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Old 02-25-2007, 07:45 PM   #1
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This is one of my hobby horses. It irritates me to read of cruising yachts behaving as if they're doing you a favor by asking you to pay $25, $30, or much more, per day to work on a sailing yacht. Most of them call it "sharing expenses" but in my opinion, at that rate it is taking on working crew for profit.

One fellow thinks that 30 pounds sterling is a fair "sharing" covering "food on board, fuel, marina expenses and the running costs of the boat." For two people, that's over USD $38,000 per year! That's more than we ever spent in a year to live on our boat, and we didn't have to share our space with anyone.

Moreover, in my opinion marina expenses and running costs of the boat are the owner's expenses unless the crew stands up on their hind legs and DEMANDS to go into a marina. Food and any per-person fees assessed by the clearning offices are my idea of fair expenses. Anything associated with the running/berthing of the boat would be the owner's expense whether there were any crew aboard or not. Berthing is charged by the size of the boat, not how many people are on board, fuel costs the same. And wear and tear of the boat? Again, those are the responsibilities of the owner.

When we arrived in Pago Pago, American Samoa there was a large sailing yacht there with several young fellows from Europe aboard. They were "paying crew" and although I don't remember how much each person paid, I remember thinking that they were seriously overcharged. Worse, they said they felt that they did more than their share of the work and the food on the boat was terrible, the owner was terribly cheap feeding them mostly beans and rice. Disgraceful is how I felt about it, and asked the fellows why they didn't just get off the boat and leave - they said they had paid in advance and wouldn't get anything back so they figured to make the most of the bad deal they had. I don't think that there was any legal recourse for them - the fellows were German, the boat was non-EU flagged and far from its home port. Not much they could really do except what they were doing. Although this was the worst example, I've heard of similar situations.

One large, old wooden schooner would come into port announcing that his was a "training vessel." Turned out that "training vessel" was his excuse to charge the crew on the boat. The kids who paid to sail on the boat thought that they were getting a good deal. In one way they were - the owners were nice people, and they did get some good experience in voyaging. However, the owners of this huge schooner could never have managed this boat without two or three crew, and they had found a great way of getting that crew and making money as well!

How can anybody justify charging USD $25, $30, or more per day? I look forward to hearing the arguments.

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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Old 02-25-2007, 07:51 PM   #2
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Well said JeanneP

I have posted a reply at http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/index.php...&#entry5055 that is exactly what you are talking about.

Makes me MAD! And using this FREE site to post their ads.

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Old 02-25-2007, 08:22 PM   #3
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I have read that post - he is looking for 4-5 crew and that calculates to over $70,000 for the year. Of course he does report this income to his relative tax authority.

Too mean though to pay for advertising it seems.
Old 02-25-2007, 09:15 PM   #4
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I have two thoughts JeanneP

I agree with you in terms of an owner requiring 'compensated' crew to sail his/her boat to his/her destination(s)~ In the end, the crew needs to be compensated, even if just a little...not the owner. The notion of charging the 'help' is a little absurd. The grey area i suppose is the agrument that people pay to go on charter commercial cruises so if the skipper can 'spin' this idea to willing and eager escape junkies then they can get help funding the skipper's own exotic adventure and enough hands to manage a boat that is, in all likelihood, too large for just the skipper to handle alone. But truly, the difference is: the owner wants to sail to a desired, far off destination(s) on his/her private boat...the skipper needs help, it is that simple. The idea of a crew paying the way is wrong...especially if the skipper ultimately turns a profit.

The skipper and hired crew need to come to an accord with an arrangement that works for them. I can even justify fair, 'co-op' spirited scenarios where the crew help provision for the trip by kicking in a little, even maybe a fraction of some deisel cost's, but ultimately the crew shouldn't be alone in emptying their pocketbooks so they can assist sailing someone elses yacht.

This all changes, naturally, the moment the crew step off the boat in varying ports...nights on the town, restaraunts...etc. The crew pays their own way.

I think aspiring crew need to recognize that there are poeple who make a living as hired crew on yachts. They travel and sail to idyllic locales and get fed and paid to handle, navigate, prepare meals and mantain the vessel...every two weeks they get paid.

That, in my opinion needs to be the 'blue-print' and any alterations to this notion needs to be analyzed and agree'd upon be all parties.

My other thought..well, i have walked some docks on nice weekends where owners are sitting on chairs in front of their boats holding signs reading something like, "Come sailing -$30 per person- for 3 hours" ...and well, okay...perhaps a little questionable but hey, that's cool. This is different, eh?

interesting topic...

