How long can I volunteer for?

This depends on how long you are available and the role you are applying for. Some roles need volunteers for as little as two weeks (e.g. Dental and Operating Theatre teams) and some are longer-term. Most roles start from three months onwards.

All our roles have a preferred minimum commitment listed on the job description. This is a guideline of how long we need to fill that role for without disrupting work on the ship. Whilst we have a minimum preferred commitment, you are welcome to volunteer for longer.

Not available right now? Join the talent pool!

We are always looking for people to bring hope and healing to the forgotten poor. If you would like to volunteer but are not yet sure when you would be available, you can join our talent pool. You apply to serve with us at some point in the future, whenever you are ready. Once you are in the talent pool, you will be the first to hear when your preferred role is available.

To join the talent pool, submit an application online. As part of the application, we ask you for your provisional availability (you can always update this once you’ve set up your profile). You simply tell us when and how long you would like to volunteer for (e.g. three months between November 2020 – June 2026). Once submitted your application will be considered taking into account your availability, no matter how far it is in the future.

What job could I do onboard?

There are over 200 jobs onboard, and only half of them are medical! We are looking for people from all fields and backgrounds to serve with us.

Technical & Skilled Labour: Mechanic, Plumber, Electrician, Sheet Metal Worker, Captain, Electronics Technician, Chief, Second, Third Officer, Chief, Second, Third, Fourth Engineer.

General: Receptionist, Hospitality Staff, IT Support Specialists, Photographer, Videographer, Catering & Food Services, Hairdresser, Teachers – primary & secondary.

Medical: Decontamination Technician, Sterile Services Technician, Biomedical Engineer, Paediatric Ward Nurse, Paediatric ICU Ward Nurse, Hospital Informatics Manager, Speech Therapist.

Engine room
Vanacker cleaning

Do I have the right qualifications?

Our hospital ships are considered passenger ships and we have to abide by international maritime law. This means that some jobs requires an STCW certificate. What is the STCW? The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers sets minimum qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships and large yachts.

You might see this requirement next to roles like receptionist, plumber and mechanic among many others. For instance, Crowd Management in accordance with STCW A-V/2-1. Don’t be concerned if you see this requirement on any role or have never come across the STCW before. We can help with these qualifications and some can be obtained onboard.

How much will it cost me to volunteer?

There are two main costs to bear in mind: travel to the country where the ship is docked and living costs for accommodation and food on the ship (also known as crew fees). Volunteers pay to help cover the cost of their time with us, e.g. their food and board. This means Mercy Ships can maximise the amount of donations going towards saving and changing lives. Crew fees mean that more vital surgery and essential medical capacity building is possible.

Get in touch today to enquire about crew fees!

Djimby after free surgery from Mercy Ships

We have created an online community, myMercy, where you can connect with people who are considering volunteering, are currently volunteering and former volunteer crew members! On myMercy you can also ask questions to staff members. There are blogs, discussions and FAQs about a wide range of topics. Sign up and connect with the community on mymercy.mercyships.org