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Old 01-29-2014, 10:33 AM   #1
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Making a living around the water or on the water?

As I get closer to my next career choice I have started to touch a lot of different ideas on how to contribute to my families needs. (Financially) Years ago we decided that I would stay at home and raise our son. It has been rewarding in so many ways I can not begin to express my gratefulness at having the opportunity to watch my son grow into the little man he is today. So I will be the one that takes him to school and picks him up leaving me about five to six hours during the day.
Bringing me to my next adventure, I have often thought about working with wood as I love to see the end result of my efforts being paid out in a finished product. However, I have thought about other avenues as well. From driving dump (picking only the jobs I want and can complete within the time I have) to going back into sales.
My background is in sales for nearly twenty years, I would like to avoid doing retail as it will take weekends and we do enjoy our weekends together as a family. Maybe B2B? I have also owned a business that was involved in sales. I have thought about building small boats, and yes I know the profits are small there.
I love the water and would find it very rewarding to marry my love of the water to making some extra funds surrounding that love. The good news, I don't have to support my family. We budget around my wife's income. This would be for boat improvements, vacations, add to the retirement bucket, etc. Not our daily needs.
I thought since we have such a diverse group of people on this forum that I could gather some feedback. I know there are some boat brokers on this forum, what does that look like? Do you mainly work nights and weekends? Do you feel that it has enhanced your enjoyment of being on the water or taken away from the enjoyment? What about crabbing? Any crabbing boat owners? I live so close to Bellingham bay I have also thought about running a little crabbing boat.
Whatever thoughts you fine folks want to throw out into the universe would be appreciated. Thanks much!
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:53 AM   #2
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If you want to actually earn a living ON the water and not just near the water...a captain's license (even a 6 pack with towing endorsement can land you many jobs....most may not be full time or pay a lot..but as your reputation grows so will you opportunities (assuming your rep is good) and a lot of guys piece together part time work to do fairly well (not the million a year bonus Wall Street crowd well..but you are on the water).

I decided that being a defense contractor in wash, DC was not for me...neither was the commute or the hours...so I retired...puttered around with marine Electronics install and sales...turned a contact at a Sea Ray dealership into being part time at the Marine Electronics and part time captain for the Marine Max Dealership. Along the way I picked up teaching captains licensing and the NJ State Boating safety certification. That got me quite a few delivery jobs so I started my own delivery business/on-the-water training while still working for the 2 places . When I got tired of all that...I went with an assistance towing company that also did a lot of marine cleanups, pushing small barges, marine science works, etc...

All in all it worked out for me because of my USCG pension staying the course through all the ups/downs...but I always had more work than I could handle because of what I could do and I knew how to fit in all the different flavored places and managements.

So a Landscape Architect turned USCG helo pilot...tossed it all to get into the "messing around on boats" mentality worked out just fine. I work part time on the water (but always on call and many summer days are 6-8 hrs underway) for 7.5 months and cruise 4.5 months....works for me and many think it's the real deal.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:13 AM   #3
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Sounds like the Real Deal to me !
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:33 AM   #4
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bshillam,
I would try to isolate what it is you really seek w the concept of working around the water. Try to make up a statement that is most true. Like "I like working around the water with people". Then decide what is more important. People or water. And if you keep doing that much greater focus should evolve.
Sales is great but too many people fail to make it a science and study how to manipulate people skillfully down the road to closing. And if you don't close the sale you may have a good time talking to people but you'll make more money building boats. And like you say that's not much. Most salesmen just fail to ask for the sale. And there's no such thing as a born salesman. Just people that like to talk. But a really good salesman probably eventually starts manipulating his friends and family w his well honed skills and psychological knowledge.
If your "study" finds that you really just like working w people more than working near the water you're possibilities for your new work adventure could expand to the point that finding your new "adventure" could be easy. You may ask yourself why you called your next job an adventure. That may lead you down some very exciting and suitable trails.
Good luck w your new adventure.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:16 PM   #5
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I've been working my boat for years now. Doing a commercial shrimp fishing thing using pots.

