Mercy Ships

Has anybody volunteered for Mercy Ships before. They pay $150.00 a month which is about the same as the GOM, but I figured being in Africa I would at least be warmer. I hear the local wages there are about $80.00 a year so after one month on the ship I could live two years on shore.

Do a search on here because I remember someone asked this same question a few months back.

I wasn’t aware that they paid anything.

Mercy ships seems like an altruistic bunch. Although ostensibly a christian outfit, they don’t seem to be pushy about it. They help a lot of people for free in some desolate areas. They’re alright in my book.

Also, one could gain valuable experience and accumulate decent sea time. Volunteer time aboard their vessel has helped advance some mariner’s careers before.

I think you have some misplaced decimal points, tilted pay periods and incorrect info in total. Where did you get your info? When I checked into this group it was the Crewmember that would have to pay THEM to work, and travel, and eat, etc. Maybe things have changed, do call them and visit their website…

It would be a good way to log some unlimited sea time and help the needy while you’re at it…

screw the money!!

unlimited tonnage sea time. “feel good” overseas work. expenses paid. german nurses. sex. booze.

great place for a recent academy grad in my book.

you might want to read the “fine print”…not only do you “volunteer” you pay for the “privilege” as well…a “win win” situation for them!!

as far as booze and broads…this is a religious based organization…would imagine that while some debauchery exists it is severely discouraged??

in my broad experience any time you have a vessel with 20 something year olds onboard of mixed sex & nationalities there will be sex & maybe even some sneaky booze.

I went for a month in 06. One of the best things I’ve ever done. I was Chief Mate and it was a hell of an experience. I did not see any booze or sex but who really knows… It was not out in the open anyway. The religious part is there but I was ok with it. It was not over the top. The quality of the people was great and the young people that volunteered give you some hope for the future. No pro sailors except the officers. They were all very good. My 2 cents.

There’s this outfit here, Friend Ships…

Don’t know much about them. Possibly volunteering with them could be beneficial. If they don’t have a position in Deck or Engineering, one could always participate in the “Special Forces Prayer Team”

I was offered a position as deckhand in Africa last year. I would have loved to go but couldn’t afford it at the time:( ( I think it was around $1800 up front cost).

It looks like they’ve made some changes- the website now references a fund for some mariners- so it looks like you might be able to sail for free.

I’ve never heard of being paid…

From the FAQ page…

  [B]Frequently Asked Questions: Mariner[/B]

             [B]Frequently Asked Questions About Serving in Marine Operations[/B]

[B]Do I need seaman’s papers to serve onboard a Mercy Ships vessel?[/B]

To serve in either the Deck or Engineering departments on board, current certificates of seafarer training are required. Other positions onboard may not require seaman’s papers. All crew members must have a valid medical examination report (within the past two years), verifying they are fit for duty on board ship.
[B]What kind of certificates are required to serve in Deck or Engineering positions?[/B]

This varies with the position. All technical crew should have a current certificate of Basic Safety Training (BST) according to the IMO STCW95 standards. For skilled positions, a valid Certificate of Competency is required, along with a valid maritime medical certificate. Some national certificates are not recognized by the flag state of the ‘Africa Mercy’, Malta. When accepted for service on board, be sure to bring your original maritime certificates with you.
[B]Will my service time on the Mercy Ship count towards a Merchant Marine certificate?[/B]

That depends on your licensing or certifying administration. You will do best to consult with them on any restrictions or limitations they may impose. The fact that our ships spend most of their time in port, as do many ‘stand-by’ vessels, means that some maritime administrations do not accept service time on board our ships, or they accept it at a reduced rate, for example one day’s credit for each three days served.
[B]Will my Navy experience benefit Mercy Ships?[/B]

That depends on what your speciality was, and what training and experience you’ve had. Because we follow Merchant Marine training and certification standards, there is usually not a direct equivalent of your Naval rating or commission for one of our technical positions.
[B]Why does Mercy Ships register its ships in Malta?[/B]

