Second mate Phoebe and first mate John

Sea staff

Sea staff background

OYT South has an immense variety of people sailing as volunteer sea staff. Some are students, some are retired. Some are fairly new to sailing; others have owned their own boats for years.

We have policemen and teachers, journalists and lawyers, engineers, youth workers and unemployed people. The common factors are that our sea staff love sailing, are enthusiastic about working with young people from a wide range of backgrounds, and are prepared to put in every effort to ensure that each voyage is a success.

Some people sail for just one voyage a year; others sail regularly. The time commitment is entirely up to each individual, though the more senior mates are expected to be familiar with the boat and with OYT South routines, so that some very experienced sailors may take a junior role on board because they can only very infrequently sail in Prolific.

Whilst the more senior mates and skippers are obviously skilled and experienced sailors, the role of the third mate (who is only expected to be able to manage a watch under supervision) enables us to involve relatively inexperienced sailors who have other qualities which make them valuable team members. This can include people with exceptional teaching skills or a notable empathy with young people and those with experience in dealing with crew members with physical, learning or behavioural difficulties, or emotional problems.

Many of our sea staff – at all levels – started sailing with us as crew members, and went on to become bosuns or watchleaders.

Bosuns must be aged over 16, mates over 18 and skippers over 21. All adults will need to have a check with the Disclosure & Barring Service (which replaces the CRB - Criminal Records Bureau) to ensure they are suitable for working with young people.

For safeguarding reasons, we need a good mix of male and female sea staff, as we do not sail with all-male staff when there are any girls on board, nor with all-female staff when there are boys in the crew.

See here for information on joining our volunteer sea staff.

Click here to see some of our current volunteer sea staff.







“I made some really good friends and we all sailed together as a true team.” Ben, 18