Max Mariner

Duluth, MN

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Old 02-25-2007, 09:30 PM   #5
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Ditto, ditto, ditto! Crew can legitimately be requested to pay much of their own expenses when it comes to food, alcohol and entertainment....expenses which would not be incurred by the vessel's owner if the crew were not on board. However the owner/skipper still needs to make some concessions, as without the crew many vessels simply could not move for more than a day at a time. Owners should pay for normal running expenses and still buy the crew a good feed after a passage.

I am not abnormally vain, but I like to think that when crew leaves me behind, they take with them positive memories about the trip, the boat and me.

'User pays' is a fact of life for banks, insurance companies, communications and airlines conglomerates...but as cruisers we still inhabit a world of sharing experiences, caring and courtesy.

I see nothing wrong with trying to make money from sailing if that is what takes your fancy; but be honest about it, get certified, surveyed, compete with legitimate charter boats, and pay for your marketing.

"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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Old 02-26-2007, 06:46 AM   #6
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In 2004, I was a 'paying crew', joining the yacht of a fellow Aussie and his family for almost 3 months at $50 US per day. He was doing a circumnavigation and I picked up the boat in El Gourna, Egypt and left in Piraeus. The money covered all running expenses, food & alcohol. The meals were excellent when on board and even covered meals that we, as a crew, shared off the boat - although alcohol when off the boat was paid for in the time-honoured tradition of the Aussie 'shout'.

This trip was the 'trip of a lifetime' for me and, although a daysailer, introduced me to the lifestyle of the cruiser fraternity - one I am definitely planning to join in a couple of years time.

I appreciate your comments regarding the payment of such monies but to me it was all part of a legimate holiday expense and obviously one which I was prepared to pay. I was away for just over 3 months and when the cost of the boat was added to flights, hotels and time in both Greece and Egypt before joining the boat, my total outlay was less than 8K Australian.

I returned to the Med last year and had 2 weeks on a charter vessel as well as two weeks on the land and my total outlay was over 9K Australian so you can see that I regard the first trip as great value for money.

I am hoping to use sites such as 'Find-A-Crew' to get back to the Med and have no problem being asked to pay a 'per diem' - as long as it is reasonable and the skipper is prepared to take on a reliable and willing crew member who has a lot to learn but is eager to do so.

As a non-boat owner, I appreciate the opportunity to read the experiences of those in the position that I one day hope to be in!


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Old 02-26-2007, 07:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by markje4 View Post
In 2004, I was a 'paying crew', joining the yacht of a fellow Aussie and his family for almost 3 months at $50 US per day.

I appreciate your comments regarding the payment of such monies but to me it was all part of a legimate holiday expense and obviously one which I was prepared to pay.
"Holidays" are presented in various forms and if you feel that you get value for money all well and good - provided you are covered in the event of an accident or unforseen event (God forbid). Paying guests/crew present completely different implications and complications in terms of both local and maritime law. This is an issue on it's own.

The point however, is that you should be looking for your "paying holiday" in publications where those offering these "paying holidays" are themselves paying for the advertisements and not taking the liberty of abusing FREE services such as these. These boards are designed to primarily assist cruisers who are legitimately looking to obtain crew to assist them with passages in the true sense of the word.

These forums are non-commercial and quite frankly, the administrators do not wish to be seen to promote or support what is possibly/probably an illegal activity. We are not interested in what other similar crew boards allow or promote.

Likewise; those cruisers who may be looking for paid professional captains/crew know that they should look for these on professional crew-hire facilities - not here on these free boards.

Old 02-26-2007, 08:49 AM   #8
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Sorry - should have made it clear that contact with the skipper with whom I travelled was through an advertisement placed in a commercial publication.

Although not in a position to reply to crewing requests placed on this board (due to present work commitments), I nonetheless appreciate the service offered and hope one day to be able to avail myself of this service.
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:56 AM   #9
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Thank you for the clarification.
Old 02-26-2007, 02:26 PM   #10
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I certainly agree commerical posts where someone is trying to 'sell' crew spots should only be sold in a commercial medium - and not dressed up as 'seeking crew'.

But I also do see, from the perspective of those who want to go sailing on a limited budget, how sometime sharing costs works out fine for both skipper and crew.

