Crossroads of training and license for Naval Arch.

Discussion in 'Education' started by AJacks, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. AJacks
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    AJacks New Member

    I have decided to pursue a career change from the Computer Industry to Naval Architecture, designing sailboats. I have a few questions that I would like to get the forums insight on.

    1. I’m wondering if I should go to college and get a degree (currently I do not have a degree and I’m 31) or if a distance learning course like YDS or Westlawn is the way to go.

    2. I have heard that some states require you to be licensed plus a 4 year engineering degree to practice. Does anyone know which states require this and ones which might/plan to?

    3. Correct me if I’m wrong but it is my understanding that a lot of Naval Engineering programs at the different colleges do not focus on the small pleasure craft industry. Something like YDS and Westlawn focus strictly on this industry.

    4. Any other bits of wisdom you would like to share would be appreciated. :)

    Thank you,
    -Aaron Jackson
     
  2. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    You should look at the numerous past posts on this matter in this forum.

    Most of this has been covered quite thoroughly, tough it can't be said that there is general agreement on the answers.
     
  3. Jeff
    Joined: Jun 2001
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    Jeff Moderator

    Hi Aaron - welcome to the forum!

    As Chris says, if you search for either YDS or Westlawn you'll find a dozen threads in this forum, and we're lucky to also have input from students in each of the two programs. You'll also find at least a few threads such as the following two directly on-topic and parallel to your questions if you search for PE or licens* :

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1465

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2110

    I don't have a conclusion for you, but at least you can see how the conversation has progressed to date. Where licensing requirements ultimately go from here I'm afraid I'll have to leave to others more knowledgeable than myself ...
     
  4. betelgeuserdude
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    betelgeuserdude Junior Member

    Hi Aaron.


    Have fun.

    DC
     
  5. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Newick

    The Maine action declared that "working on" vessels under 200 feet was not "practice of engineering" under the Maine rules.

    This is not quite the same as allowing people to practice naval architecture on vessels under 200 feet. The exemption does not address titles, and saying "engineering" or "naval architecture" may still be controlled.

    In addition, though it was intended by some to allow design of such vessels, it remains to be seen whether "working on" includes performing analytic engineering tasks such as required by 46 CFR 28.500, or whether it just allows actual physical construction, etc. of such vessels. The law is not quite clear.
     
  6. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    About licensing

    Just to clarify the licensing issue:

    Engineers have had to be licensed for most of the last century.

    For various reasons, naval architects/marine engineers needed licenses. SNAME arranged with NCEES to develop an exam so that those states that had general practice licensing laws could allow people whose background was NAME to be examined in that discipline instead of mechanical or civil engineering. No laws have changed.

    None of these reasons have anything to do with small craft design, except perhaps testifying in expert witness cases involving small craft under the Daubert rule. Small craft designers generally have no idea what sort of analyses or positions require P.E.s, but none of them have anything to do with yachts.

    No one is interested in requiring small craft designers to be licensed. The fear is that an ignorant state board may suddenly become concerned about small craft. This fear is based mainly on misunderstanding of the details of the law on the part of yacht designers, and a lot of ill-founded rumors. It makes a good urban legend, but it's only that.
     
  7. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    Another note, though. Unless you really have something special, (and I have no idea what that is) yacht design is a dead end as far as jobs or business goes. When they say you can't make much money, they mean you will be damn lucky to any money at all, ever, as a yacht designer. There is just too little market for yacht designs.
     
  8. Robert Miller
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    Robert Miller Junior Member

    This is a bit too harsh. If the intent is to encourage a full appreciation of reality, that is wise. Things are not, however, quite this bleak. I wonder if the poster is, for his own reasons, a bit angry about his profession.

    So, be realistic, absolutely, about any wish to become rich and famous, but .......

    "Unless you really have something special"
    I would answer this with these words: creativity, desire, an artful eye, and a mind for the science of the way things work (physics and math).

    I was recently sent a quote by a famous yacht designer that I like very much (and now is posted on our refrigerator), to wit:
    "Genius is a learned behavior".

    Robert
     
  9. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    No, I never went into this profession to do yachts, though I have done a few. I think my favorites are probably towboats, tugs and ferries, though I sure liked working offshore oil, and military smaller vessels are pretty neat too.

    My father was in the maritime industry, and I grew up in Vallejo, and fully expected to work at MINSY, just like everyone else, though I ended up doing other things.

    I just hate to see people think that if they can draw this boat they can make big money in the exciting world of yacht design, after a quick and easy mail order course.

    The thing is is that you will have to be able to ask a question "why should someone by a yacht that I have designed as opposed to one designed by someone else?", and no one will get anything special out of any course of training that all the other people won't get. You have to have some vison of it now.
     
  10. betelgeuserdude
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    betelgeuserdude Junior Member

    And I would suggest that you would have the same prospects with motivational speaking. ;)

    Actually, to be fair, I rather enjoy the challenge posed by "conventional wisdom". We all make of our lives what we will. I know that there are plenty of career paths upon which I could far exceed the earning potential of an independant yacht design firm. In fact, I expect that my income will pale in comparison to my earnings as a professional boatbuilder, at least for a while. This is not to say that my earning potential as a yacht designer will pale to that of professional boatbuilder. I've pretty much maxed out as a boatbuilder, without going into management, and if I were to hang up my tools, my earnings would cease. This is not the case with a portfolio of marketable designs, which often continues to produce income to the heirs of the designer. How much, is of course directly respective of the continued marketability. Prolific writing can also be part of the earning potential of an independent designer.

