Hey! Welcome back. In Part 1, we looked at the different ways you can become a crew member on a sailboat anywhere in the world.
Here we’re going to look at some useful websites, volunteering and how to accumulate enough experience to start getting paid for the privilege.
There are both paid and unpaid experiences available out on the ocean.
Whereas getting onto a research ship is often voluntary, there are also very well-paid positions, and everything in between.
Experienced crew can expect to be paid between $250 and $600 per week, according to a 2013 article in The Guardian newspaper—unless you´re working on a superyacht (in which case, it´s more like a $1,700-2,500 per month for newbies, up to $4,000 for more senior staff)!
Some sailboat owners may provide travel expenses (so you can get to where the boat is moored or positioned and back home afterward), others might provide only food and board, so to speak.
Negotiation is necessary to ensure you´re happy with the deal, unless you´re offered the perfect agreement to begin with.
One of the best ways to find a boat to volunteer on is to watch around marinas and ask. You can also make the most of our resources section, below.
You can find skippers that are willing to accept crew with little or no experience, usually for shorter voyages.
If you make yourself really useful, you show you’re trustworthy and a hard worker, you´ll find more opportunities and repeat business, so to speak.
If you don’t have much experience, you’re best off looking for volunteer opportunities and learning as much as you can until you’ve got enough experience to look for a pain crew position.
If you prefer the idea of getting properly trained and doing this professionally, and you´re sure this is what you´d like to do, consider seaman school.
They will teach you all the basics and more, and may be able to offer you resources so you can get hired after the program.
You’ll often need to acquire “sea time” in order to be taken seriously for paid positions.
I’ve included websites and links below to get you to navigate in the right direction.
But first, here’s a great handbook on how to sail other people’s boats without breaking the bank. Check it out.
This is a U.K.-based site for the whole world. There´s a small registration fee to join.
Crew Files Inc. is an online yacht crew recruitment site based in Florida. It´s for people who want to cruise around the Caribbean. It´s free.
This is one of the most popular cruising rallies. Register online.
This is a highly-respected site for offshore passage opportunities. There´s a yearly membership fee, but the small cost is well worth it.
It covers the East Coast of the U.S. mostly, but some worldwide opportunities are available there, too.
This is a relatively new rally under the leadership of Tania Avai, the youngest woman to circumnavigate on her own.
This site runs classifieds for crew members posted by skippers.
Crewbay is a free professional online crewing service designed to hook up the various parties involved.
Greenpeace has various ships, inflatables and vehicles, including three oceangoing vessels. Learn about them here.
The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust has a specially-equipped research yacht that sails the Hebrides in search of whales, dolphins and porpoises to monitor. They take on volunteers.