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How to Build Another Life After Yachting: Transitioning with Confidence

It will happen to you one day. Your time working on board superyachts will be over.

That means, right now, you have two choices.

Image from The Matrix: choose your dream life or the life someone else choose's for you.

You can take the blue pill, and continue to amble through your career in yachting with no real endgame in mind, nor any real notion of what life after yachting could be like for you.

Or you can take the red pill and wake up to the reality that you have an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transition into your ideal, dream life after yachting.

Most yacht crew are taking blue pills like tic-tacs. They won’t leave yachting to step into a life of financial freedom and total control over their time. Instead, they’ll end up working for someone else, trading their valuable time (life) for the money they need to live. That’s what most people do, after all. Work 40, 50 years in the hope of a decade and a bit doing what they really want to before they die.

That route, the blue pill, is wide open for you too.


You could take the red pill and have decades of being free from the demands and priorities of a boss. Why live a decade doing what you want, when you could live the rest of your life in control of your time? Able to do what excites you most?

Do you know what stops people from taking the red pill to freedom?

Confidence. Or rather, a lack of it.

Chasing true financial freedom and achieving total control of your time can feel daunting and overwhelming. Much easier to swallow the blue pill. Live a life in service of someone else’s priorities.

Well, forget that. This article will give you the confidence to step out of yachting and into a meaningful and fulfilling life on your terms. Sound good? Then let’s take the red pill…

The Decision to Transition

A yacht crew member stepping boldly from the dark side of a square into the light side, as a metaphor for stepping into his dream life.

If you’ve read this far, there’s half a chance that you are already thinking about leaving yachting. Not imminently, but you’ve realised you will be leaving yachting one day.

Alternatively, you may be growing fed up with working on board superyachts. You’ve realised it’s a fake environment and you’re only there at the whim of the ultra-wealthy to serve their needs. It’s not your world. It’s theirs.

Or perhaps the industry is wearing you down? You’re wondering to yourself how many years you’ll be able to keep your enthusiasm up?

Regardless of your reasons for casting a glance beyond yachting, you’re probably a little anxious at the idea. Maybe you’re uncertain about what the best next step is for you outside the industry.

After all, when you leave yachting, the opportunity it offers to make seriously good money will leave with you.

Besides, what will you do on the outside? Faced with so much choice (the world is your oyster), you may feel pressured to make the right choice.

So here is your blueprint (or should that be ‘redprint’?) to an effective and smooth transition to your new life.

Self-reflection and Goal Setting

Yacht crew looking through a telescope a trophy, which represents their dream life after yachting

Ideally, you’ll leave yachting on your terms and step into a new life that you’ve planned well in advance. The more control you have, the smoother the transition will be and Yachting Financial Solutions can help you with that. Book a call etc .

So to begin with, you’ll want to spend some time reflecting on what a meaningful and fulfilling life looks like for you. What would your ideal day look like? What activities energise you and lift your spirits? In what kind of places? Where does your soul sing?

Put simply, if you had a million dollars, what would you do with your life? That’s the easiest way to look at it. Most people are forced into making life choices based on earning money to pay their bills. So they have to decide with their head, rather than their heart. But take the pressure to make money out of it, and you’ll hear what your heart truly wants. So put yourself in that mindset.

Once you’ve got some sense of what your ideal life would look like, you can start setting some goals and making some plans to achieve those goals. Remember: a goal without a deadline is just a dream. If you want to make your dream life outside of yachting happen, you have to be organised and dedicated to the process.

The red pill requires some work. That’s why the blue pill is so popular.

But think of it this way: you spend so much of your valuable time on Earth working hard to make the wishes of super-rich people come true. Shouldn’t you do a little work to make yours come true too?

In the long term, you’ll be grateful you swallowed the red pill.

Identifying transferable skills

A suitcase with transferable skills stuck on it to illustrate that superyacht crew have a lot to offer when they leave yachting

Whatever you decide to do after yachting, you already have some of the skills you’ll need to make that life the best it can be.

Some crew (actually very few) have popped so many red pills that they leave yachting totally financially independent and can do whatever they want for the rest of their life. They are able to pursue their priorities, completely independent from the financial need to work on someone else’s priorities.

Others may not be in a position to avoid working altogether when they leave yachting. But they do have enough money to make themselves less reliant on a pay cheque and the whims of a boss or a client base. They’re in a position to pursue a career on their terms, with some financial wriggle room.

