A Word With... Ken
A Long Island, New York native and self-described nomad, Ken Conforti
has traveled the globe working in a wide range of outdoor jobs, from snowboard
instructor in Germany to kayak guide in Alaska. In 2000, he got a job
as a deck hand aboard a small cruise ship in the Sea of Cortez and loved
it so much he decided to make boating his full-time profession. PMY
recently talked to Conforti about the lure of life on the water.
Q: When did you
first realize you really enjoyed boating?
I was pretty young. I always loved the ocean and every kind of water sport.
In high school I bought a 1965 Chris-Craft, a 20-footer. I used it for
everything—clamming off Long Island, water skiing, transportation
to go surfing, you name it. I’ve just always been attracted to water.
Q: But you never
pursued a career on it until three years ago. What changed?
A: I was
teaching snowboarding in Germany and wondering what to do next, when I
saw a job opening for a deck hand at Lindblad Expeditions in Seattle.
The company runs eco-adventure trips in Alaska and Mexico. It’s not
a party cruise at all—it’s all about the wildlife, coastal ecology,
and marine environment. It just sounded great to me.
Q: Was the job
what you hoped it would be?
I loved it. It’s hard work, but you get to travel to some amazing
places. I knew it was something I’d like to do all the time. I decided
to stay with Lindblad, get my 360 days on the water, and then go for my
100-ton captain’s license. I’d like to run the same ships that
I’ve been working on as a deck hand.
Q: Have you worked
on any other boats since then?
A: I worked
for a while on a yacht owned by Caesars Tahoe (the casino). It’s
a 56-foot Hatteras. We’d usually cruise across the lake to the California
side and tour Emerald Bay. But I prefer to be out at sea on ocean-going
taking the captain’s exam next month in Oregon. Are you nervous?
A: A little.
Right now I’m really focused on the “Rules of the Road”
part. The navigation section might be tough, too.
Q: Why go to
Oregon? Don’t they offer the exam somewhere closer to you?
do, but I can’t wait that long. The classes in Oregon are offered
year `round. I just want to get going as soon as possible. The sooner
I get that license, the sooner I can get back out to sea—this time
as an officer.
Yachts announced last October that it would sell its new 31-footer for
less than $90,000 and no cash down, it was banking on an old marketing
tactic: low price, easy financing.
But when the company
said it would also offer buyers a 30-day, money-back refund if they were
not happy with the boat, it was borrowing a play directly from the telemarketers’
handbook. And so far the gambit seems to be working.
a terrific response from first-time buyers across the board,” says
Paul Stenton, Cruisers regional sales manager. “The program helps
new boaters not only purchase a fully loaded cruiser, but it also gets
them out the water as soon as possible.”
The promotion, reportedly
a first in the marine industry, continues through June.
Captains Log On
Inmarsat is giving away a Fleet F33 terminal to one lucky reader. The
F33 is a powerful communications solution for small to medium vessels
and is worth up to $10,000. Log on to www.inmarsat.com/yacht
and fill out a short entry form for your chance to win.
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