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Meet James and Martin – Celebrating Volunteer Week 2024

By Ellie Crowson - June 7th, 2024 | Posted in News No comments

3-9 June marks Volunteer Week, and we are taking this time to celebrate the incredible contributions our volunteers make to young people and communities across the UK.

Volunteers are pivotal in our mission to change young lives at sea. Offshore volunteers alone contribute a staggering 42,000 hours voyaging each year.

We caught up with some of our amazing volunteers and will be sharing their stories throughout the week.

Martin and James, father and son, share a love for sailing and a commitment to volunteering. James discovered his passion for sailing through his local youth group and now volunteers as a Watch Leader with TSYT. Inspired by the positive impact on his son, Martin decided to support the charity by volunteering as well.

How did you start your volunteer journey with us?


“My TSYT journey began after being offered the opportunity to sail onboard the Challengers by my local youth group, The Hive Youth Zone. The opportunity instantly gave me the love for sailing and the drive to come back as a volunteer Watch Leader, later progressing to become a volunteer Mate.”


Having supported my son James in joining TSYT, witnessing the opportunities that it provided young people, and having a passion for sailing, I wanted to do what I could to support the great work which TSYT does. As a former scout leader, the activities with TSYT seemed like a great ‘fit’.

Why do you volunteer with TSYT?


“Volunteering with TSYT is one of the most enjoyable experiences. Providing new and exciting experiences to other young people from all walks of life, unlocking new confidence and seeing them build leadership skills in as little as a week is an amazing experience to be a part of. 

“Additionally, as a sailor, I would not be true to myself if I didn’t acknowledge the yachts and other sailing staff that facilitate all the youth work. As a volunteer, these yachts keep bringing me back due to the opportunities that they unlock. Sailing onboard such heavy and complex yachts requires highly trained sailing staff who have and continue to teach me new skills.” 


“I’m passionate about sailing and want to give young people the opportunity to experience sailing. I can see the emotional and developmental journey that young people coming on board inevitably go through, and love to hear from those who have returned and progressed through sailing competencies and ultimately become volunteers themselves. I enjoy being part of the TSYT family and meeting a diverse group of interesting people.”

What’s your most memorable experience?


“My most memorable experience is racing onboard Challenger 4 for the Rolex Fastnet Race 2023. Coming together from all over the UK to form a team of 16 pushed us all to find new limits and improve our sailing knowledge and experience over the course of the race.

This experience was not something that I would have been able to gain without the support of TSYT and the TSYT volunteers fundraising for the event.”

fastnet youth training and selection voyage crew 001


“My most memorable experience was a voyage in 2023 – Plymouth to Liverpool – with a group of TSYT Watch Leaders/Trainee Watch Leaders with Sue Geary as Skipper. Visiting the beautiful Falmouth on route, being joined by dolphins at sunset while nearing Lands’ End, overcoming the challenge of a fouled propeller in St. Ives before making for Holyhead, and then onwards to my home port of Liverpool to be joined by a Mersey Pilot to arrive at The Albert Dock to a welcome from the crowds revelling at Eurovision proudly hosted on behalf of Ukraine.

This experience was not something that I would have been able to gain without the support of TSYT.”

How has volunteering with TSYT supported you and your career?


“Volunteering for TSYT for a number of years has undoubtedly helped to improve my team leadership skills as well as developing an ability to work under pressure, adapting to changing events quickly. This is particularly important to reach my career ambitions, being noted by my current employer as a skill that many others at my age and experience usually lack.

“From a sailing perspective, TSYT enabled me to get sailing experience enabling me to progress my sailing qualifications to Yachtmaster Offshore. This not only allows me to progress within TSYT but also hold an internationally recognised qualification.

“Therefore, TSYT has undoubtedly increased my employability and is recognised by my employer in providing me with additional volunteer leave, something I value greatly and would encourage all other employers to offer.”


“Volunteering for TSYT has helped me develop new skills and perspectives. Volunteering also supports the social value and volunteering objectives of my employer, aimed at enhancing the lives of the communities around us. Volunteering with TSYT is currently supporting my objective to obtain my Yachtmaster Offshore qualification, hopefully allowing me to progress from Watch Leader to Mate.”

James is finishing his exams and plans to be back volunteering later this year.

Interested in becoming a volunteer for TSYT? Find out more…

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