Year back when we really struggled to find the dosh to campaign a club race boat - and each block or kite that exploded or winch handle thrown over the side represented a real challenge - I was so pleased when our race crew decided to contribute to a weekly kitty to help cover those kinds of running repairs. Was not a lot - $10 a week each - and managed by the crew themselves. What it always led to was a huge end of season party to drink up the balance and made life easier for me too!

But for a crew member, who gets to enjoy the sport of ocean racing, they only had to secure a set of wet weather gear and chip in $10. A real cheap way to participate in an expensive sport.

For the skipper - apart from keeping the silverware won - it's always going to be a very expensive week!

So I can have sympathy with low budget cruisers who might wish to apply this same approach to cruising crew also. As someone else has already advised from the crew perspective, it can be a super low cost travelling vaction - on a yacht - for minimal costs. I actually don't see it too harmful if thats the case, and it helping the skipper to top up his own kitty.

Like most things in life - it is surely all about moderation - and agreeing what works for all sides?


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Old 03-12-2007, 01:45 AM   #11
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I posted a reply to a similar question here: http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/ind...showtopic=3260

I will add some additional thoughts.

There are mostly two views on this subject, but the reality is there are lots of fine distinctions in between. Why would someone pay for the experience? Lots of reasons:

to learn how to one day take their own vessel on a similar trip, or even if they might want to pursue sailing in the future.

To gain experience that would lead to an "expense covered" or eventually, a "paid crew" position. Yes, people do get paid for this type of work. I am a professional captain, and earn my living captaining boats. To get paid, you will almost always need experience and training (STCW as a mimimum). This is a means to gain experience. Most paid yacht work is either a delivery (no snorkel stops, no remote anchorages in paradise for days), charter work, or, much more rare, a private yacht with crew quarters. The latter is much like a charter, except it may be "on charter" less often, and you know the owner so know better how easy to please he is.

Or simply to enjoy a wonderful, challenging, fun, adventrous sailing experience without having to buy a boat and spent 5 years learning how to safely take it to sea.

As to the "fine distinctions" I mention, is experience required? The more experience required, the more likely expenses will be covered. I warn people about signing on to boats where the owner/captain has no sailing experience and the boat has not left the harbor in 5 years no matter if you are paying for expenses or not: your life has value, I hope! I have seen crew-wanted ads for boats I would not board at the dock! If you have more experience than the captain, and he is taking you because of that experience, then your expenses should be covered, and perhaps you should be paid. I have helped deliver boats where my experience was needed and my expenses where covered. I have only been paid on commercial boats: charters, head-boats, or work boats.

Boats that squeeze as many "contributing guests" as possible in are obviously trying to maximize income. Perhaps a slightly larger contribution over fewer people on equivalent boats might allow a more pleasurable experience!

And, yes, the boat itself is part of the experience. I have sailed extensively on a 28 ft, a 35 ft, and now a very roomy 46 ft boat. On the 28 ft, I would not have taken any crew unless we were romantically intimate. On the 35 footer, I only took aquaintances: the space was just to small to want to share it with strangers in hopes we would end up friends (it was a very small, traditional 35 footer, so please don't think I am implying that anyone seeking crew on a boat of equal length is a pervert or something!). I actually bought the current boat because I wanted to have ample room to sail with friends and congenial crew without feeling like sardines in the can. I am fully capable of handling my vessel solo, and do so regularly (I know: all singlehanders are hazards. I'm sure there is a thread somewhere on the site discussing this). Thus, I do not require experienced crew. And I assure you, despite all the rhetoric, if the boats that charge a modest sharing of expenses (I ask $20/day) were not out there, very few of the people looking to crew to gain experience would find berths. Look through the listings on this site. Look at those that do not require experience. Then, eliminate those that specify gender/age/breast size (those are personal ads. I have no objections to personal ads, or their being listed here. Just know what you are responding to). Eliminate passage only trips, unless you only want sea miles (I like to snorkel, island-hop, and join the local fiestas along the way). Then find a boat in which you would be comfortable sharing space with a complete stranger (this is, of course, a personal evaluation. My sentiments are above). See how many of these are offering trips with no expenses, or even the $6-10 per day some have proposed as reasonable: few to none, I think. Then, look at the listings for crew seeking boats and note how many have no experience.

Ultimately, I am not in a position to take crew for free. If I were, I assure you, I would not need to post as I have plenty of friends who would love the all-expense-paid vacation. I do this because I love it. Honestly, at $20/day, I do not expect to make money. No, that is not just food (although it is more than $6/day here in the Eastern Caribbean if you want more than rice and peas). But, with more people, there are more costs. My solar panels cover all my power needs when I am alone on the boat. When there are two additional crew, the engine runs more to replace amp-hours used. More propane. More water. Usage of many items is tripled (nothing lasts for ever on a boat, and little is cheap to replace). And inexperienced crew typically use these resources at a greater rate than I do.

