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Steven R. Van Hook

Career Opportunities on the Sea
Beyond fun and play, how to make it pay.
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 by Steven R. Van Hook

Steven R. Van HookPerhaps an occasional weekend on the boat doesn't satisfy your profound longing for the sea, and you seek ways to turn your marine skills into a paying vocation. 

Well, for sailors the choices may be limited to teaching gigs or selling and repairing sailboats, but there are a number of other career options for incurable seagoers.

If you do choose to become a sailing instructor, the American Sailing Association offers a certification program that measures up to "a national standard which is used by more than 90% of the commercial sailing schools in the country." 

Fundamental requirements for ASA instructor certification are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, have three years of sailing experience, have an aptitude for teaching and communication, and perform to standards of the ASA log book. You may also be required to receive a US Coast Guard license to teach. More detail is available on the ASA website.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides extensive data on job opportunities for mariners, including jobs in water transportation, fishing vessel operators, and career options in Coast Guard or Navy service. 

You might also consider credentialing as a merchant marine, or becoming a tugboat or towboat operator on coastal waters.

If you'd like to learn more about what different jobs on the water pay, here's a sampling provided by Occupational Information Network:

Steven R. Van Hook has cruised California waters since 1976, 
starting with a 19-foot Glen-L powerboat in Santa Barbara Harbor, 
and currently sails a Hunter 326 out of Channel Islands Harbor. 

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