Who is a "Real Mariner" ? Who decides?

I don’t care what your license is, you are still a servant to the rich


More to the point, what does it matter and who cares?

Yachting is not about seamanship, it is theater and the master is the master of ceremonies.

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Aren’t we all?


This doesn’t make sense to me. It has more to do with the individual than the sector.

Otherwise it seem like what is being said is the ultimate mariner would be a person who takes a boat out, (no tugs!), makes monkey fists, takes celestial fixes, weaves mats out of rope and does donuts with the boat (no bow thruster!) but has no skills that would make the vessel useful.

There are a lot of skills needed to run a ship that are not specific to going to sea. I have to do payroll, work budgets and so forth A yacht captain has to deal with what ever he has to deal with. Same as any working mariner.

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think about your average yachttie:
Clean, polish, clean, polish, take that line in, stow that fender, clean, polish

Your average tug AB:
Clean, chip rust, paint, make up to a barge, knock the pin out of the tow shackle, splice these lines, call distances for the guy in the wheelhouse, cook dinner

As a big blue water ships master/CM you are constantly on the go, new ports, pilot ETAs, ships business, cargo ops, working with agents

Sure a yacht captain does that too, but the yacht has much longer times in port to deal with such things. A granted disadvantage for the yacht captain is an owner that he must deal with while the owner is on board.

You could take a tug AB and put them on a yacht and they would be able to do all but the “pretty work” with ease. A yacht deckhand would be overwealmed if you dropped them on a tug.


I think you need to watch Below Deck. I have never worked on a Yacht, but I do think it is a specialized field with its own challenges.

If you’re getting paid to go to sea and be away from home you’re a mariner. If you work in an office and tell ships what to do you’re a Ship Operator.


Specialized field with it’s own challenges, sure. However…
From what I have seen of that show, seamanship is an afterthought. Kissing ass to make a tip and having juvenile trysts with the female stewards is paramount. I know it’s a TV reality show and the drama is played up but I would think that would be the last avenue on my list to elaborate on my maritime education and skills.


The mariner that had to get a tug off his landing craft had to make the effects of wind and current go away.

Same thing with a yacht captain, have to give the guests a 5 star hotel experience at sea, as if they are not at sea. The difficulties of being at sea must not intrude.

I had a yacht captain as 2nd mate on time, showed me a photo of him on the stern with an ex-president. He was very sharp, one of the best 2nds I’ve sailed with.

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Was that the M/Y No Tell Floatel and was that ex president Slick Willy Clinton?

No, it was Bush senior, also several very attractive young women in swimwear. Bush had a huge grin on his face.

A friend who is now the senior pilot in a major commercial port was for a time master of a super yacht. With a budget in the millions of dollars and a crew of over 50 complete with a helicopter I don’t think that the insurers were particularly interested in a yacht masters unlimited tonnage ticket to drive it.

Shit, I can’t even get a grocery budget over $15.50/person/day on a boat with clients on board. Keeping clients content with that is a much greater art than an unlimited budget to buy Crystal and caviar. :laughing:


I see that I have been missing out on a hot topic.

There are many different types of people doing many different types of things on many different types of yachts all over the world. Many yachtsmen, and yacht crew, are exceptionally skilled mariners. And yes, plenty of them don’t know or do anything, and they are no mariners at all. Many more fall somewhere in the middle. One size does not fit all.

Hands on small vessel operating experience and the seamanship skills learned from it are a very good thing. A Mariner without that experience and those skills is at a huge disadvantage.

There is a big difference between being a real Mariner, and just being a guy who happens to be employed as a “Mariner” at the moment.

A real Mariner lives and breathes being a Mariner, not just as a vocation, but as an avocation, and a way of life. It’s not just an occupation or obtaining a license or CoC. It’s a calling. Many were born into being mariners and have lived it their entire lives. Not to say that many don’t also find being a Mariner as a calling later in life.

I don’t care what education, skills, or experience one has, if he is only working as a “Mariner” for the money, then he is no Mariner at all. It’s not his calling.


Amen!!! How often do we hear a crew member say “if it weren’t for the money, I wouldn’t be doing this!”


I love being a Mariner. Like it or not, it’s who I am and what I do. Money is important, but it’s not why I do it.


As a Norwegian Mariner I earn peanuts compared to a job at shore, but damn if I’m not loving it, we are a rare breed, western citizens stupid enough to work at sea.


After 25 years it seems I am still not a mariner by that definition.

I agree with this.

It has to do with the type of skills learned and, this may sound odd, but it also matters in what order skills are learned.

By way of analogy consider the difference between learning to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission compared to an automatic. Depending on the drivers perspective driving a manual might be seen as a high level skill or a basic level skill

There is a lot to driving a manual. For example shifting by ear, downshifting, slipping the clutch and so forth. None of this is needed with the auto, the automatic transmission adds a layer between the way the machine operates and the driver.

The point here is that a driver that learned with the manual can switch to the auto with ease but a driver that only knows the auto might feel like a skilled and knowledgeable driver but may not even be aware of the function of the transmission.

A large percentage of deep-sea mates (not all of them) are not even aware that they are “driving” the equivalent of an automatic.

This is why elements of seamanship that seem intuitive to many small vessel mariners are thought of as high level skills by mariners who’s experience is limited to large deep-sea vessels.

Heavy weather tactics, handling a vessel in a tight spot, navigation by eye alone are basics in some sectors but are often viewed as high level skills on deep-sea vessels


I think when people speak about real mariners they are talking about seamen’s that have an effective combination of knowledge, practical seamanship skills, and experience.
It will of course depend on rank what is necessary to reach this status. What is required for a Master is different from that of an AB.
I believe you will find real mariners on all kinds of vessels.

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