The forever sought-after rotation

Jul 25, 2022 by Tia Taylor

Everyone wants it. The question is, can you afford it? Here are some financial pros and cons to consider.

Three words: Charter Rotation Position! These three words bring joy to the ears of many in search of their next vessel. Charter yachts provide the ability to earn extra cash, while rotations provide the extra freedom of time. It’s easy to see why so many crew members are looking at this combination as the next step in their career.

With all the positives, most would not hesitate at accepting a charter rotation position — but first, there are a few concerns to take into account. A rotation position often means less pay per month. It’s obvious that since you work less, you will be paid less; what’s not always immediately obvious, however, are the ramifications.

On the upside, you would have months off-board to explore and travel where a boat cannot go or to visit family and friends. It’s a beautiful opportunity that most land-based employees never get to have. On the downside, you would now need to find housing, and unless you opt for hostels or to go home, this will be expensive. Not to mention the added cost of meals and transportation, which can spike your spending significantly — and at the same time that your income is shrinking.

The goal of this article is not to say that rotation is bad. In fact, it is one of the best perks of our wonderful industry! The goal is to show how important it is to financially plan for making the switch. When you lay out the pros and cons, you can make a better decision on what type of rotation works best for you, what additional expenditures you will have, and if you can afford the trips you want to go on.

Let’s take Kevin, for example. He is a chief officer on an 83m charter vessel and has finally persuaded the captain to put him on rotation. His captain offers him a 2:2 rotation (two months on, two months off). Wow, he will have half the year off! But his salary will fall from $9,000 to $6,300 a month. Chief Officer Kevin first needs to weigh the pros and cons of accepting this rotation.

On the one hand, his salary will fall by 30% and he will miss a few charters during the busy season. He already has plans for lengthy visits to Japan and Germany, which will be costly. On the other hand, Kevin will get to enjoy free time with his family.

Relaxation, travel, and time for hobbies are important to him, and he recognizes that time is money. Kevin decides he still wants the rotation, so the best financial move would be to plan the Japan and Germany trips in different parts of the year, allowing more time to save for them, given the lower salary. There are many benefits to rotation, so long as you financially plan for the changes in your income and expenses. Find the balance that is right for you between the joy of free time and the opportunity to earn the income you desire.