Everybody’s been there, right? You’ve had a hard day at the office, and during the long, grinding commute home, you dream about selling everything and buying a sailboat. You would live out the rest of your life on the high seas, depending on the bounty of the ocean to feed you. Every so often, you’d call on a port in the tropical South Pacific, coming ashore and drink rum cocktails on flawless white sand beaches, without a single care in the world.
Sounds impossible? It isn’t. While boat ownership and developing the skills to sail a boat may be a ways off in the future, you can still land a job helping to crew one on their innumerable voyages. These watercraft don’t run themselves, and skippers around the world are always on the lookout for dependable, hard-working sailors to assist them with general upkeep and basic nautical skills that can be easily taught.
Having said that, here is a road map to securing your place on a ship heading out into the celestial blue yonder of oceans around the world.
First, you must find people looking for help on their boats. For this, you have two options. In the age of the internet, you can turn to sites like Find A Crew to find boat/yacht owners seeking deckhands to help out with anything from boat maintenance tasks to entertaining guests. Secondly, you can do things the old fashioned way: by going down to a marina, and pressing the flesh with boat owners in real life. Not everyone you meet may need help, but they may have friends looking for something you have to offer. At the bare minimum, they will keep you in mind and contact you if something a position opens up (and given the turnover of boat crews, chances are it will be sooner rather than later).
Chances are you’ll be working solely for your room and board. This can help you stretch your travel budget to the max, all while having a life-altering experience that you will treasure for the rest of your days. However, if you want to get paid for your troubles, it helps to focus on getting a job aboard a yacht. These positions pay a fairly decent sum, though you may have to tolerate some difficult, demanding, and snobby clients. Be sure to ask around about good yachts to work on, and don’t hesitate to leave a boat if you’re miserable; life is too short to suffer insufferable bosses.
In spite of the difficulties of working on the high seas, seeking out and working in these positions will help you develop self-reliance, confidence in your abilities, and grant you memories that few other experiences can deliver. Now cast off that bowline and set sail: a thousand adventures await you on the high seas!