I’m a new member here on gCaptain, and I’ve come here seeking advice and opinions from those with much more knowledge and experience than myself. I’m 33 years old and I find myself in the middle of a forced career change. In 2003 I graduated from a business college with a degree in Finance, and spent 12 years working in the banking, insurance and financial planning profession. Then the music stopped, and like many people, there wasn’t a chair for me. I have always loved boats and being on the water, and in 2008 I decided to get my OUPV and a small Master License (25 ton inland). That was exactly 1 year before I lost my job, and I’m glad I did it because it has lead me to some really fun work opportunities (yacht clubs, some private boats, and most recently an 80’ Burger Yacht). I have never been able to replace my finance job, but lucky for me I have been blessed with these other opportunities, and it has made me realize how much I would love to have a career on the water.
I have spent plenty of time over the past few years analyzing my skills, personality traits, strengths and weakness areas. I really like interacting with people, so driving the launch boat at a yacht club was a fun job for me. And it also gave me the chance to run some cool boats like a Hinckley Picnic Boat, a Grand Banks, and a few others. But lets face it, fun is nice but these jobs are seasonal at best and don’t pay the bills. I gave “Yachting” a try, and frankly I wouldn’t do it again. I spent 95% of my time cleaning, serving, cooking, bar tending, walking dogs (and picking up their crap), and being a cheuffer. And through all of that I only earned a couple days of sea time. No thanks, it wasn’t worth it.
I went to a networking event in South Florida a few months back, and I met a really nice Captain who gave me what I believe is a perfect piece of advice: “If you want to get lots of sea time and still sleep in your own bed at night, get a deckhand job on a passenger ferry.” That has been replaying in the back of my mind ever since. And given the fact that I really like interacting with people, it may be a good fit for me.
So I ask for your thoughts and opinions about the passenger ferry sector. What do I need to know about it before going in? Are there other sectors of the maritime profession that I am overlooking? I live in Connecticut, and I estimate that there are about a dozen ferry boats between NYC and Cape Cod. And the upcoming season may be just the right time to get a foot in the door.
Thanks in advance for your comments!