Volunteering & Working Opportunities: Crew / sail around the world for free

Mention sailing and the chances are most of us will conjure up romantic images of wind in the hair, freedom on the waves 💙.
But mention sailing to someone who has owned a boat, the response will likely be more measured.

Although the rewards are commensurate, maintaining a boat requires dedication, commitment and hard work. Finding the time to dedicate to the upkeep of any boat can be challenging, and the addition of an extra pair of hands can help enormously!
But if you are eager to discover the sailing / boating way of life regardless of the challenges we think you are about to have a grand adventure!

We have been noticing a steady stream of opportunities on Workaway relating to boats & sailing– from Northern Europe to the Carribbean, and as far away as Australia and Malaysia..! Let’s take a quick look at some the most EXCITING possibilities out there for anyone with a seafaring interest:

1. Help maintain a traditional wooden sailing boat in Langkawi, Malaysia

Experience life on a traditional Malay wooden junk schooner while exploring the stunning island of Langkawi! The island is covered with virgin rainforest, so this is the perfect spot for immersing in nature while enjoying local heritage and culture. Help with general boat maintenance and rope work (don’t worry, the host will teach you!) and gain valuable knowledge on what sailing life is all about.

2. Explore around Australia’s Whitsunday Islands on a private yacht

If you’re interested in trying out an alternative lifestyle amongst some of the most stunning islands on earth, look no further! This host at the Whitsundays is looking for light help with running their yacht and preparing meals. Most trips are really just a relaxing time and to take in the wonderful scenery of the area, and enjoy life on a boat. Be prepared for spontaneous trips and lots of free time exploring nearby towns.

3. Boat building community in Oslo, Norway

This host is looking for Workawayers who have knowledge or interest in permaculture, farming, boat building or sailing. The project is for anyone who wants to learn, share ideas and work hard. If you’re interested in boatbuilding, check out their community now and send them a message in a bottle! Anyone who helps out has the chance to join the crew, a tribe of floating sea-gypsies!

4. Join a theatre ship in British Columbia, Canada

This theatre company is based on a 30 meter tall ship! These hosts have been bringing innovative theatrical productions on to the deck and in the rigging of a ship theatre for over 40 years. Help ranges from ship maintenance to working on future productions. Sail around with a crew of artists, singers, builders and dreamers, and create meaningful connections on the sea.

5. Maintain the world’s largest catamaran built from recycled materials

Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, this community of craftsmen, artists and lovers of the environment aims to create awareness about waste by building boats and getting them off-the-grid. Among various projects on water (and land), workawayers have the opportunity to become a crew member of catamarans and help maintain solar panels, install windmills and other improvements onboard!

6. Sail around Southeast Asia and help with filming in Bangkok, Thailand

Help create videos for an online travel channel while exploring the many unexplored sides of Southeast Asia! This host is looking for someone adventurous, athletic and comfortable in front of and behind a camera. The current project involves discovering the islands in the gulf of Thailand, as well as visiting authentic Thai fishing villages, while learning more about video and filmmaking.

7. English teaching on a sailboat in Sanblas, Panama

Sail around the archipelago of Panama with a fun family. In exchange for some help with English schoolwork for the children, stay on a 42-foot monohull sailboat, make trips to the jungle on the coast, and enjoy the unspoilt paradise of San Blas in the southern Caribbean. Experience what it is like to live self-sufficiently in water, and sail when the wind blows!

8. Help renovate a 60ft wooden boat in France

The boat which is near the famous wine region of Sancerre in France is 50 years old. This host is looking for an extra set of hands to help with reconstruction including woodwork, painting, electrics and plumbing. Accommodation is provided onboard in either a double cabin or in bunks.

Anyone who helps will be offered time on board when the boat reaches the Med, as well as beers and great chats to unwind after a day of work!

6 replies
  1. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    I am a writer, a photographer and a publisher living on my 32-ft. sail boat in Greece. I need some help with the boat to get it launched.
    I am looking for one or two mature (perhaps even retired), non-smoking, addiction free, fit, agile and healthy people. It’s not a big boat so you should be at most 6 feet tall and less than 180 lb to fit in the bunk.
    I need help with cleaning, sanding, varnishing, painting and bottom paint but some engine and bilge pump maintenance as well. You should know how to use basic tools.
    In exchange for 4 hours of work per day, I offer a berth and board. The boat is in a boat yard right now but there are showers, toilets and a free WiFi internet access and a book swap. There is car transport every morning except Sunday to the nearest town, which is about 10 minutes away, and two tavernas within walking distance. There is a beach and a lagoon for nature walks nearby. It’s quite a busy place with many people arriving to work on their boats to launch or haul but not a lot to do in the evenings.
    Once launched (hopefully within a week or two) you can come sailing with me throughout the magical islands of the Ionian, We will visit village harbours with tavernas right next to our boat and quiet anchorages where we can swim in crystal clear water. There will be work to be done while we sail as well. Come for a week, a month or the season. Contact me for more information.

  2. Jessica Glenn
    Jessica Glenn says:

    Learning the basics of sailing is simple,yet getting to be really master can take years.There’s continually something more to learn, and once you find the sailing bug you’ll need to learn it all.For case,when you learn to cruise the educator will show you how to utilize the “sheet” to trim (change) the sail; the sheet is the rope that pulls the sail in closer to the boat, or lets it out.The sheet that controls the mainsail is the mainsheet,the one fixing to the jib,the jibsheet, and so forth.Modifying the sheet effectively is 90% of sail trim, and you can use your entire sailing life simply tightening and facilitating the sheet.But there’s truly a ton more to cruise trim than simply the sheet—there’s halyard strain,outhaul tension,traveler conformity,boom vang pressure,etc.

    Lean to sail here

  3. Rajen Varada
    Rajen Varada says:

    Sounds amazing. I am avid traveler and the sea seems like the next place to travel on. Looking forward to find ways to do it.


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