Train To Be Crew

Fancy yourself as a crew member? The Trust is always looking for new members who are interested in becoming members of the crew. If you sail with us and you keep seeing the same Skipper, Mate or Third-hand each time it is because the ‘pool of talent’ we can draw upon is only large enough to usually allow us to crew one barge let alone two, hence we sometimes have to hire crew from outside the trust to help sail the barges.

The Skippers and mates who sail for the Trust are suitably qualified and give up their time at weekends and holidays from work, to do so. They are paid expenses but otherwise give their time free of charge, often using their holiday entitlement from ‘proper’ paid jobs to crew on weekday charters.

If you want to become a crew member, then you must be able to make the commitment needed. Once you have said you will do a duty, it’s crucial that you do this, there are twelve people who would be left without a weekend sail if you are not able to do your turn.

When training you will need to sail at least once a month during the season (May-October) or you will not be able to learn sufficient and will forget quickly what training has been provided. As a Mate you need to sail regularly just to keep your hand in. The training can take a number of years to complete. In the winter months you will be expected to help out on the winter maintenance of the barges so that you can learn about the rigging and other non-sailing aspects of the sailing barge.

The Trust provides the opportunity for its members and the public to learn how to sail a barge and to participate in practical work which could lead to qualification as a Mate or Skipper. The training for Third Hand and mate is carried out in line with AOB/SBA syllabus.

The progression is to start training as a Third Hand, before becoming a Mate and ultimately perhaps, following an examination board, become a Skipper.

Some of the requirements

  • Be willing to work away from home for up to 5 nights at a time

  • Be able to take holiday from work to do your training

  • Be committed to the Trust, by both helping at working parties and by sailing with us

  • You will need to have sailed with a cross section of Skippers and Mates before you can apply to be a Third Hand

  • Be in good physical condition

  • Be willing to share knowledge with others and pass on your skills

  • Be a good team player

  • Be proactive

  • Be able to lead and motivate others

  • Be able to interact with our passengers and provide exceptional customer service

If you are able to meet these requirements, then why not speak to us about becoming a Third hand, mate and later a Skipper. Contact Mick Nolan for more information at