Finding Your WHY (or WHY NOT) In Yachting

We’ve written about finding things to look forward to to motivate yourself. But is that enough? Unless you fundamentally know why you’ve chosen yachting as your career, you may well struggle when the going gets tough.

By Jo Morgan • 10 August 2023

How Did You Come To Yachting? And Has the Reason Changed?

Most yacht crew come into yachting young. Early to mid-’20s is the typical entry age, and while we get some newbies who are clear-headed about their career trajectory, it’s also a time when many people aren’t entirely sure what they want to do with their lives in the long term.

Yachting is a great option: great money, travel, friends, exciting skills, and WILD stories. People come into it for all sorts of reasons, in all kinds of ways.

What speaks to you?

  • Maybe you came into it because the ocean and boats are your passion.
  • Maybe you came into it because your partner/best friend/sibling wanted to do it.
  • Maybe you came into it because you want to buy a house.
  • Maybe you came into it because it sounded super fun and glamorous.
  • Maybe you came into it because you love to travel.
  • Maybe you came into it because you were in debt and needed to save money fast.
  • Maybe you came into it because you didn’t know what else to do. 
  • Maybe you ’fell into it’ via a job offer from a yachting friend. (You lucky duck!)

Lots of people will have multiple reasons for joining the industry. For many, those reasons will change hugely over time.

Regardless of how you came through, it’s essential to assess what your driver is NOW. And if that’s enough to keep you going. And if it’s not, is there another motivation you can find by shifting focus, or is it time to move on to a new career?

Finding Your WHY

Having a ’WHY’ for your actions is fundamental to human motivation. And because yachting is a high-pressure, all-consuming job, it requires more motivation to keep going than a 9-5 job on land, where work makes up a much smaller part of your life.

Knowing what you’re getting out of your yachting career, or hoping to get out of it, is crucial to maintaining the love of the job over the long term.

Before we start, many crew will think that ’money’ is their biggest motivation. Sure, yachting salaries are good, which is one of the biggest reasons for choosing a career. But in truth, money doesn’t motivate. Instead, it’s the reason you want the money — what you’ll use it for — that genuinely inspires you.

And that is often your WHY.

What’s Your Primary Driver in Yachting Now?

  • Money to buy a house?
  • Travel and adventure?
  • An exciting career unlike other people’s?
  • Love of the ocean?
  • Money to start/provide for a family?
  • Security?
  • Funds to start a business?
  • Early retirement?
  • Helping someone else?

Discovering External Motivations 

If you’re someone who gets much meaning from doing things for others, or you’ve hit a lot of your own goals already and are starting to lose steam, you might find yourself more motivated by more altruistic goals, such as:

  • Paying down your parent’s mortgage. 
  • Sponsoring an orphanage in Africa or a project back home.
  • Donating to an environmental or medical cause.
  • Donating a Seabin to clean up your local port. 
  • Donating to an animal rescue project.
  • Saving money for your family’s future.

Whatever your driver is — money, family, security, fun, travel, or helping others —you’ll find that once you are clear on it (and how yachting enables you to get it), you’ll find it much easier to make goals that keep you going. 

Finding Your Why Not

If you read the above list and can’t think of any profound reason you’re doing this job anymore, you may have reached the end of the yachting road.

If no apparent reasons can motivate you to love your yachting job, or if the sacrifices of the job outweigh the benefits at this point in your life, then it’s time to find something else to get excited about. Find something that WILL motivate you.

There is no reason to feel bad about not enjoying yachting. But, honestly, there’s a vast drop-out rate in the industry, particularly in the first year and then again after about five years. Heaps of people don’t love it. Or they loved it once but didn’t anymore. For many people, yachting is a short season in their life, full of fun and strangeness. We’re crew agents; we see people come and go like waves.

Don’t feel you need to persevere if it’s not for you. We see so many people stay when they are unhappy because they fear what else to do. There are many jobs in the world and many ways to make money. There are also lots of shore-based jobs to move into, which we can help you navigate if that’s of interest.

A Final WHY

If your yachting career is running out of puff, perhaps your WHY, in this final stage of your yachting career, is to manage your exit with professionalism and style. So work hard for this last season or year, and leave on your terms — with great money, great friends, and excellent references to launch into your new land-loving life.

Whether you love your job to your core, are getting a little bored, or can’t find any passion for it any more —whichever ’season’ of yachting you’re in, it’s always worth thinking about your WHY.