Hi, I am new to the boards and have a few questions about a new career. I am on the final legs of a circumnavigation on my sailboat that has taken quite a bit more time than expected. The trip began with four partners but for the last 5 years I have been on my own. Time has slipped away because of needing to stop and work for extended periods when the bank account gets too low.
The thought of settling down on land scares the hell out of me and I want to pursue a career on the water. I have extensive experience on sailboats, am mechanically inclined and regimented about my work. Here’s my question: At 34 years old (which I will be when returning), realistically, is too late to attend one of the Academies, get my 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] Mates license and make a career on the water? From what I can tell now, that would be a more realistic route than coming up through the hawsepipe.
I have a bachelor’s degree already, so I would be looking to go into a program like SUNY’s M.Sc. with license option. It would be an intense few years but I could be out and looking for work at age 37. Does anyone break into the industry at that age? Paying my dues and putting in my time is expected but what would the timeframe be for moving up to someone in my position? I would be eligible to take the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] mate’s after a 360 sea days but that’s not realistic and I don’t have any illusions about shooting up the ladder. I want to work deep sea or offshore with the possibility of moving onshore in 10-15 years.
I have my TWIC and STCW95 but no other tickets. It won’t help much with what I want to but, upon returning, I will take the exam and get my 100 ton Master because I will have more than enough qualifying sea time.
Has anyone on the boards made a career change or begun this line of work later in life and have any advice to offer? I welcome any thoughts on my situation from anyone and thanks for any input.