Originally, the attraction of the Christian and maritime history of Malta was a point of interest. In practical business terms, it is much easier to crew the ship with international volunteers. Financially, the registry fees are much lower than they would be in many of the primary maritime nations of the world.
[B]Are Mercy Ships compliant with safety and environmental regulations?[/B]

Malta is signatory to IMO and ILO conventions, including SOLAS, MARPOL, ISM, ISPS, and STCW. Mercy Ships complies with these and other international regulations, as surveyed and audited by member societies of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).
In addition to international regulations, Malta, as a member of the European Union, imposes additional national regulations with which the ship must comply.
[B]I’ve heard that Mercy Ships crew have to ‘pay their own way’; is there any consideration for professional mariners?[/B]

Mercy Ships prefers its volunteer crew to raise or save enough money to pay for their own transportation to and from the ship, their costs of living on board (‘crew fees’ = room and board), their own health insurance, and any personal expenses they may incur. Recognizing that professional mariners do not often have access to traditional missionary fund raising venues, Mercy Ships does provide limited financial assistance for qualified mariners, through its ‘Technical Crew Fund’ program. For more information, speak to your Human Resources representative.
[B]I’m interested in a sea-going career, but I don’t have any prior experience; can Mercy Ships help?[/B]

With a long term commitment (minimum two years), Mercy Ships can provide entry level crew with basic maritime training, including STCW95 Basic Safety Training (US Coast Guard standards), and Watch Rating training, for either Deck or Engineering ratings (Maltese certificate).

They are serious about their Special Forces Prayer Team". If you read further they receive Israeli styled self defense training. So pray or I’ll kick your ass.

checked into mercy ships about a month ago, it is volunteer work. Your travel to and from and any compensation you receive while onboard is through churches. Some churches use money from members contributions to pay missionaries. While working on a mercy ship may not qualify you as a missionary. The work you would be doing would qualify as…I suggest if your interested in sailing on a mercy ship go to thier website, make a phone call, and put the wheels in motion.

I have a buddy who’s been volunteering with them on and off since the 90’s, when he’s not sailing commercially. One problem he had was sea time. Apparently, the Coast Guard got on to them because they almost never sail. They sail a few days, then sit in port for a month. So he said he was only getting sea time while they were underway. Again I’m getting this second hand. But otherwise, he loves it.

it sounds like a prepo vessel; how much seatime do those mariners get credit for? Anyone know?

i was told ounce or twice 2nd or 3rd hand prepo ships get full sea service credit. I have also been told when your at port the uscg cuts your sea service. What I was told, was if there is a line between your vessel and the dock your not underway. But a vessel could be anchored and be considered underay not making way, and literaly your the same as far as day to day duties of the crew. So I don’t really understand the logic, as your still having to stand watches and maintain the vessel.

I can see your discussion and I thank you all for your interest with Mercy Ships! My name is Tracey and I am the Technical Staffing and Recruitment Manager with Mercy Ships. I would be happy to help with any questions you may have concerning our organization and serving as a Mariner on board. We are a global, non-profit organization who Brings Hope and Healing to the World’s forgotten poor and plan to be in Togo, West Africa beginning in February. Certainly check out our website at and please let me know if I can help in any way!

That’s as clear as mud, and BTW an anchored vessel is not underway.

An anchored vessel, under way not making way?? Please elaborate a little on your useful post.

sorry…but if you are a licensed mariner…that comment is just plain scary??


But a vessel could be anchored and be considered underay not making way, and literaly your the same as far as day to day duties of the crew. :)So I don’t really understand the logic, as your still having to stand watches and maintain the vessel.:D[/quote]
If your going to quote, and hold me to it at least quote everything ! Yes you are right it is covered in the rules of the road, rule #3.
Since I did not make up “under way not making way”, I was wondering where that phrase came from??
Also I have heard that MSC/Prepo vessel mariners’ get full sea service credit even when thier vessels are made fast to shore or at anchor. Granted that info is not 1st hand, so if any one has the 1st hand…