Knowing when to quit

The lifestyle and money is certainly addictive, but it can’t last forever. For what ever reason you decide to leave the industry, you need a plan

About her earlier years in yachting, Nielsen comments, “When I was younger, I would leave the industry because I was burnt out and needed a rest. Then I would go back because I couldn’t adjust to, what I felt was, a ‘mundane’ life ashore. I’d get itchy feet and wanted adventure and the only way I knew how to get that, as well as a good salary, was in yachting.”

Looking back, serial-returning because I missed the excitement of the yachtie life-style, strikes a chord. During later years, however, my reasons behind repeatedly deciding to do ‘one last season of grumble-stewing’ involved a heady mix of not knowing I really wanted, reluctance to start over, and plain, cold fear of failing at succeeding ashore.

Talking to Nielsen, it seems my motives for staying are not at all uncommon. She affirms to often work with yachties who “are burnt out with life on board yachts but confused about what to do”. Lay thinks the trouble with yachting is that a lot of people remember good times and happy experiences, while forgetting the negatives and pressures that drove them to leave in the first place. She likens it to getting back together with an ex you left; “You ended it for a reason. So what’s changed, why would you want to go back and will it be different? More importantly, “Are you ready to go back to that life?” Can you, after you’ve spent years reveling in having weekends off, ample space and a home which never heels, return to confined quarters, being woken up at 3am by your crew mates coming in hammered, rough seas and having no room to store more than a couple of things?”

Nielsen concludes, “If there is one piece of advice I would give to everyone in the industry or entering into it today, it would be to think about the future before you make investments that could trap you. When you buy a home: make it easily affordable. If you have children, think about the financial implications of the choices you make where schools etc. are concerned. Because if you don’t, you may one day find that you can’t afford to leave a job that you hate.”

Coincidentally, I recently happened to meet a tipsy chief stew at a party. She spoke about her time on yachts in both the past and present tense. So have you left yachting or not, I asked? She raised one eyebrow, took another wobbly slurp and said, “Not just yet, but I’m getting there.” Now that sounded eerily familiar.

If you’re hovering close to getting off boats but find it difficult to take the actual plunge, know that there are ways to help you on your way to a job that will bring more happiness, rewards and satisfaction to your life. As most yacht jobs are not as easily transferrable to land, going shore-based is, admittedly, not easy. But you know what? Nor was getting into superyachting in the first place, all those years ago. Scoring that initial permanent job came down to hard-work, persistence and determination. Add a little planning and self-analysis to the mix and you have all the ingredients to be able to thrive on land, in whatever it is you’d like to do.

Me? I now freelance as a writer and English teacher. Slow months might earn me as much as a week on boats would but, on the flipside, I never find myself breaking out in a cold sweat as I overhear the captain say it’s going to be rough or have to hear the chef’s ritual morning belch. It still sucks to have to buy my own toothpaste and I do miss the travels, not to mention the laughs and unsurpassable camaraderie (hey, I never said it was all bad), but being paid to do something I really love is something I wouldn’t want to trade for anything else. Unless you’re buying me a swanky rosé-lunch that is, then I might have to think about it.

Expert tips and suggestions on how to prepare for life after yachting

Debbie Blazy, Director Crew Placement

The transition out of yachting can be a brutal one – although it doesn’t have to be. How do you decide when is the right time? Having a well-defined goal for what you will do when you leave will of course help you to understand how much cash you need to have behind you. Let’s face it there aren’t many industries that will give you as much disposable income, so make sure you have a nice lump sum saved up to kick start ‘life after yachting’.

Charlie Hague, Marketing Manager

Making the transition into private households is the most obvious next step for yachties looking to leave the industry. The clients and the way things are run are the same, but you have the freedom of being on dry land and being able to step off the premises. Look at agencies who have both yacht and private household departments. Be clear about why you are leaving the yachting industry. Private household salaries are lucrative, note the same as what you are accustomed expectations – but have a plan way before you leave.

Lisa Ricourt, Crew Specialist

When looking at your current position and the studies or courses you have undertaken to achieve where you are today on board, what kind of shore based position or employment could you envisage would benefit the most from your personal and educational investment? Think about finances – Have you managed to budget your income earned throughout your yachting career? Invested in property or put funds aside to secure your financial security and shore based accommodation? Taxation/Residency Status – Have you have declared your taxes in your Country of residence, or opened up a credit ratings for home loans/mortgages?

Sam Thompson, Co-founder & Director

Make sure you are ready. There is a massive gulf between life ashore and life onboard. Having made the transition it really shocked me to the difference between the two in particular pay, holiday and paying tax! Prepare for this eventuality whilst still in yachting. For me I had very little to fall back on so wished I had started re-training for a new career before I left yachting. Look at what interests you and focus on what training you may need to attain a position in that field.