If you’ve daydreamed about seeing nothing but the blue horizon in front of you as you tour the world from a yacht or sailboat, then this article is for you.
You might think this dream is too far-fetched unless you have a spare billion bucks to buy your own yacht, but that is far from the case.
Why not be a volunteer crew member?
Volunteer as a crew member
There are many yacht owners who are happy to take on board volunteer crew members. You will get to sail around the world and in most cases you won’t have to pay for the pleasure. You will, however, pay for the privilege with your time and effort, whether by scrubbing the decks, cooking meals or help keeping watch.
You might think you need a licence to be a sail boat crew member, but that’s not always the case. If you want to work as a paid, employed crew or as a captain on a vessel, then yes you do need a licence. This type of work is usually found in the Caribbean and Mediterranean seas aboard the larger yachts.
However, there are many smaller boats quietly sailing along, which are in need of a spare few hands. Essentially, the captain provides the ride and you earn your spot on that ride. It’s a situation that works well for all.
Important Things To Take Note Of
The exact details of the agreement differ from boat to boat. In some situations you will be expected to help pay towards the expenses, such as food or gas, while in other situations you simply provide your time and energy.
There are not going to be any guarantees. Crew volunteering is usually an informal setup without a contract. Basically, the situation will work for as long as you and the captain can work well together – so be on your best behaviour. It is also difficult for you to be guaranteed a strict timetable. In other words, you need to be the type of person who is easy going, flexible and happy to go wherever the wind blows.
Make sure this path is for you. You don’t want to find out you are prone to sea sickness just as land goes out of sight. Therefore, even though we said you don’t need formal qualifications, it’s still good to get a few sailing lessons under your belt. This doesn’t have to be an expensive, out-of-your-way endeavour. For instance, if you want to take a boat up the Indian Ocean, you could plan a holiday around taking sailing courses in Cape Town. This will also make you a more attractive candidate as a volunteer.
So how do you go about landing a spot on a sailboat? You can use sites FindaCrew.net, which set up crew members and boats. You can also find opportunities by networking with captains and simply being involved in the community by taking sailing lessons or joining a local volunteer racing team. The most important thing you need to land a position though is enthusiasm, an adventurous attitude and willingness to work hard. This is ultimately what captains and yacht owners are looking for.