Crew Life » Career & Training » When to Leave the Yacht & Move Ashore?

When to Leave the Yacht & Move Ashore?

We know the feeling – you’ve been at sea for a period of time, sharing a cabin is becoming more and more annoying, it’s getting harder each time to go back to sea after being on leave and you crave a sofa, your own sofa where you can sit and binge Netflix as you please! On the other hand, the money is good, the travel is exciting and the crew are (sometimes!) like family. 

So how do you know whether you are really ready to move ashore?  We have all known yachties who have left the industry once, twice, even three times! We even have some in the office who did exactly the same. It’s not an easy adjustment and there are many factors to take into account. As a recruiter, I have been working with people within the maritime world for a number of years, many of whom have been transitioning from ship to shore. Here are the major considerations I usually discuss with candidates when they start actively looking for shorebased work.

Relocating ashore

Have you already decided where you want to live and plan to job search within this specific area?  Obviously, it is vitally important that you are happy where you live and if you are leaving yachts to live close to family in a certain area, then of course this should be your priority.  However, if you are open to ideas, this could open up a world of shorebased opportunities to you.  Most vacancies tend to be within worldwide maritime hubs, but not always so.  Those wiling to relocate will often find a wider selection of jobs that they can apply for. 

Tax obligations

Remember that?! Suddenly you will be moving from a ‘tax free’ income to a job where a significant portion of your pay packet magically disappears each month and it can be quite a shock to the system. Make sure any financial workings have accounted for this and that you are aware of the tax system in the country in which you are planning to reside. If needed, seek professional advice to make sure there are no nasty surprises.

Starting from scratch

Not always, but in many cases when starting a new job in a new role ashore, you will find yourself effectively starting your career again. You may also need to retrain in something totally unrelated to the marine world – are you aware of the job prospects for this new career? Even if you stay in the maritime industry, you may find yourself in a company where staff have been working for years and suddenly you are the ‘junior’ again, even with all those tickets and years at sea. Be prepared to start again and work your way back up through the ranks. 


Think carefully about your motivation for wanting to start life ashore – understandably the most common reasons we see are starting a family, elderly relatives or the desire to get that pet you have always wanted!  Despite this, I often ask my candidates to visualise what life will look like. It’s easy to imagine home life through rose tinted glasses, but really imagine yourself on the daily commute on those dark winter mornings – will it be enough to make you wish you were back at sea?!

So, you’ve thought everything through, given yourself a time frame and a plan of action and have spoken to a recruiter like me to talk through the job options and get industry insights.  What are the benefits you will be able to look forward to when making that move ashore?


If you are staying within the maritime world then often your job will still involve some sort of travel, whether this is to boat shows, yards or client visits. However, usually (not always), it will be less frequent and you will have the joy of heading straight home again afterwards.

New opportunities

Being able to use your existing skills or do something completely new in a new environment, even if you are starting at the bottom again, can be very refreshing. You may find doors opening which you never knew existed outside the confines of your cabin.


Planning weekends, being able to attend weddings, knowing you will be home for Christmas – things which may not have mattered early in your career – suddenly become increasingly important. Being able to commit and having that stability in life can certainly be a huge benefit to working ashore.

Overall, we appreciate what a huge decision this is, involving a significant change of lifestyle. We are here to help you decide whether you are ready to move ashore, to offer advice and to assist you in finding your perfect shorebased job.

Please contact Luke at wilsonhalligan to discuss further. Luke has several years of experience recruiting in the corporate maritime world and is well connected to help you find your next role ashore.

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