Want to sail around the world?

If sailing around the world or parts thereof is on your bucket list then this is a blog for you.

I got a fairly typical call today from one of our sailing students. His plan is to take off and sail around the world some time in the near future. He had just taken our free navigation rules class – was suitably impressed and wanted to take more so that he could be versed enough to buy a boat and take off. He also planned to fund his way around by picking up paying clients here and there.

This is a pretty typical call and a typical desire. A lot of people are ready to punch out of a hum drum life and head out. Many people do successfully and so it’s not unrealistic.

Upon discovering he had little sailing experience (and no boat), here’s the advice I passed on:

First off, he’s got to get the experience. To even consider to take paying clients he must get a commercial captain’s license but that can not come about with out significant experience. In the USA, to get a commercial license to take passengers, a skipper must have documented 360 days on the water and pass the 6 pax exam plus jump through a few other hoops. Again, not unrealistic, but today’s student would not pass the first round. He also said that he wanted the sailing knowledge and so I passed on that the USCG captain’s course while giving good information, would not give him the sailing knowledge he needed to sail around the world (The Sailing endorsement on the captain’s license is extremely basic and amounts to about a 5 page pamphlet). Rather he is best to start with some basic sailing courses.

So that being said, while in the future he should gain the commercial captain’s license, I advised him to get down to the local yacht club, put his name up on the board and hang around on any given saturday or wednesday night to pick up a crew position on a racing regatta series. And even if racing is not your cup of tea, it’s the best way to get very (very) good experience extremely fast. With the right boat and skipper, you could be out 2-3 times per week learning from top notch people. Not to mention making new friends and some networking opportunities.

To get started, I advised him to take the NauticEd Skipper sailing course to gain enough basics to know what he was doing on a boat plus to also take the NauticEd Sail Trim course because in a race this is very important knowledge. I said for him to keep doing this to pick up the practical knowledge from the club until such time he could buy a boat and even then to keep racing to gain the skippering experience.

NauticEd hosts a free online experience logbook for our students and so I told him to keep track of his time there. Once he had built up a decent enough resume, he could take our bareboat series of courses and start chartering bareboat yachts in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and south pacific. Through the networking at the yacht club, he could even start earlier by meeting potential qualified people who would want to captain with him on a sailing vacation. Then he could pick up a few passages with people he has met along the way to gain distance experience and complete this knowledge with our captain series of sailing courses.

To all this he agreed and thanked me for my time and enjoyable conversation (which it was).


Sailing around the world is a great and realistic idea and can be achieved by anyone. All you have to do is put in the time on a sailboat and do the study. If you keep on saying someday I’m going to sail around the world but you don’t get out this week sailing – it’s never going to happen and you might as well cross it off your bucket list right now. A life coach I once had used to say “To get the things we want in life is easy, you just have to do a little bit towards it every day” but he went on to say that it’s also easy not to do the little thing each day and in that – you’ll never get what you want. “Easy to do – easy not to do” he would say.

Given the right kind of behavior, today’s student could be ready in about 4 years time AND be living his passion along the way.

In a final mortal thought – he IS going to die saying “gee i’m glad I did” or “darn- I wish I had”. I hope the former!

Get started on completing NauticEd courses today. If you’re not sure where to start, start (now) by visiting our recommended sailing lessons  calculator.


My vision for NauticEd is to provide the highest quality sailing and boating education available - and deliver competence wherever sailors live and go.
Grant Headifen
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Last updated on July 6th, 2022