What that career is will depend partly on the skill set they leave yachting with. Some of that skill set will be things they purposely acquired for a life outside of yachting. But they will also be bringing valuable skills that they picked up as part of their daily duties on board a superyacht.

Here are a few:

  • Discipline
  • Accuracy
  • People skills
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Stamina (physical and mental)
  • Resilience
  • Team skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Technical skills
  • Navigational skills
  • Seamanship
  • Administrative skills

We could go on and on, but you get the idea. If you’ve spent a while in yachting, you’re going to come out of the industry pretty rounded and in the possession of plenty of skills that will appeal to employers and clients on the outside. In other words, you’ll be full of transferable skills.

Don’t be shy about telling people about them either. You have the experience to back them up. And if you’re leaving yachting with no financial buffer built up at all, or a very slender one, then those transferable skills will be even more valuable to you. Because it will be those skills that determine largely how successful you’ll be at moving into a new job that brings you the most satisfaction.

Education and skills development

Chances are you don’t have everything you’ll need to step smoothly into your new life right now. You’ll have to add to your skills and knowledge.

Education and training have to be part of the plan.

So you’ll need to do some research. What kind of things would you like to be doing after yachting? (Don’t be afraid to think beyond the maritime or hospitality sectors.) What do you enjoy and what kinds of expertise and knowledge will you need to pursue a life doing these things?

Once you know that, you can spend time while you are still in yachting filling in the gaps with courses and training.

Don’t forget to look around you at the people you work with. They may be able to teach you some of the things you’ll need for the next phase of your life.

On top of which, getting in touch with people on the outside who are already doing what you’d like to do after yachting not only helps you understand where you need to upskill, it also helps you:

Network and build a support system

A network of people

There is a saying that no man or woman is an island. You can’t live in isolation and thrive alone. The help and support of others is vital to your success in life.

Getting in touch with people who can help you make an easier transition out of yachting should be a key part of your transition plan. Not only will you learn a lot, doors will open for you and opportunities will present themselves. Simply because you have put yourself in the position to receive them.

Building a healthy network is one of the most valuable things you can do. But don’t, whatever you do, see it as a one-way street. Don’t merely go after people based on what you think they can do for you. You’re not a networking vampire, working your way from one person to the next to suck out what knowledge you can before moving on to the next victim. If you take that approach, your network will be a lifeless corpse.

Work at building relationships with the right people, show gratitude, offer something in return, ask if there is anything you can do that would be useful to them. In other words, make the relationship mutually appealing.

Don’t worry if you think the person you’d like to seek advice from feels ‘out of your league’. Be honest. You’re asking for help. Asking can’t do any harm. And many senior people have an attitude of helping people, expecting nothing in return. They recognise that they also once were helped by someone who gave freely and without expectation of a return gesture.

By the way, a good place to start building a solid and mutually beneficial network is right where you are now: on board your superyacht. All of your current crewmates will be transitioning out of yachting one day. Who knows how they might end up helping you thanks to a solid relationship built on board a superyacht?

Financial planning for transitioning out of superyachting

Ideally, you’ll be transitioning into the next phase of your life dragging bulging moneybags with you. The more money you can take out of yachting, the more free you’ll be to pursue your dream life. Put bluntly, money opens up opportunities. The more money you have, the more opportunities you’ll be able to create for yourself.

And make no mistake, working in yachting offers you the chance to create a very meaningful amount of wealth for yourself. 

It is possible to leave yachting with enough money to cover your daily expenses and with your home paid for. Short version: USD/EUR 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 million should do it. Less if your tastes and lifestyle are modest.

That’s a big number, but if you start early enough and are dedicated, you can achieve it. In the course of a 10- to 20-year yachting career, you will earn anywhere between USD/EUR 300,000 and north of USD/EUR 2,000,000, depending on your progression and years in the business.

And that’s without the impact of any interest on the investments you’ve made in that time.

We’re not saying a million dollars-plus is easy or certain, but with proper planning and guidance, it is absolutely achievable during a 15-year career in yachting.

But what if you don’t have that kind of time left, either because of age or because of waning enthusiasm?

You can still leave with a very healthy financial buffer that will make the transition into your post-yachting life much easier and more enjoyable.

