I know that I am not the only master who has wondered why the many pilots associations throughout the country make it very difficult for the average mariner to become one. Famous are the associations which one must be a son or a nephew of a senior pilot to get a apprenticeship but now more common are the associations who will take on new apprentices but put them through many years with no pay effectively eliminating any of those masters who are not either 1) young and have few living expenses, 2) have a retirement income already, 3) are already wealthy or 4) are willing to incur huge amounts of debt to become a pilot.
I am not any of the above, but I have been licensed for 25years and have 20years as a master with lots of vessel handling experience. At 50 I find now that I am too old for most associations to even want to talk to me because I can’t give them enough “good years” before I retire and those that do want to give me an apprenticeship are not willing to pay me anything for at least two years. I’d be bankrupt in 6 months if I were to accept their terms.
Why can’t pilots associations make it easier for an older, highly experienced mariner a better chance to become one of their number?