5 Steps How to Become a Sailor

Sailing career is a lucrative and adventurous profession, but not for everybody. If you are considering becoming a sailor, you should be passionate and willing to pursue this career path.

How to Become a Sailor
How to Become a Sailor

And so, to help you with this, we will address the following key points in this article:

  • Who is a sailor?
  • What’s the job of a sailor? and, more importantly,
  • How to become a sailor 

So, let’s get started:

Who Is a Sailor?

A sailor is any certified individual assisting with any watercraft operation. These involve working on freighters, passenger ships, and tanker ships. Main roles may include activities like navigating sea-going vessels or offering support with the ship’s maintenance, operation, or services.

This definition is according to modern classification or definition of a sailor, unlike traditionally, sailors were only people who operated or worked on a boat with sails. Nowadays, a person doesn’t have to fall in that category to be classified as a sailor. Modern sailors can pilot the machine-operated ships or just assist with their operation, such as doing maintenance.

Now we know who a sailor is, what is their job specifically?

What Does a Sailor Do?

From navigating to maintenance and securing the mooring lines, the responsibilities of sailors vary. Here are some of the key roles of a sailor:

  1. Navigating the ship and watching out while at sea. This role is actually the main or most important role during the sailing expedition.
  2. Be part of the deck crew who assist with navigation and other responsibilities 
  3. Performing ship’s routine maintenance
  4. Inspecting and securing the mooring lines which is a necessary part, more so before the ship’s departure or during the docking procedure.
  5. Performing ship’s deck routine maintenance as well as deck’s general cleaning

Notably, at the beginning of your career as a sailor, you will be responsible for minimal chores on the ship. These chores may include activities like operating the winches, cleaning the eating and living quarters, and scrubbing the decks. New sailors mostly follow orders from their superiors, and at times, they may have fewer or no tasks to do. 

But as they move up the ranks and learn more skills, their responsibilities will increase accordingly. Through this, you can eventually learn all the necessary aspects of sailing, operating, and maintaining a ship.  

With that said, let’s now move on to five essential tips on how to become a sailor.

5 Tips on How to Become a Sailor

Step 1: What inspires you to want to be a sailor? 

The Sailor profession may pay relatively well but isn’t among the high-paying job considering the amount of work you will be doing. And so, to be successful in this profession, you will need more than just determination and hard work. Specifically, you will need to have a true passion. This is simply because a strong zeal breads better determination which makes you enjoy the adventure at sea or your role as a sailor.  

Remember, passion is energy that helps you focus on what excites you.

Step 2: What kind of sailor do you want to be?

Recreational operation of sailboats is different from working in an engine room of a large ocean liner. To learn how to do either of these, you will have to take a different path for each. And that is why defining what kind of sailor you want to be is essential

Step 3: Learning 

This step is a must for everyone who wants to know something. For example, if you want to sail, you need to learn how to sail, meaning you need to get classes. Taking a sailing course will be the only way not only to learn but also to get a certificate. You can find the school here.

Step 4: Get a certification (the “Seaman Papers”)

Getting the certification is necessary if you want to become a true seaman. This is simply because a sailor should have enough knowledge about all ship’s components. Additionally, you are required to have a pretty good understanding of the ship’s operation and maintenance. And to gain these, including other relevant knowledge and skills, you will have to learn and go through training to be certified.  

Step 5: Gain experience 

Do you have any previous experience, i.e., working in the Navy?

If you’re this kind of person, you probably have enough skills, experience, and knowledge to become a sailor. You already have a good base knowledge; the only thing remaining is determining what you want to be. You can also learn a new skill that you feel like adding one extra skill to your portfolio and then apply for the job at your preferred place.

Remember you can also include other ways of getting sailing experience to get yourself ready.

Final Thoughts

The above tips on how to become a sailor are necessary to ensure you’re on the right path to choose your ideal maritime job. Also, be sure to check out the U.S. Code to learn more about U.S. maritime laws and other relevant statutes that may help as you venture into this career path.