Yes, I agree, the post for 30 Pounds a day is beyond what most people are looking for. In his defense, a Tayana 55 offers a level of comfort many other boats do not. If indeed, he is offering the use of all the toys he describes, sets a gourmet table, etc, then it sounds more reasonable. The clincher, for me, is he is in the Med. I have no intentions of ever sailing there because of all the stories I have heard on costs ($100/night marinas, etc) from friends who have spent time there. I can not afford it. For those who say this is a commercial venture, I assure you, sisterships to my boat charter for $4000/week for two guests here in the Virgin Islands. A Tayana 55 would be approaching $10,000 a week. In French Polynesia, I'm guessing its about the same. In Thailand, probably way less. More of those fine distinctions I am talking about.

Yes, it is the right of the Admin. of the board to set guidelines of who may or may not post, and I will respect that decision. And diferent boards put the price at diferent places. I have set my "shared expenses" at where I think it will not cost me money to have crew, but neither will I make money. Anything less is not "shared expenses." I am glad to see responses from some who have paid generous "shared expenses" and thought the experience worthwile.

Thanks to Admin for offering this great service!

Doug PS: I'm still hoping for that all-expenses covered trip down the Grand Canyon!
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Old 03-12-2007, 02:57 AM   #12
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'Fine distinctions' are what provide lawyers with their income. I don't think there is any intention to prevent anyone from having a good life when looking to draw the line between what is commercial and what is not. I appreciate this forum as being, in my opinion, the best cruising forum on the 'net and, I would not wish to take advantage as a result.

The way I see it, the difference lies in whether you want guests or crew on your boat. I do not know your boat Doug and I am not wanting to be critical. However, if I took four crew on my boat (55 Adams) they would not increase my costs by $560 per week. Over and above the cost of food, the cost increases would be negligible.

So any additional costs would add up to 'fee-for-service', and this is where the distinction between crewing and vacationing becomes apparent. Notwithstanding certifications etc., no one is criticising those who choose to charge such fees, irrespective of the amount. The criticism is levelled at those who want to charge a fee for service, but who expect others to foot their advertising bills.

Doug, your arguments are well stated and I appreciate your position, but I still believe that any charge above legitimate crew related costs, is a money making venture. The ideals may well be noble, moral and ethical...but, if you charge guests extra because you need a new doodad, you should pay for your advertising.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that licensed charter operators on the Oz east coast, in particular around the Whitsunday Islands, will take 'extreme' measures against privateers who take on paying guests.

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Old 03-12-2007, 08:11 AM   #13
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I do this because I love it. Honestly, at $20/day, I do not expect to make money. No, that is not just food (although it is more than $6/day here in the Eastern Caribbean if you want more than rice and peas). But, with more people, there are more costs. My solar panels cover all my power needs when I am alone on the boat. When there are two additional crew, the engine runs more to replace amp-hours used. More propane. More water. Usage of many items is tripled (nothing lasts for ever on a boat, and little is cheap to replace). And inexperienced crew typically use these resources at a greater rate than I do.
I have been there - I know. This is reasonable (as a max) to accept if you feel that there is no value in return for the duties performed by your crew.

I repeat, I have no problem at all (personally) with what cruisers "charge" their "crew/guests" or what "crew/guests" are prepared to pay for their "holiday" experience - it is none of my business. The arrangement is agreed by both parties concerned and both parties should be aware of the legal/insurance implications. This thread, and others on this board, have hopefully brought it to the attention of all concerned that there ARE implications.

This website does not wish to be seen to condone the practice of "paying for the experience" crew and will not knowingly carry those "adverts". I am not concerned about what other crewfinders do or what "adverts" they carry. All I ask is that those vessels that wish to charge crew in excess of the figure quoted above, use commercial advertising (or other crewfinders) and do not abuse this free facility. Please do not hide behind "shared expenses - contact me for details" (this always raises the red flag anyway). Be up front - post the details (applicants let me know anyway)!

The crewfinder on this site has assisted many over the years - let's keep it running the way it is intended, to assist cruisers to find crew.

Old 03-12-2007, 02:04 PM   #14
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Read this topic also:

"Who CAN advertise their yachts?" (Advertise is the key word)



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