is going the commercial route for a while. It is a way of building skills and experience quickly that many engineers choose. Harvey Gulf and Chouest are two large employers as are all the major shipping companies.

    I think for a 20 year old you've built quite a resume and should have great potential in the industry.

    To the question of Maritime School. I'd suggest looking at some of the programs and what they have to offer. Compare it to what you've already learned and can learn on the job. There are some additional areas of knowledge and there can be other areas of concentration. I wouldn't dismiss that route until studying it and talking to one or two schools. Many choose to participate in a Navy or Coast Guard program and are commissioned as reserve officers. Most schools have good internships and even their own boat for you to work on. Also, students often do a period with the USCG. Also, the average graduate is earning in excess of $70k upon graduation. Much depends on your career goals. You can advance more quickly without school in terms of basic engineering tasks. However, if you're looking at a long term career in the industry and things like new builds and Chief Engineer of megayachts, then the lack of the formal education may limit you at some point. You need to look at your career objectives and determine how Maritime school fits in.
  5. Fletcher500

    Fletcher500 Member

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    Location:
    San Diego
    Olders comments about seeing the world as an engineer are valid. Well, at least on large ships while sailing unlimited HP. You go to sea, spend a day or two at port, and it's off to the next port. Add in day work, and you spend a majority of your time under a steel deck. I have no idea what it's like on a big yacht, but I would assume there is more time to explore at port.

    The key positive aspect from an Academy is you not only get an Unlimited licensed, but a BS degree as well. As I stated earlier, that can make transitioning shoreside later in life much easier especially for an engineer if a young person gets married, kids, etc and can't be gone 6 months a year.

    Choices....
  6. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    My Office
    The advice to go down the commercial route is a very good one but there is no guarantee that you will be able to step from a commercial ship to a yacht at the same rank as there are some very stark differences between the two even with the bigger ones.

    I am not trying to discourage you it's just that I try to get ex commercial engineers when I can but from experience know that the difference is such that there needs to be a period of transition for newcomers to the business.
  7. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Very good point, K1W1. If wanting to go the yacht route, then I'd probably recommend a couple of years commercial as beneficial, but you're still going to be the "new guy" when switching to the yacht world.

    Our most recent hire came to us with a route that prepared her very well. She got her B.S., Engineering-Marine Engineering Technology from Cal Maritime. It includes two 60 day periods on their training ship and one 60 day period on either a military or commercial vesxel. Her's was on a Coast Guard vessel. Interestingly, Cal Maritime is about 14% female now, with MET only about 8% female, but still the female population is growing, but most going toward deck, not engine.

    Then she got her M.S., Engineering-Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of New Orleans. At UNO she got much more exposure to commercial ship builders.

    From there she spent 21 months as an engineer on deepwater support vessels in the Gulf. She joined the company with the understanding she'd spend 18 months with them. They wanted her to stay, but the owner is the one who told us about her. I believe the call went something like "She's as good as I've ever seen at her level and about as crazy as the two of you are." She grew up in San Diego and her father was Navy so she got a lot of exposure to ships growing up.
  8. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    Live in Maine, work in the Gulf of Mexico
  9. Fletcher500

    Fletcher500 Member

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    Well, the OP never replied, but apparently we are. Is that Star program similar to the Calhoons Engineering school...not sure if it's even around anymore. Calhoons was a 3 year program, unlimited HP license, but no degree.
  10. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Live in Maine, work in the Gulf of Mexico
    I am not familiar with the Calhoon program. The STAR program looks to be a 2 year program, no degree, with a service commitment on AMO manned vessels afterwards.

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