How to Become a Sailor: An Expert’s Guide


Today, we’re going to answer a question that baffles many aspiring sailors – just how does one become a sailor?

Well, we’re going to do our best to answer the question comprehensively, so buckle up and let’s go.

How To Become A Sailor Infographic

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Who is a sailor and what’s a sailor’s job?

Perhaps, before you even know how to become a sailor, you should first know what a sailor’s job entails. So, who is a sailor? defines a sailor as one who boards a ship at sea, particularly a ship crew member who’s below a petty officer’s rank.

A sailor is one who works on a sea vessel to assist with the operation, servicing, and general maintenance of the vessel. The term sailor applies to all types of sea vessels, regardless of how they’re powered.

These days, a sailor can work not just on a personal level but also professionally for private firms or even the military. As a member of the ship’s crew, a sailor can be in these departments:

  • Navigating team
  • Deck crew
  • Maintenance guys

As such, the duties of different sailors can vary but generally, sailors have to examine and secure the anchorage lines before departure or during the docking procedure.

Moreover, they’re charged with general cleaning and maintenance routines.

Sailors are typically well-informed in these areas:

  • Firefighting and fire safety
  • Welding
  • Carpentry

They normally receive orders from the captain, and they also must keep watch for opportunities and perils at sea.

If you want to get into sailing to get a job as a sailor, you should know that employers normally don’t look for any educational qualifications.

However, having some form of certification boosts your chances of getting a good sailing job.

Furthermore, by gaining some training in sailing work, you gain a good understanding of the components and operation of a ship, and you gain vital skills like ocean survival, which might come in handy someday.

Maine Maritime Academy offers a wide range of courses related to sailing, and you might find them very useful.

By the by, if you have been in the Navy, you have better odds of getting a great sailing position on a commercial ship.

One more note – you need your seaman papers before getting hired as a sailor.

These are just certifications from the government, and they prove your citizenship and display your passport info, among other functions.

To get the papers, you’re needed to have a clean bill of health.

Enough talk. Let’s go to the juicy part of the article –

How to Become a Sailor: 8 Easy Step’s

1. Gain true passion

Sailing might not be the most well-paying jobs in the world (it’s not even close), and so to get into the career, you have to be truly passionate.

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What inspires you to be a sailor? Well, that’s what you got to focus on. Think of all the adventures you will have.

Think of all the dolphins you will caress and the beautiful star constellations you will view during the nights out in the sea.

2. Learn how to sail

Sailing might seem like a no-brainer career, but did you know there are different levels of skill and experience? Get some sailing books, watch videos on sailing, and possibly register for some sailing classes.

Institutions like the Maine Maritime Academy offer you invaluable training and impart skills in you that will come in handy.

If you know someone who owns a sailboat, ask them if you can accompany them on their sailing expeditions and while you’re out in the sea, try to learn from them as much as you can.

Learning never stops – even when you’re an experienced sailor – there’s always something new to learn.

Always keep your eyes open for new trends and try learning as much as you can about sailing.

You’ll be amazed at how wide-ranging the topics associated with sailing are – there’s ocean science, ship handling, firefighting, lifesaving, craft construction, navigation, and more.

3. Get a boat

If you’re very serious about sailing, it makes sense for you to get a boat. It doesn’t have to be one of those big, advanced ocean cruisers; something simple will do.

By the way, it doesn’t have to be new; you could purchase a used, inexpensive one from another sailor.

It will be very helpful, as you’ll be able to sail around whenever you like, and that way, you will learn faster.

With time, you can get more finances and buy a better, more advanced boat.

4. Have a definite plan

You need to know where and when to start sailing. It would be great if had a boat so you can create a schedule that works for you.

Consider spending a few months sailing in the nearby waters to know exactly what works for you and what doesn’t. If your area isn’t very suitable for sailing, consider moving to a more favorable place, like the West Coast or the Caribbean.

By the way, if you have a job (we imagine you have one), it’d be a good idea to work out a plan for how you’ll balance between it and your sailing adventures.

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If you’re planning to relocate, you also need to make plans on how you’ll make money.

5. Share your plans with those you care about

Your boat could capsize or get hit by a tsunami or even get hijacked by pirates! Okay, let’s hope none of those things happens, but seriously, your family and friends need to know what you’re up to.

If you’re a risk-taker, they’ll impart some caution in you; they’ll stop you when you’re about to cruise right into a hurricane!

Some of them might not welcome the idea of sailing, but sooner or later, they will understand and probably even join you. Wouldn’t it be nice to sail with your best friend someday?

6. Have a financial plan

We already pointed out that you need a plan, but we feel we have to emphasize the part about the finances.

Unless you’re doing it as a job, you’re going to need a financial plan. Have some savings and of course; a means to earn money.

If you’re employed, don’t quit your job unless you have a huge amount of savings and an alternative means of earning money (like a business).

7. Make preparations

This is one of the most exciting parts. Darn, there can only be so much to think through when you’re preparing to live on a boat.

The most important things include food, water (very important because you certainly won’t be taking or bathing of sea water), medical kits, and an anchor.

8. Just do it

This is the final step on our list, and it’s pretty straightforward; there isn’t much to say here.You’ve had some training? You got a boat? You got a plan?

You’ve talked to your peeps to let them know you’re now going to be a sailor and they’ve said you might get kidnapped by pirates and taken away to Somalia but you’ve told them it’d be worth it?

You have a financial plan and have made the preparations for food, water, and other provisions?

Well then, what are you waiting for? Get out there and ride that boat like it’s the pinnacle of success!Now, remember, a ship at the port is secure but is that what ships were built for?

We wish you the very best, and we would certainly love to hear about your sailing adventures! We will also like to live you with words that Robin Lee Graham said.

He said that at sea, he learned how little one needs, not how much.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why do folks like to sail?

Sailing is fun, and besides, it’s a great workout. When you get into sailing, you will realize how incredibly tranquil it can be.

Sailing can be competitive, not just in the sense of competing against other sailors but also in the sense that you can challenge yourself to reach new heights (challenging sailing conditions, remote areas, and so on).

With sailing, you have better chances of making new and exciting friends (that’s what sailors are) and discovering new and breathtaking places, events, and people.

In other words, sailing is a chance to see the world in a whole new dimension, and who wouldn’t want that?

2. What physical condition is required for one to be a sailor?

If you’re to get into sailing, it’s imperative that you be of at least average physical condition.

Also, it’s very important that you know how to swim.

You don’t want the boat to capsize, and you can’t swim to dry land or float till a rescue vessel comes.

3. Is sailing hazardous?

If you’re in a good physical condition, know how to swim, have a good sailboat, and have the necessary supplies (like food, clothing, medical kits and safety gear) with you, then there’s little to worry about.

Be sure to follow sailing guidelines and at least have a good communication device (like a CB or ham radio) with you.

4. Am I too old to sail?

The most likely answer is no, unless, of course, you’re a hundred. The point is, people venture into sailing at any point in their lives, as long as their physical condition allows it.

You can even get started at 60 and develop into a pretty good sailor.

5. How much do a sailors make a year?

The average yearly salary of a sailor is $40,913.

If you have liked this guide, then you may also like to read our guide on how to become a marine biologist.

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