It's just a weekend thing for me.

I sell my catch off the boat in the harbor.
I post a craigslist ad and sell everything I catch.

A bit of a hassel getting the boat set up for commercial.

The Coast Guard has a lot to say about how you are equiped.

I figure as long as I am out, I may as well make a little cash on the side.

Pays for fuel, bait, food, adult beverages ( brown Bottles). Me and my buds split a few bucks at the end of the weekend.
It's not a rodeo style opener. If the weather is bad I don't fish.

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Old 01-29-2014, 02:21 PM   #6
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:24 PM   #7
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Boat broker to crabber is quite a range. Being a boat broker requires education and "people" skills. And selling skills. And if you want to be a success, the ability to deviate from the truth at times without it bothering you will be a help in selling boats. Boat brokers are considered by some folks as equal to used care salesmen.

Being a crabber doesn't require an education or people skills. You have no "boss" except for state and local regulations. On the down side, it's hard, dirty work and often very cold or very hot.

There are dozens of other on or near water jobs depending on your capabilities and expectations. A DNR officer seems like a decent on-water job. A dockmaster at a marina? A dockhand? How about operating a tow boat or a pumpout boat?

Your state or county government probably has an agency that helps people to find jobs. Why not contact them?
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesK View Post
Boat broker to crabber is quite a range. Being a boat broker requires education and "people" skills. And selling skills. And if you want to be a success, the ability to deviate from the truth at times without it bothering you will be a help in selling boats. Boat brokers are considered by some folks as equal to used care salesmen.
Yes, I have been involved in sales just after serving. For over twenty years in one form or another. However, I would have to say in all my dealings I can sleep well at night. I have never really concerned myself with my pay check, although I would say that the lack kept me up at night when I was putting my wife through school and making two mortgage payments at the same time. That was a demanding time. However, my approach was this -
"Take care of the customer and let the commission work itself out." If I was success at taking care of my customer I always made more than anyone around me. I took the good deals (huge commission) and that not so good deals. Why, because it gave me another opportunity to sell what I was excited about.

Now, when I say that I would like to avoid sales because my family has appreciated me not being in sales for about five years. Having weekends again and holidays that was something I didn't have when I made six figures. I worked around the working class. Most of which worked during the week.

I would be excited about working on a boat, my boat and running my schedule the way it fit into my life. I am looking into the commercial end of crabbing here in the PNW. I lean more towards something requiring a bit less capital such as boat building or furniture making, buying another boat and fitting it out, purchasing another boat I am not sure this is the answer. Right now I am working on a tiling project. I have been involved in building, boats, sheds, tiling, and what not. I figure anything I put my mind to I can either teach myself or reach out and find someone willing to teach me.
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bshillam View Post
Yes, I have been involved in sales just after serving. For over twenty years in one form or another. However, I would have to say in all my dealings I can sleep well at night. I have never really concerned myself with my pay check, although I would say that the lack kept me up at night when I was putting my wife through school and making two mortgage payments at the same time. That was a demanding time. However, my approach was this -
"Take care of the customer and let the commission work itself out." If I was success at taking care of my customer I always made more than anyone around me. I took the good deals (huge commission) and that not so good deals. Why, because it gave me another opportunity to sell what I was excited about.

Now, when I say that I would like to avoid sales because my family has appreciated me not being in sales for about five years. Having weekends again and holidays that was something I didn't have when I made six figures. I worked around the working class. Most of which worked during the week.

