What Do Mariners Do When We Retire?

While I haven’t retired, when I came ashore, it was a huge adjustment for myself and my first wife. . . . one that I don’t think that we ever fully recovered from. . .

Lots of good US Navy marriages fail upon retirement. Two chiefs in one house? Nah…doesn’t work.
I know some retired mariners that started doing serious fishing and hunting trips far away from home. Worked out well. I know a few others that just gave up, got divorced and moved to other parts of the world. That also worked out well, at least for those that didn’t destroy their livers.

1 Like

Compromises must be made. Yesterday saw the movie Downten Abbey with my wife. As we were leaving she asked me how did I liked it. I told her probably about as much as you’re going to like Ford vs Ferrari next week.

11 Likes

There are a lot of retired seafarers of many different nationalities living in Thailand and the Philippines. (Not only retired BTW)
For many it works out fine, with a woman to take care of them in exchange for security and even a new family.
For others it ends badly due to alcohol or motorbike accidents etc. According to the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bangkok they send home one coffin a week on average. Not only Norwegian seamen but also tourists that meet with accidents, sickness and even drug overdose.

1 Like

To be honest, I ignored some pretty big issues when I was sailing. . . those became a bit harder to put aside on a day to day basis. . . . but it all ended up for the best. . . looking back, the divorce was inevitable. . . but I did get two great kids out of the deal, and my current marriage rocks. . …

2 Likes

There is that old story of the retired mariner walking inland with an oar and when someone asked him what it was he settled there. My days are pretty full with farming and we plan one one overseas trip per year, as you do when you live on an island.
We lived for the last 20 years debt free and my wife’s teachers salary was enough to live on and we invested mine.
I still be to town a couple of times a year to swing the lamp with some other old salts and do an occasional survey so I can buy a more upmarket bottle of wine.

3 Likes

So you asked!

  1. You are retired and can do anything you want. Volunteer, help,
    I like sailing model boats I’ve built. You can do what you want!
  2. Deliveries!!! Are you out of your mind? They are generally a piece of s#&% that needs rebuild before undocking.
  3. Travel. Try Royal Caribbean.
  4. This is the hard one as you needed to be investing 20 years ago and use a financial advisor from a big investment company. Understand you are dumber than a rock in this area. I tried and everything happened when I was underway, it was over when I got to shore.
  5. Sleep, forget it, the cat needs feeding at 0600, but I’m sure one special Meow says thank you Captain.
    Retired at 75, 2 years ago, yacht Captain (so beat me up) I delt with the man directly in front of me rather than someone thousands of miles away.
    The main thing is if you are going to work for xxx years, make that money grow to take care of you and yours in the future.
    I worked with wife fo 37 years and we are still together. However I don’t get to go to the grocer or Costco every time.
    Enjoy, you shoveled S#%= for this.
5 Likes

I’m to fond of the deli department to be left on my own. It’s cheaper for me to stay at home.

Retired in November 2017, at 61 years old, 40 years at sea. Here are my answers to your questions -

  1. Started a new business.
  2. New business doesn’t allow time for a temporary spot sailing.
  3. Don’t miss traveling. Spending the rest of my life ashore, with Americans, will be just fine.
  4. My wife and I are both happy with one another now that I’m home every night.
  5. No problem at all, because I saved money while I was working at sea.
  6. I can sleep late whenever my business or any other commitments don’t dictate that I’m up and at 'em at first light.

Keep in mind that all individuasl, whether working or retired, have different outlooks and expectations on each and every aspect of life; and what defines quality and happiness. That said: work hard, be honest with yourself and others, save a little money and when the time is right, walk down the gangplank and never look back.

5 Likes

It takes a lot of courage to walk down that plank. But there comes a time when we need a new adventure !

After thinking about it, I think you are right about it taking courage to retire. Most mariners who I know that retired did so because of medical reasons, injuries or they didn’t look for another job on water after be forced out or laid off. I only recall a handful of people who retired traditionally in good health & financially secure. I worked with several guys who sabotaged their retirements by going deeply into debt or had late-in-life babies while in their 50’s & 60’s. I guess some of us associate our profession with who we are so much willfully giving it up is out of the question?

I think it is a good idea to have a planned date to retire & a realistic financial plan to get there. If a person doesn’t have the courage (or sense) to retire when that date arrives at least they’ll have all their ducks in a row so they can retire any time they want afterwards.

