Can you help us upgrade our vessels? Donate to the Fleet Investment Fund

None of the work we do with young people would be possible without the enthusiasm, energy and support of our volunteers.

We work with more than 2,500 volunteers from all over the UK, both onshore and at sea, throughout the year.

Our aim is to grow this incredible network to help with everything from fundraising and recruiting to sailing with and mentoring our young trainees.

To find out how you can get involved, please email

We’ve also included more information below on the different ways you can volunteer onshore and at sea.​

Fundraising featured

Hundreds of individuals aged 16-65, dedicate their free time to helping young people.


Average number of hours our volunteers generously donate a year

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The young people are the future, and Tall Ships Youth Trust gives them a good grounding to work with. All charities need volunteers and I can’t think of a better one to take young people forward.

Jane, TSYT Volunteer
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Volunteer Watch Assistants and Watch Leaders

Watch Leaders and Watch Assistants support the Skipper and Mate with everything onboard.

They instruct young people onboard and help to ensure everyone is safe while sailing.

Interested in becoming a volunteer Watch Assistant or Watch Leader?

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Join a voyage on one of our vessels for three nights or more (the longer the better).
  2. Let the Skipper and your Watch Leader know that you’re interested in becoming a member of the Volunteer Crew when you join the vessel.
  3. Then demonstrate to them what you’re capable of onboard!
  4. If you receive a Volunteer Crew recommendation at the end of your voyage, you’ll be notified by our office team and sent a Volunteer Crew application pack. If you don’t get recommended immediately it might be that you just need more time at sea – we want to make sure you are ready.
  5. Once all of the paperwork (application form, DBS (police check) and references) is completed you’ll be able to apply for your first voyage as Volunteer Crew!

Volunteer Youth Mentors

On all our youth voyages we try to have a Youth Mentor onboard as part of our crew.

Their primary responsibility is the wellbeing of all the young people during the voyage.

This can be a very rewarding position as you’re in a unique situation in supporting the Skipper, Mate and Volunteer Crew as they develop during the voyage. To be a Youth Mentor you’ll need the following qualifications and experience:

  • A national or vocational qualification in youth work, teaching, social work or other relevant qualifications in a related field
  • A minimum of two years frontline experience working with young people
  • A current, working knowledge of safeguarding and other relevant legislation

Youth Mentors will need the written recommendation of Kirsty French, Director of Youth Development and Outdoor Learning. You’ll also need to complete a Volunteer Crew application pack including a DBS and reference check. Individuals will only be eligible after completion of our induction training programme, which includes a visit to the vessels.

If you have the appropriate qualifications and experience and are interested in becoming a Youth Mentor, please call Kirsty on 02392 832055.


Volunteer Skipper or Mate

We’re always looking for experienced Skippers and Mates to volunteer for us!

Whether you’re looking to volunteer on our youth voyages, adult or both, sailing on our fleet will be a rewarding experience.

If you hold commercial qualifications that correspond with the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) criteria for the positions of Skipper or Mate, and would like to sail as a volunteer, please call our Head of Operations, John Farndell on 02392 832055. You can also apply via our Careers page using the link below.

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My favourite thing about working with young people is that I get to meet a new group of individuals every week and I’m able to see how sailing can be such a positive thing for them.

May Forgan (18), Volunteer Watch Leader

How you could help

Exhibitions, shows and events
Street collections
Raising awareness
School visits
Recruiting young people
Talks at clubs such as the Rotary, Lions and Freemasons
And much, much more…