I would be excited about working on a boat, my boat and running my schedule the way it fit into my life. I am looking into the commercial end of crabbing here in the PNW. I lean more towards something requiring a bit less capital such as boat building or furniture making, buying another boat and fitting it out, purchasing another boat I am not sure this is the answer. Right now I am working on a tiling project. I have been involved in building, boats, sheds, tiling, and what not. I figure anything I put my mind to I can either teach myself or reach out and find someone willing to teach me.
For the last 15 years or so I've traded commodity spreads, generating enough income to do pretty much what I want to do. I realize that when you mention the word commodity, most people thought you said "gambling on dog races", but trading commodity spreads is not like that. There are eight different major commodity categories, like energy, or rates, or livestock, grains, etc. A spread is a trade where you combine one long leg (you buy a contract) with one short leg (you sell a contract). The only spreads I trade are those that have some real world dynamics driving changes in price, and this gives predictability. An example of such a trade would be a spread that was long heating oil and short unleaded gas going into the winter. The real world dynamic is that heating oil tends to go up faster than unleaded gas because people heat their homes more in the winter and drive less. I realize that now I sound like the guys in Trading Places, where Eddie Murray has commodities explained to him, but bear with me a moment. The key to spreads is that you really don't give a rip whether the prices of the two legs go up, or down. All that matters is that the long leg goes up more, or down less than the short leg. The result is a profit.

I don't do the research myself, but subscribe to a couple of services that do historical analysis to identify the best time to enter, and exit particular spreads. I generally have on around 20 or so trades at one time, and they stay active for periods from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Over the course of a year, I place a few hundred trades. The reason this is such a brain dead way of making money is because it doesn't take any brains. In fact, I spend around one or two hours a week trading and for years have consistently made returns that are so ridiculously good that no one ever believes them. The fundamental principle involved is that you trade across multiple types of commodities (diversification), you don't care whether the price of whatever you're trading goes up or down (safety), and you place so many trades that have historical rationale for why they generally are profitable (more diversity) so that the overall beta (risk) of the approach is very low. All I can tell you is that for around $40k, a nitwit can make $40k a year, year in and year out. Because it takes so little time, it has always seemed like the perfect way to make a living while cruising.

I can also tell you that although I have occasionally explained this whole process to people, I know of only around 3 that have ever actually followed through, and they all have confirmed that there is no particular magic involved, just diverse and repeated trades that have a high probability of being profitable and over the course of a few months always are, or at least always have been. I only mention this because I know how hard many people work to make ends meet and it hardly seems appropriate not to suggest that others at least look into the subject, as it may make their lives easier.

If anyone want to learn a bit more, I use Moore Research (no affiliation) and Seasonal Algo (no affiliation) with the electronic trading platform offered by Interactive Brokers (no affiliation). Moore gives you a month free (I think) and give you a series of trades to place with entry and exit dates. They also have a lot of information explaining spread trading. Seasonal Algo does the same. Interactive Brokers lets you set up a pretend trading account so you can experiment, so all in all, one can determine if this is right for them without spending a nickel. I fully intend to keep Delfin full of fuel and me full of decent wine when I hopefully retire soon. All I need is a half a brain, a couple hours of week of internet connectivity and a finger to place trades.

A record of returns for the last 30 days is attached showing what spreads were taken off in the last month and what the results were. The trading margin for these trades is around $30k. I don't recall a year when the annual results for spread trading was less than around $70k, with each of their recommendations followed, requiring a maximum of around $40k on account to cover margin requirements.

Welcome to Moore Research Center
www.seasonalalgo.com
www.interactivebrokers.com
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:49 PM   #10
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The problem is that you're essentially looking for part time as you want to both take and pick up the kids. You then also want your weekends free. Oh and minimal investment. And connected to the water.

Each of those greatly reduces the possibilities. I'd suggest you need to think about which of those is most important and the ones you might compromise on. The only jobs I know that don't cross any of the barriers you set are stay at home online and phone sales type positions or business to business sales of some sort. But then they aren't likely water related.

There is a reason so many moms get into real estate. It allows you to schedule around the kids and to set your hours. It will require some weekends though. But what about real estate specializing in water (waterfront or near) properties?

