Crew Life » Career & Training » Yacht Crew: Are You Really Ready to Move Ashore?

Yacht Crew: Are You Really Ready to Move Ashore?

Rose Joilis 140

How many times have you felt at the end of your rope, or perhaps a little trapped by your golden handcuffs? 

How many times have you thought about moving ashore- or actually did, and then got there and didn't know what to do with yourself, or spent all of your money in the first six months because you were living the dream?

It’s not an easy transition onto land. For most us ‘yachties’ it’s the light at the end of the tunnel: to live in your own place, have your own big bed, maybe a pet. To create your own schedule and eat what you want and when you want it.

But then the little realities of paying for rent and groceries get in the way.  All of a sudden, some things you saw as normal are out of reach.  How much is that bottle of champers? That new watch?  Those new sunnies?

So, the question for all those contemplating the move to solid ground is this:  How do I begin to learn to dip my toe into the water and get the feel for it before I learn to swim through the waves?

What kinds of jobs are available to me on land?  How can I prepare myself financially to make the transition?  What can I expect when I get there?  How do I budget?  Is life going to be boring? 

It’s worth thinking about all these things realistically. After all, the financial perks, lifestyle and travel of a yachting career are an addiction and as difficult a habit to break as any other.

Unless you had a land-based job before yachting that you can transfer back into, it can be difficult to figure out both what skills you bring to the table and what it is that you like to do.  Often skills and passion don’t integrate, so it’s necessary to think hard about how you will use your skills and interests towards an easier transition and greater financial success.

I know that I’d been yacht crew for so many years [27] that I had lost all sense of who I was or what I valued, or what I could do!

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I feel that the best way to get your bearings before making the transition is to make a commitment to yourself.   Take six months to a year before you’re planning to make your move and begin to work with someone (a coach or an advisor) who can help you to see yourself and your dream more clearly.  We are always blind to ourselves and we always have difficulty seeing both our own strengths as well as our weaknesses.  It’s what I like to call our ‘habit nature’.  It’s not a good or bad way of being; it's just the way we are formed through our own history and community.  Having another set of eyes and ears helps us to get solid objective feedback and guidance, which a loved one or close peer cannot always provide because of already-formed habits and the status quo. 

I particularly love the idea of learning to build community outside of yachting before making the shift.  Yacht crew, similar to people serving in the military or other organized services are accustomed to having a built in-group of peers already on the go.  This is one of the main reasons that ex- military suffer so much from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and also one of the reasons why it’s so difficult for yacht crew to go ashore. 

On board, we rely on each other for our sense of belonging, safety, support, fun and well being.  But when we move ashore we no longer have that same sense of community. It’s hard for family and friends to relate to the life we’ve had- the money, the celebrity contact and the places we have seen.  You can complain all you want about the long hours, tight living conditions, weekend duty, eating leftovers (or whatever your particular rant is); yet your land friends and family can only see the glitz and glory of your life.

Therefore, getting to know like-minded people in your new area gives you a real step up and helps you to create new professional and social groups to replace the crew you left behind.

If you can find a coach or advisor who’s been in the business and has transitioned successfully, they will know what you are going through.  They understand the difficulties of finding your dream job on land and know how to help you to find it. 

The best part of going ashore is that if you can dream it, you can live it.  The opportunities are vast and there is something for everyone.  It’s having the mindset and getting to know yourself and what you are passionate about that helps you to get there.  Working with a coach will give you a huge boost in the right direction.

One ex-stewardess worked with a coach to find her dream job, and the coach helped her to pinpoint a few key passions.  She then created a somewhat quirky job posting playing to her strengths and within a week she had several people competing to hire her.  It was her dream job and she got it, through self-knowledge and good advice. 

So, do yourself a favor and be brave.  Dig deep, get clear, and be a success.  Going back to your old boat job two or three times will never feels as good as creating the success that you deserve.

*For more articles by Rose Jolis, see her Profile in our Directory here.

About the author: Rose Jolis of Transition by Design provides coaching and consulting for yacht crews in both personal and career development as well as leadership training through Integral© and Somatic Coaching models.  

Having a crew coach there to really listen to you about what you long for in your life is paramount to your success, whether it’s to continue through the ranks of yachting or to take the leap and step ashore.

For more information please call Rose on +1 954 372 0308, visit, or use the Contact the Author button below!  

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