Addicted to this

I’d like to hear from those who’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to quit seafaring. What drove you ashore, and what dragged you back out? I’m sure that I’m not the only one to whom the work has become an end in itself, but the sacrifices inherent in the lifestyle have spurred attempts to bury one’s anchor under various trees.

On good days, when the forces acting on the vessel are balanced perfectly, all the lines are well-thrown, butt-puckering situations are deftly side-stepped, and the sun on the water makes you wonder what shores it also laps at, on days when it all comes together, it’s easy to be a mariner. That leaves about 90% of the time when the opposite is true: blundering lunkheads, the office, the family thousands of miles away, the indifference of the sea, the tedium…

So, aside from the money, what keeps you at sea?

Really just actually getting paid to do caveman generalist engineering at basically a garage shop and sledgehammer level. I watch those YouTube videos of small shops in Pakistan and get ideas.

The days I want to quit are days I have bad fuel full stop.

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I’d like to go shoreside in the future when the opportunity presents itself…assuming it wouldn’t be a huge financial hit.

What do you consider a huge financial hit? What is your current license and experience? What are you interested in doing ashore? Money ashore can come back quicker if you are motivated and willing to start lower, learn and excel. But you have to get over your pride a bit, your cap for salary at sea is much lower than ashore. I know.

I wouldn’t mind being a port engineer one day. I see it as a natural progression on my career path…however some port engineers make less than the engineers still sailing.

I’m the sole provider for a young family. Got a kid only a couple years away from college, so i’m commited at the moment to a certain financial lifestyle.

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So Port Engineer, if you work hard, you could move into Superintendent, possibly depending on the company into Overseeing Newbuilds and Construction, or you can go Head of Technical route to a VP. I agree with what PDCMATE says, you have options once shoreside, you have growth potential as well as other avenues to branch out once ashore. Your first job ashore, is to get your stigma off of only being an operations onboard type person.


Most power companies will hire you to run a power plant if you have a 3rd Assistant or better. The money I see in the prospectus along with the benefits is pretty darn good.


So, no “unsuccessful” stories yet?

Don’t let the thread turn into a “what you could do, what would be nice to do” field of dreams. Let’s read about the fails and learn why they happened.

People are less inclined to share failures. But also what measures not succeeding? Is it not getting a position, is it not feeling satisfied, or is it just missing the allure of the sea?
I miss the comradarier all the time, so in that aspect, that would be my loss of success.

Off the top of my head I can think of a couple of examples of mates going ashore and getting a law degree. Both very successful.

From the many sad tales of failures (meaning having to go back to sea and not liking it) I’ve heard many if not most involve such things as mariners trying sales related fields such as real estate or financial type services.

A few have muddled through but to me it seems getting some further academic credentials or at least training of some kind is a big benefit.


I came ashore and immediately went and got my MBA. With and Unlimited Masters and MBA, this has opened up quite a few doors.

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I can think of one. But probably not “successful.”


I came ashore and worked as a Class Surveyor for about 10 years, and then moved to Insurance. My last sailing job was pretty crappy, so I actually made more at ABS (although not much at first) when I started. I am lucky, though. My kids put themselves through college.


I returned to sea in 2013 after working a service engineer job that required waaay too much last minute travel. I liked the job and had made a lot of contacts there, but wanted more home time and oddly enough, sailing provided it! Where else can you work half the year, and make what a full time worker makes? I am prior Navy. After I got out, I got my college degree while working at shipyards. Went to class with my dirty work clothes on, many nights. Anyway at this point in my life my body is just worn out and it’s time to stop working on steel altogether. Fortunately I have a medical certification that is always in demand, and I just renewed it.
My family is just going to have to understand that the bank is closing. Like Cmakin, my kids are doing ok, one completed college, and both are working and doing well.
I will have a federal annuity which will be great to have. also can start Social Security if I choose to but that will wait.


I came ashore for about 10 years before I went back for another 3 then came ashore for good about 8 years ago.

The same thing drove me to sea and brought me back … my wife.

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