Who is a "Real Mariner" ? Who decides?

Seismic survey vessels require unlimited tickets from deck officers internationally. Fast Rescue Boat qualifications and the requisite seamanship skills to safely manoeuvre an 11 tonne workboat in open sea conditions and launching and recovery of the boat are part of the job.
Anchor handling is another area where experience particularly in less benign areas of the globe is the difference between a job made easy and a cluster ****.

Idk if I could make 120k a year and be home year round , and watch my boy grow up and be there for baseball games and holidays , instead of calling every day and asking how these events went , then damn right fuck this tugboat

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This is true, but I dunno, I like having more than 14 days vacation a year to spend with my family. Weekends you spend catching up on on housework so I don’t know that I can count them as equal to vacation.

The point I tried to make is that being a Mariner is a lot more than just a job that one happens to be doing to earn a paycheck; it’s a calling, an avocation, and a way of life. When a Mariner takes a shoreside job, he’s still a Mariner. It’s who he is, not what type of work he happens to be doing at the moment

Of course that’s just my viewpoint.


I’m still working on a boat but I get to go home every night and still work a 7/7 schedule. I took a hit in the pay dept to do so but I’m not gone for weeks on end any more.

Will I ever have to go back on a tug? Possibly. But in the mean time I’m enjoying what I’m doing.

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That sounds great. What industry?

I was chief on a yacht for a couple of years. It was an ex-coast guard vessel from the 1960s with a 100l two stroke main and a hugely complex engine room upgraded in unwise ways. Dealing with that on a shoestring budget in whatever African shit hole appealed to the owner’s tastes was… interesting. If anyone thinks it’s easy, I’ll be delighted to learn the magic you possess.

And if you don’t get paid to go to sea?

Are you less of a mariner because of it?



I am saddened by your arrogance.
Perhaps you should tell these guys they are not real mariners?


Not something I would do. But I respect them a darn sight more than someone who manages to get run down by a bloody great tanker or who runs his ship into a reef. .

I would tell them they’re yachties, not mariners. In my opinion one tennnat of being a Mariner is working commercially. Not that I don’t have a lot of respect for their nautical skills, but they’re still playing a game for the rich, not doing real marine work.


It was feckin’ self-deprecating humor. I’m a mariner who has been behind a desk for 20 years.


So you become a mariner if you get sponsorship and get paid as per the majority of people on the Route du Rhumm going on now? Does seem an odd distinction.

What saddens me is that I get a sense of total lack of respect from commercial seafarers towards recreational ones. As a self confessed WAFI I respect commercial mariners. But it seems you don’t reciprocate. May I enquire why?

Have you been on the forum when a WAFI goes on a rampage?

Read it and weep for humanity.


This discussion leads to some interesting grey areas. I don’t personally think that whether or not you get paid is such an important distinction. I get paid to repair and drive other people’s boats, but I don’t count myself as a mariner in my current employment. I mostly operate locally, seldom do passage planning and often go home at the end of the day. I also have some “proper” sea time, so I know what the difference feels like. The transient existence away from home is central to my understanding of the Mariner’s life.

When I was quite young, I met a man by the name of Peter Evans. He pioneered the inland cruise ship concept, built his fortune driving them around, held a D1, etc etc. When I met him he had gotten out of the business and was spending his retirement making lazy spirals around the globe in his sailing yacht. He offered me my first job at sea, and the time I spent with him changed who I am. I owe him most of what I know about passage making, good practice at sea and how to keep order. He ran a supremely tight ship, and when we got caught out by early winter weather east of Greenland and took the most vicious two week beating you can imagine, he handled it with such aplomb that I never feared for my safety. Was he then not a mariner because his seafaring activities only served to satisfy his own hunger for adventure? Or was he a mariner through credibility earned from taking other people’s money to show them around? Come to think of it, what is the real distinction between a cruise ship captain and a professional yacht captain? The only difference I can see is the number of people paying him to go to sea and whether or not there is a third party taking a cut of the proceedings.

I don’t think owner skippers cruising for their own benefit can really be seen as mariners, because it feels very different when you don’t answer to anyone, and it’s all a different way of life. However, that doesn’t diminish what they do. Take Joshua Slocum as an example; he showed more impressive seafaring skills than most people I can imagine, although his skill set wouldn’t be very relevant in a professional setting today.

To cloud things further, take a hypothetical person: He has all the time and money he needs, has gotten his D5 and owns a 50m expedition yacht that he takes to the far corners of the world. So far he is just another yachtie spending his money for fun. Now what if he writes about his journeys and makes money with his writing? Or what if he makes systematic observations, writes scientific articles and has them published? What if he employs a marine biologist? At some point his yacht has surely become a research ship. Did he become a mariner by writing and publishing a paper?

Just food for thought…

If you have an MMC and you work under that certification, you are by definition a mariner. Some may perceive themselves one way or another – from a corncob pipe smoking – spinach eating – salt in the veins type. Or, its just someone that does a job the best they can under a certain authority of certification.
A fireman is not a fireman just because they put out a fire. If it was up to them, there would be no fires, but they’re still a fireman nonetheless. Its what you do and sometime what you dont do on a daily basis, but in all cases you should have a certification as a mariner versus a self-described definition. Either way, it’s a well known fact that most mariners tend to claim themselves more of a mariner than the next.

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Ocean racing sailors are truely exceptional mariners whether they get paid or not. So are many cruising sailors. And of course many fishermen.

Of course there are plenty of wafi who are not mariners. And plenty of “fishermen” who are not fishermen.

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This again makes my earlier point: if you are a mariner, it’s who you are, not the job you happen to be doing. Once a mariner, always a mariner.

Because you get in our way, you cut across our bow, your wives are on channel 16 trying to talk to every boat in sight, you go down the center of the channel, you don’t answer your radio when we try to call you, and if you do you don’t have a clue what we are trying to ask of you, etc, etc


You don’t know many firefighters do you? :rofl: