No matter what job you take on a commercial ship, adjusting to life at sea is going to be challenging. While a general maintenance job on a maritime fleet won't require as much specialized experience as engineering or ship piloting fleet jobs, there will still be a lot to learn. Fortunately, if you have one of these four types of experience, you won't find it as hard as others to adjust to a maritime fleet maintenance job.
You can't be an auto mechanic without knowing a typical car engine inside and out. While a ship's engine and a car engine are very different, a ship's engine has enough similarities to make it easier for a former auto mechanic to learn how to work with it.
As a general maintenance worker, your work on the engine will most likely involve cleaning it and replacing small parts. Since any large commercial ship will have an engineering officer, you don't have to worry about not knowing how to diagnose some obscure problem with the engine.
Coast Guard Member
Even if your time in the coast guard didn't involve maintenance work, you'll at least know what to expect when your ship's on a long voyage. Without this kind of experience, you'll never know for sure whether you can tolerate an extended amount of time in the middle of a lonely ocean.
Whether you have experience as a professional or an amateur handyman, you'll find it much easier to adjust to life as a general maintenance worker. The intuitive understanding you picked up from your handyman work will make it much easier for you to both figure out and solve minor maintenance problems on a ship.
This is especially true on an old ship where all the decks and walls need constant attention.
While handymen can generally handle light electrical work on their own, experience as an electrician is needed if you want to do more complicated things like adding a whole new set of wires to an electrical system. So if you used to be an electrician, potential employers will see you as a very attractive maintenance worker candidate. Even on larger ships with lots of specialized roles, it pays to hire someone who can assist a more experienced electrician with a problem.
Since the world is such a complicated place, it can be hard to find a job that exactly fits with your previous experience. But with a little creativity, it isn't too hard to find work you can learn easier than others because of things you've done in the past.