At the very least, yacht crew earn USD/EUR 30,000 to 40,000 a year, with minimal daily expenses and possibly tax free as well. If you’ve been in the business a while, you’re likely to be earning more. Putting only half your salary aside each month means you’ll be leaving with a bare minimum of USD/EUR 100,000 after five years, if you invest wisely. You should be leaving with at least a quarter of a million after ten years. And that’s if you stick to a plan that really isn’t very ambitious.

The key thing to realise here is that you have an unparalleled opportunity to build wealth for yourself while you are working on board superyachts. And the more money you can build up, the more opportunities you’ll be able to explore when you transition out of yachting.

Also, the more money you have, the more confident you’ll feel about the leaving the industry.

You don’t have to do this alone. Yachting Financial Solutions can help. 

 Book a call here:

Managing emotions and challenges

Inevitably, any form of change brings with it some emotional turmoil. Having a clearly thought-out plan is one of the best ways to manage the anxiety that accompanies change for many of us.

But a plan works the other way too. It manages your expectations and prevents the excitement of the prospect of your new life from undermining the hard work you need to do now to achieve it. Put another way, a plan keeps you grounded and your eye on the ball.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t be excited about your new life. You absolutely should be. But remember that you live in the now and you aren’t yet at the point where you can step into your new life. Now is where your attention and best efforts need to be, so that you’re able to build the strongest foundation for your new life.

It’s inevitable that the more work towards your new life, the less engaged you’ll become with your existing one in yachting. That’s only human nature. But make sure you don’t check out mentally and let your work slip, or you might find yourself outside yachting sooner than you expected.

Professional guidance

Career change isn’t always easy. The process of identifying what you’re good at, what would suit you, what would bring you satisfaction and how to go about moving from where you are now into a new career can be overwhelming.

Unsurprisingly, a whole industry has grown up to support people making a career transition. So you have excellent resources available to you. For most superyacht crew, it would make sense to look into books and online courses to help you through the process.

Don’t forget that building your career after yachting goes hand in hand with building your financial independence. YFSOL routinely provides crew with  hands on career guidance and development, both within the industry and for their subsequent life in the outside world. 

We have a dedicated Partnership Programme for this very purpose. Part of this is done one-to-one during calls, but you’ll also find a whole library of life and mentoring ebooks and videos on the dedicated Partnership Programme page on this website.

It’s all part of our holistic approach to the work we do. We strongly believe that a financial plan and a life plan go hand in hand. So only offering one part of the puzzle isn’t very effective. That’s why we encourage our clients to talk about themselves, the challenges they are facing, the dreams they have and what they would like to achieve in life.

Our goal is to help you achieve your life goal. And we can only do that if we also take on the role of a trusted partner and coach, and truly understand you as a person and your ambitions for your life after yachting.

Prepare your launchpad

A rocket launching into a bright, welcoming sky, as a metaphor for preparing a proper launch pad from which to leave yachting.

It’s never too soon to start planning your exit from yachting. Even if you’ve only just started out in the industry. Don’t confuse planning for your exit with a desire to exit, though. Just because you’re thinking about what you might do after yachting, doesn’t mean you’ve got one foot down the gangplank already. All it means is that you are putting the pieces of the next phase of your life in place for when the time feels right to leave. That moment could be many years away. But, as we said before, having a plan in place when the time comes will take away a lot of the stress and anxiety associated with making the change.

Therefore, the first step is recognising that you won’t be in yachting for the rest of your life.

If this realisation has hit you because you’re growing weary of the yachtie life, rather than earlier in your career when you were full to the brim with enthusiasm, you might feel self-imposed pressure to get out as quickly as you can. That brings with it its own stresses. But you’ll find these stresses dissipate once you start working on an exit plan.

Regardless of where you are on your yachting journey, plan the next phase of your life around your interests and passions. With a bit of diligent financial planning, you should be able to leave yachting with enough money to spend the next phase of your life doing what you enjoy. So picture your ideal life and work towards achieving a transition into that. If you like: have your dream life waiting for you at the bottom of the gangplank.

Above all, embrace the joy that comes from working towards living a life on your terms and in harmony with your priorities.

As always, we’re here to help. We’re experts in supporting superyacht crew in drawing plans for their life after yachting and creating an effective financial plan. If your mind is turning towards the next phase of your life, get in touch:

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