The first people to sail a ship around the world were the handful of survivors of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition, which was completed in 1522. Since then, circumnavigation has become somewhat of a badge of honor, with people chasing the dream of taking certain routes and visiting places rarely seen, if ever.
Can you imagine your commute to work being as simple as stepping out onto a sun-drenched yacht or deciding whether you should head to Bermuda for your first offshore passage of travel or through the Caribbean, Panama Canal or across the South Pacific to Australia? How about Mazatlan, Asia, or Tahiti?
What if you could sail around the world for free?
If the thought of braving months or years at sea and waking up somewhere new every day of the week, without the luxury price tag that’s usually attached to such a lifestyle, gets you excited, keep reading.
An increasing number of people from all over the world have been volunteering on ocean vessels for the extraordinary opportunity to travel to picturesque destinations and gain qualifications for a highly paid career, without having to spend a dime.
Here are five tips for living the life of a shipmate and sailing to the most amazing locations in the world.
If you can cook, you’re a step ahead of the game. Having meals prepared before the rest of the crew have awaken can be one of the most demanding jobs on the high seas, even on smaller boats.
While research ships and super-yachts tend to require a trained chef to be on board, smaller vessels are inclined to take on less-acclaimed members lend a hand both in the galley and on deck. Whether you have to fish daily meals out of the water or get creative with the produce available, with a little skill and determination, this opportunity can take you far.
Hop on a Research Vessel
Many environmental and scientific exploration groups, such as the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and Greenpeace, have ships that spend a few months out of the year at sea conducting experiments and gathering samples.
As a volunteer, you can offer on deck assistance or administration to scientists and staff.
Be a Teacher or Nanny
Considering that people sailing around the world most likely have children, they will need some looking after during long voyages. If you happen to be a teacher or self-proclaimed babysitter, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Whether you are contributing your time or expertise, it’s not too much to ask for when traded for priceless moments of exploring the world.
In exchange for a place to sleep and a ride to wherever a crew may be headed, you can easily volunteer to pick up a shift driving the boat or helping out with the ship’s daily chores. Are you capable of cleaning a few dishes or learning new skills while enduring 70 knot winds and 20-25 foot seas?
Do you have any entertaining skills? Can you juggle or tell intriguing stories? If you’re charming enough, you may find yourself earning a toll-free ride on someone’s ship or submarine.
Whether it’s for the sheer adventure of the journey or the bragging rights, sailing around the world for free seems like a fairy tale. But volunteer crewing is something that has been going on for years and why more people haven’t heard of it, we still don’t understand.