May 1, 2020

The Five Benefits of Membership

No matter what size boat you run, we are committed to helping you achieve the professional edge you need to stay safe and stay ahead.

As we launch this Professional Captain’s Association, I think back on my past 17-years spent training professional boat captains. So many lessons have been taught and learned within our walls. The learning path is always a two-way street. We learn as much from our candidates as they learn from us. It is only appropriate now, that we take the biggest lessons that we have learned over the years and make them available to everybody. Now we can all benefit from them not just for a few weeks of training time but for our collective careers! No matter what size boat you run, we are committed to helping you achieve the professional edge you need to stay safe and stay ahead. The best word to describe this program, is “valuable”. 

Benefit #1: Professional Development - If we aren’t careful, some of the critical parts of development STOP when we leave the classroom. Sure, everybody learns life-long lessons while driving a boat. They come hand in hand with the job. But the professional-grade learning in topics that make the real difference between professional boat captains and ham and eggers sometimes take a back seat to busy work schedules and hectic life in general. But, it is the pro-grade knowledge that distinguishes us as experts in our field and should be consistently pursued throughout our careers. As our membership grows, our library of professional-grade training will grow with it. I’m not just talking rules of the road exams here. I am talking about sought after topics, practical information, and true professional development. 

Benefit #2: Visibility and Networking - In a world filled with distractions and noise, getting noticed (and employed) gets harder and harder with each passing day. Where is the line between self-marketing and dignity?  We’ve drawn it for you with our job board and a professional approach to networking and recruitment. The visibility and networking opportunities attainable through membership in a proactive organization with like-minded professionals is not just loud and clear, its efficient. By joining with pros that hold themselves to a higher standard, your high standards become much more apparent. 

Benefit #3: Credibility - If I had a nickel for every time I heard somebody pass off the small boat license as “easy to get” and “just a multiple-choice test”, sadly I would have a whole bunch of nickels. But, I have trained thousands of Captains and none of them found it easy! None of them found a lack of information! In fact, most of them found the training we produced to be hard work! They found their time with us to be time well-spent. They found that they learned a lot! So why do the small boat licenses oftentimes lack credibility? Well, because there are a few providers out there that make the learning and growth part too easy in the name of making easy money. They make the rest of us look bad. The way to increase credibility in the face of the naysayer is by developing professionally on a consistent basis and associating with like-minded individuals. That is us. We reverse the trend of mediocracy through membership and affiliation. We have reversed that trend by making our Captians course training free for our members. Now the conversation can be about quality and credibility, not quantity. 

Benefit #4: Voice - It is hard to solve problems alone. It is hard to drive effective regulation (just think of your multiple-choice Rules of the Road questions) alone. It is hard to showcase the very profound positive collective impact that we, as professional mariners, have on the general public without a voice that is unified. Think about the merchant mariner today versus the merchant mariner at the end of WWII. We are not gone, but we are forgotten. We are spread out across this nation. We are generally very independent-minded people making up sole proprietorships or small companies. But, with members from all regions and an organization that represents the collective well-being we can drive positive change. We can educate policymakers and influence decisions to help move the needle of success in a very positive direction for all mariners. Our collective voice resonates. 

Benefit #5: Organization - CapTracker (our seatime tracking service), passage planning (coming soon!), legal information and attorney connection, financial advice and information, and much more all add to your success as a professional mariner. We organize these tools for you so you can “one-stop-shop” your professional success. All you have to do is add the hard work that your job calls for. I wish this was available when I started out 28-years ago! 

The Bonus Benefit... Connection - Being a part of something bigger than ourselves will be the highlight of my career. Paychecks go only so far. Many of them, sadly, not far enough. But purpose, purpose goes much further. We have a chance here, as a group of individual professionals to work together for the elevation of all professional mariners nationwide for generations to come. Imagine a nation where our mariners are recognized for their massive contributions to safety, commerce, and infrastructure. That is the world we want to live in!

We can generate a lot of good here. We can generate a lot of safety here. Mostly we can generate a lot of real improvement and real results here! That is a powerful mission. I hope you join us!