People of the Sea: Javier Suárez

It happens quite often where a beginner sailor steps on board a vessel for the first time and instantly falls in love. Can you blame them? What’s not to love? Nothing beats a life spent at sea, enjoying the fresh breeze and salty air. But how do we get there? How is it that we can turn our favourite pastime into a lifelong career? “People of the Sea” is a mini interview series that will answer just that. We’ve interviewed mariners from around the world and asked them for all their tips and tricks. We’re here to share this information with you because there’s nothing we’d like more than to see you out there enjoying the endless sea.

Interview conducted by Olivia Ferguson

Why did you choose to pursue a maritime career?

The feelings I felt my first time at sea when I was 18. My best friends, his brother and I went out to go fishing on a really small boat. It was one of the coldest days I’ve ever seen.

What school are you attending?

I went to Centro Integrado de Formación Profesional del Marin in Gijón, Spain. 

Where are you hoping to work when you finish school?

I’m currently looking for any vacancy as a Cadet or Deckhand on cargo ships, yachts or tall ships.. My ultimate goal in life would be the later few. 

Picture yourself on the ship of your dreams, working at sea. What are you most excited for? 

Everything is exciting for me.. New places, long trips, general maintenance, talks with your new family while doing the cold night watches.

Do you have any advice for those who are thinking about pursuing a maritime career?

Never give up. You will not regret it.

What originally sparked your interest to go and pursue a career at sea?

The kind of life it brings. The people, the experiences, the traveling… I guess I keep an old vision and romantic way of understanding the sea. Despite the fact that I didn’t live those days, the old merchant navy whose fleet was made by huge tall ships and seafarers could stay for days in different places after their hard work.

How long have you been working at sea?

In total 5 months in a professional setting, as an amateur sailor racing in regattas, 3 years.

What type of vessels have you worked / volunteered on?

I’ve been working or volunteering on tall ships, sail yachts and fishing vessels.

What is it about being on the ocean that you love so much? 

For me it is the nature, real life. Every kind of feeling is out there on the sea.. Loyalty, loneliness, desperation, happiness, hope..

What is your favourite story / memory from being at sea? 

A wave hit our starboard side and at the same time, one really good friend of mine and myself, fell down. I got stuck between the furniture and the wall inside the officer’s cabin but he started to roll all over the bridge with laptops, documents.. Until the captain woke up and just in his underwear stopped him with his foot.

Do you have any tips for someone looking to pursue a career at sea? 

Focus on the main sector you want and work hard, take every single opportunity that life brings to you and remember, you never know, life is really changing.

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