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How late, is too late?

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  • How late, is too late?

    Evening folks!

    Here for a little advice from anyone that maybe able to help. I'm 24, currently a Pilot Cutter Skipper on the North East Coast where I've been for the past two years, previous to that I spent 3 years onboard offshore heavy lifters, also local RNLI crew and the occasional SAR trip abroad too. I've always wanted to head to sea and go for a cadetship, but sadly I got caught up in the offshore gold rush which kept my pockets greased for a couple of years before returning to my roots back at home on the Pilot Cutters on which I first started out as deckhand. I'm currently in the process of re-sitting my GCSE maths to put me in the 'qualifying' box for a deck cadet, but I can't help but think that by the time I have all my affairs in order, I'll be 25 possibly knocking on 26 before I am in a realistic position to apply.

    Some of the Pilots seem to reckon that the average age of a deck cadet has started to rise, but I'd still be curious to hear if mid to late twenties would cause any issues. Ideally, passenger is the route I'd like to head down, but in all honesty I have a goal in mind and if I'd be glad of a place with any sponsor.

    Cheers folks!

  • #2
    I'm 24, turning 25 this summer and have just been accepted for a foundation degree deck cadetship with the Maritime Educational Foundation via SSTG starting in September.

    I've worked the same job within the aviation industry since leaving college so with your experience I'm sure you'll walk straight into a cadetship!

    Do a search on this forum, this question comes up quite often and general consensus is there's no upper age limit within reason.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions etc, would be happy to share my experiences so far


    • #3
      I'm 26 and part way though a deck cadetship. A classmate of mine is 27 and another 28 and we're doing well with it. We fit right in and socialise with everyone else despite everyone else being around 18-19, it's not a problem at all. I've heard of cadets in their forties too. Maths was a little hard for me to get back into after around 10 years since GCSEs but it wasn't a problem once I got into it. You'll also be lucky as you won't have to go through the compulsory English classes that younger cadets have to go through!


      • #4
        We had engine cadets in our class in their late 30s, I've sailed with an officer who did his cadetship in his 40s after 20 years as a teacher.

        Good luck!


        • #5
          I just had a 38 year old junior engineer (danish so think first sea trip cadet), so, not even close to being to late
          Trust me I'm a Chief.

          Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
          Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
          No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.

          Twitter:- @DeeChief


          • #6
            Ooooo is this one of those wee wee competitions against the wall?

            I cannot compete as we were all boys tied before the mast in my day - and that was just for the entertainment of the bosun!

            However, I do know that there have been a couple of cadets in both heir 40's and 50/s in the last couple of years, so do not worry - you are a comparative whipper snapper compared to some!

            Are you looking to get your ticket and then do a pilotage apprenticeship?

            "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.

            "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

            "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.


            • #7
              Hi Cleaveland.

              You're definitely not too old! I joined in January and I'm 26.

              I've been blogging my way through it all as a slightly older cadet, if you want to have a ganders you'll find it here -

              Like Sam said, if you have any questions feel free to drop me a PM.

              27//Officer Cadet//Phase Three//Warsash

              My officer cadet blog -


              • #8
                You might even get in on experience seafarer route instead of a cadetship


                • #9
                  Thanks for the information gents, it's given me a more positive outlook! It's all hanging on getting the maths sorted this year, I'm confident in passing it's just trying to find a hosting school/college is proving the hard part at the moment.

                  Ian, I think the long term goal is to my masters boxed off first, then see what options are open. The pilots up our way are on a decent little number which is always something to work toward in the long term I suppose.

                  Thanks again gents.