    As with *ANY JOB*, if you lack the aptitude, you will fail. I choose not to consider luck as a factor.

    DC
     
  11. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    betel... has just the point. His vision is that his extensive experience building contributes to his ability to design boats better than someone else, presumably more produceable boats.

    John Letcher's vision is that his incredible intelligence and his ability with mathematics enabled him to develop unique, breakthrough software that allowed ...

    The YD field is so competitive, that you have to be able to defeat most comers to get the few dozen custom commissions or the dozen or so jobs a year. How? If you can't say why you are special now, better figure out how to become special, and signing up for a mail order course is not special, though it may be part of the plan.
     
  12. AJacks
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    AJacks New Member

    I want to thank everyone for their insight. Based on the information in this forum and speaking with other NAs I have decided to go UNO and obtain a degree in NAME.

    It’s going to be strange being 32 and going back to college. I guess I should start getting use to the idea of eating Top Ramen and not having any money. I do feel that in the long run, by going back to college, this will make me a better and more prepared NA.

    BTW to address CDBarry’s comments/questions – I’m not in it for the money and realize that I will be taking a huge pay cut. I fell that becoming a NA will make me happier person in the long run. As for my gift or niche, it would be having a creative mind for developing, improving and solving problems. That coupled with a degree and my passion for boats will let me obtain my goal. I do thank you for your frankness and candor CDBarry.

    -AJacks
     
  13. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    Why are you only interested in yachts, though?

    You can make a decent living, doing very interesting work, in "real" naval architecture. The problem solving part in comm'l / military work is also much more challenging and interesting.

    Yachts are hard to make a living in because the field is so small, they (mostly) are so easy to design that it takes very little effort, no one has the money to pay for a good engineering effort, and everyone and their dog wants to be a yacht designer.

    There are also scholarship sources for real NAs, and you would hardly be the first older NA student at any college but Webb (age restriction there).

    Go to a local SNAME meeting or two (www.sname.org) and see what the field is about.
     
  14. 8knots
    Joined: Feb 2002
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    8knots A little on the slow side

    I may be all wet here but please bear with me!
    I wanted to be a architect right out of HS (land locked) I turned down a 4 year scholarship to go work in the trade first (The biggest mistake in my life so far) I remember my dad ranting about how architects didn't have a clue about the "doing" of the things they drew. I figured I would swing the hammer for a few years and then go to college to get papered armed with the knowledge how things really work.

    My only fear of getting a "real" degree and working at a big custom yard would be the years at a CAD terminal doing the plumbing layout for a navy destroyer. You will spend years working doing the grunt work before you advance up the ladder to get to the fun stuff. Even if you "have it" the question is, Will you burn out before you get to the top?

    In my dreams I would like to work for Steve Seaton or at Northern Marine maybe even Delta. But the truth is "I Know I have it" and even this would become a drag after a period of time. I would wish to step out and be "special" Realistic? I don't know!

    Many of the N/A Yacht designers that participate here all seem very happy and willing to help us Newbe's. None claim to be rich but satisfied with there work and dont dread getting out of bed to pick up the pencil.

    I know I will not be rich but some of your payment can be in things other than money. Such as the pride in knowing you designed a goodlooking, seaworthy vessel that filled the customers every expectation. Even tho somebody else holds the title "She is still yours"

    This is all fine with me! I'm A simpleton/hermit type tho and my wife would live in a cabin with kerosene lamps if I asked her to. I guess its all in what you want to get out of it! and with that I quit rambling.
    Best of luck to you 8Knots
     

  15. Robert Miller
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    Robert Miller Junior Member

    I think these lines by 8knots capture my thoughts on this topic well. I do feel that Mr. CDBarry has presented an overall somewhat dark set of feelings about this thing we do. He has found his reality in naval architecture, and the tone of his posts seem to reflect that reality. And that is fine.

    But there are other realities as well. We all seek what we will from life. Life is short and life is precious. It truly is a form of wealth to be satisfied, or more than that, be in love with your profession. To be happy to wake up early in the morning, look forward to sitting down at your drafting table, and work on your latest creation, is a special compensation that more than makes up for the lesser monetary compensation you may realistically expect.

    The converse is is also true. There is a certain poverty in getting up in the morning to go do a job you do not love, even if a larger, or even much larger, paycheck results.

    How do I know these things? I am leaving such a poverty, that pays rather well, for the richness of drawing boats that work well, look beautiful, make me happy, and hopefully make others happy. I will have less money ... by far. But my wife will have a happier husband, and my kids will have a happier father. And that is a richness and wealth that is inestimable.

    Remember that old Sigmund Freud wrote that to be truly happy, a man must be happy in BOTH his home-life, and his professional life.

    I'll end this note, and my participation in this thread with this quote: (Credited to a female English journalist of about 50 years ago.)
    She said: "When asked for career advice by young people, I always say 'find something you love to do, and then get someone to pay you to do it.'"
     
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