1 Like

I work less than half the year. Why retire?

3 Likes

I knew a guy that worked 14 / 28 as, effectively, his retirement. Still made ~$90,000 a year and had health insurance.

2 Likes

1, I tried to keep busy but with my back I had to give up trying to work anything full time
2, Nope, once I retired that was it for me
3, I really do miss the traveling, I always say, I miss the work not the job when asked
4, My wife (second) put up with my sailing as that’s all she ever knew from when we first started dating. Now that I’ve been home for quite a while, she’s said that if I ever did start sailing again we would end up divorced as she doesn’t think she could deal with me being gone after having me home for so long
5, Well, it was a big change but I made sure that everything is paid off and to be honest, we live pretty much as before I hung it up
6, Sleeping in comes and goes. Lately I’ve been waking up just as early as I did when sailing

3 Likes

I used that as a model to plan for retirement. I noticed everyone of my group that retired at 62 or 65 was dead 2 years later. My wife and I focused on retiring at 55. We had zero debt right at 10 years before the goal. I started weighing my options. My goal was to retire young enough to enjoy it.
After the 3rd contract negotiation, I was not happy with the manning scale. I was admonished twice about my “hours worked” log was not up to date. I told the super that if the log was up to date, under OPA 90 rules, the unit would shut down and would be charged demurrage on the cargo. I was told to “learn to better manage my time”. I said, "I turned 55 last year with more than enough time to retire. I can better manage my time with a surf rod and a bottle of rum…That was plan A…Plan B was I was still young enough to go back if plan A failed.
That was 10 1/2 years ago and I have gone through several surf rods…

12 Likes

Sand_Pebble, just by looking at your questions I think you’ve got a handle on it, you just need to fit into how you and your partner work.
#1&2 are similar issues - I firmly believe that “phasing into” retirement is a great option to have now that we don’t have our bodies broken down by - for example working in a coal mine.
#3 - Travel and travel, it’s way different than traveling for work.
#4 - None of us can advise you on how you’re going to get along but just recognize that it’s an adjustment for the spouse when you come home after she’s been the Alpha dog while you were gone. Adults have different interests so by all means vacation separately but also vacation together (just violated my “none of us can advise you” rule above).
#5 - Refer to #1&2, phasing into retirement is a great thing.
#6 - I think this is a personal thing. I like to be up in the early morning but I like to sleep in even more, and afternoon naps are wonderful.
I actually don’t like to advise people on personal issues but your OP struck me as being so right on the right questions to ask, you’ve got it half-figured out already.

1 Like

So true about courage to retire, all workers should understand how much our work contributes to who we are so we are able to manage that. If so then we are more able to set the occupation aside when it’s time to concentrate on something else - like family or retirement.

1 Like

I retired at age 48. My wife was a professional in the medical field which we paid for her education at an early age, That helped a lot. We also saved 10 to 15% of our earnings and got lucky investing fairly wisely. When I was in my early 20’s I met an old bosun who was teaching us how to do Liverpool eye splices in wire. He told us young fellows to look at his hands. He said “Don’t be like me, and work all your life, and save just a dime of every dollar you make from here on out”. That was in the mid 70’s. That woke me up a bit and I pass that story on to any young person that will listen. My son’s roll their eyes when they know the story is coming. Beauty of it? They do the same thing.

3 Likes

I went away gracefully in July 2015 because of the oilfield downturn. Although I am now looking to begin work again for a few more years, I can offer a few observations.

I’ve had a pretty good 4 1/2 years traveling and taking it easy. I think that hobbies are key. As is a joy for learning. Find something you like and do it.

In my case, I resumed building and flying RC aircraft. I did it as a kid, and I’m really enjoying it now. Moreover, I learned how to play guitar and that has made me very happy. I hope to one day earn a little beer and food money with it.

Finally, much to my surprise, I found out that I like cats. I have 3 of the little devils, and can honestly say that they do much to warm my cold black heart :sunglasses:

5 Likes

I came back to the family ranch. at 200 acres it’s just enough to keep you busy all the time so i now work harder than when going to sea. When I first retired I fished, shot targets, ham radio … now, (weather permitting) I always have a project i’m spending the day on. Yes, I miss the travel and all it brought with it.

3 Likes