I was hired last year, and am currently on the voluntary lay-off until they call me back to the “on-call” pool sometime in March. Here’s my .02 on WSF gigs:
Home daily, State benefits, easy work (once you get used to spending time cleaning toilets), 95% of the people crewing boats are good eggs.
AB Special doesn’t mean shit to WSF (unless, of course, they’re in a pinch, THEN you can sail AB), so plan on sailing OS until you can get Limited/Unlimited endorsement. NOT really a maritime gig–more like working on a floating bus. Passengers can be a nightmare/PITA–if you don’t like people, this probably isn’t a good fit. Probationary pay is meh, and 1080 hours is about = to 2 summer seasons. Seniority based system fosters a culture of mediocrity, and keeps new hires out of all but the shittiest permanent routes for 2-4 years.
About 50% of all new hires are gone before probation ends…last year about 35% were done before end of Summer season. Sadly, WSF sees this as okay, and is cool with spending 10k per hire to train new people every year, rather than make the environment easier for people to make it year-round with lower seniority.
I’m still on the fence about the whole thing, but will hopefully have my AB Unlimited at the end of the year and can start parking cars instead of cleaning up after the filthy masses.