Another possibility that crosses my mind. There are a lot of boat builders in your area. What about a sales position with one of them. This could be done both from their location and home.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:38 PM   #11
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:51 PM   #12
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:00 PM   #13
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I worked on a crab boat in SC from 14 years old until I finished High School. Best time of my teens. If you ever caught the Dirtiest Jobs episode on the oystermen you've seen my waters.

I have just moved from 38 years of being on the scene in my career to being the just the IT/Manager of the business we started in '92. In less than a week I've cleaned up the primary database I designed 20 some years ago and am well under way to eliminating the roles of the 2 people who just worked the system. I have come to realize and am fortunate that the time to do it your way is now. Online databases will result in employees delivering neat and accurate reports without the need to review and enter the data by someone else. Our resources have been freed up with fewer rather than more people. blah blah blah but the end result is we to hire 4 people to replace me with billable people at an entry level. I work fewer hours by spring and employ more.

My point is that my phone has more capability than the entire resources of my operation that many years ago.

I probably have gained some experience in that time but the foundation I started with would still a great starting point. Managing the information we deal with has gotten to be so easy. I'm no IT guy, but I know what needs to be done and using IT is not the challenge it once was. No disrespect to those still leading us forward in this stuff, but how much we as average guys can do on our own is staggering.

Don't spend your time doing things. Make it easy for others to do things. A wee bit of upfront work and profit from experience. It is so easy right now and many have not caught on. That is a perfect scenario to do what YOU want as long as you do whatever that is well.

That's my best advice and you are the only one qualified to apply the specifics.

You can start right now. Office 365 Business pro is free to try (~30 days) and you will be the limiting factor. I've been working toward this point for years and the good news is I can do it without depending on anyone else. Doing the job was always the easy part until now.

Of course one is limited to the areas with good connectivity.

Disclaimer - I am just a lucky guy all these events happen to meet at this point in time.

And so are you.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:02 PM   #14
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Detailing boats; washing, compounding, waxing, polish the SS etc. even do teak. you can make a bunch of money, it is hard work but pays well if you do a good job.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:43 PM   #15
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I have made a good living as a delivery capt since 1974 started part time and then went full time, did a lot for staten island boat sales for almost 30 yrs. 200 trips up and down the east coast and west coast of florida and the Bahamas, loved spending other peoples money for fuel eats plane fare etc. 84 yrs old and still do a few once in a while.
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:57 AM   #16
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No way to provide for a family , but for some spare change rope work is always in demand.

The few folks that actually leave their slips sometimes spend too much time on their return re tieing the boat.

A spliced on midships spring and spliced lines that go thru the center of a cleat (so it isnt stolen) does wonders at tie up time.

Eye and back splices are needed for anchor and docking lines , and at $10- $20 for each splice , every boat in the harbor can be $100+.Wire splices or wire - rope splices for the sailors pay best.

Traveling , when there is no hair cutters union with purchased gov licensing , good hair cuts for $10. each has worked for some.
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:09 PM   #17
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I also would love to find a way to supplement my boat addiction. I have looked into crabbing in Bellingham and it looks and sounds great except that pesky $ 100,000 cost for the license. My boat would be perfect for it as well as other things like day charters or booze cruises around the bay. I even have the time available since my work schedule gives me every other month off, however I have a house full of teenagers ( 2 girls still at home ) so while my cup runneth over in many ways, my wallet never seems to have that problem. So I guess until such a time arrives I will keep on dreaming and enjoying my boat as much as I can. Maybe someday my boat will be able to earn at least part of its keep.
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:20 AM   #18
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My boat would be perfect for it as well as other things like day charters or booze cruises around the bay.

This will require a piece of paper from the coasties , for the boat itself and the boat driver.

It will also require expensive insurance.
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:28 PM   #19
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Two words- hull cleaner!

Work when you want. Money can be good.

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Old 02-17-2014, 08:59 PM   #20
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I see a LOT of great suggestions here!

As another thought, if you have the background, knowledge and credentials, maybe try teaching? Once you get up and running, offer the OUPV (6 pack) course, and build from there. You schedule the classes around your schedule.
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