Volunteer today. On board From home

We need all kinds of volunteers, not only with medical or maritime knowledge.

Become a Volunteer

Volunteering on board

More than 1,200 volunteers from over 60 countries serve with Mercy Ships each year.

Our ships are like miniature cities with over 400 crew at any given time. There is a bank, a shop, a hairdresser and even a cafeteria on board. We need skilled computer mechanics, electricians, plumbers, cooks and all types of professional workers, both skilled and unskilled.

One thing that is required is to be able to speak English. This is because our team is made up of crew members from over 60 different nations, so the official working language on the ship is English. Maritime regulations stipulate that all our crew members have at least an intermediate level of English.

Volunteering from home

If you don’t speak English, or simply don’t want to travel that far, you can also help directly from your own home.

Maybe you can help us by offering your professional skills directly from your own home with things like: accounting, web programming, graphic design, legal advice, video editing and much more…

You can also help raise awareness or find the resources we need to carry out our work.

For more information please contact us.


Vivien's experience on board.



Our cabins are small, but cozy. Most of our crew members share a cabin and bathroom with several cabin mates, with a bunk bed and a small closet. Each stateroom is equipped with WiFi and air conditioning, with wall space for photos of your loved ones.
Couples and families have their own cabins, and single cabins for our maritime officers.

Dining room

Our Food Services department serves delicious and nutritious meals three times a day in the onboard dining room. There is a ‘ship shop’ and even a Starbucks Café on board. When you feel like having a home-cooked meal, cook whatever you like in the crew’s kitchen. Limited groceries can be purchased at local markets, however.


Each ship is like a small city and includes everything you might need. There is a laundry, a hairdresser, a bank, a post office, a gym, an internet café/WiFi, a library with movies and board games, a swimming pool and even a clinic for the crew’s medical and dental care.


The unique experience of serving with Mercy Ships includes the adventure of discovering new places. Each country we serve has its own culture and beauty. Our crew is encouraged to interact with the people we have come to serve, and even learn new languages! You can explore local markets, attractions and restaurants, or attend a local church.
We will teach you how to move around safely and also give you the opportunity to spend some time with those in need on the ground.


Mercy Ships is able to host volunteers with families for many of our long-term on-board functions. We have an accredited Academy on board.


From kindergarten through high school, Academy students learn everything they would discover in mainland schools, and more. The Academy is internationally accredited and meets the standards of quality education. It is also a place where children can experience the unique aspects of life on board our ships with people from all over the world.


We want our volunteers to grow and thrive while serving on board. That’s why we offer continuing education opportunities as a way to invest in the future of our crew members.


The safety of our crew and patients is something we take very seriously. Our team of experienced security officers is committed to keeping everyone safe and secure.


Moving to a ship on a new continent and working in a completely new environment can be very challenging at first. One way we support our crew is through our chaplain program.
Chaplains are available to anyone who wants to talk about their new experiences with a trusted confidant.

Why a boat?

With 50% of the world’s population living near a coastline, our hospital ships are the best way to reach and treat people in need.

Why Africa?

93% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa does not have access to timely, affordable and safe surgery. Many people die each year for lack of medical care.

For how long can I collaborate?

From two weeks to two years, depending on availability.

Why me?

It takes a wide range of people and skills to run a hospital ship, and our team of volunteers makes it possible. If you want to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others, including your own, we’d love to hear from you.


Fill in the form "Apply for Volunteering".

Waiting time

If the position for which you have applied is not immediately available, we will be in communication during the waiting time.

Application Review

The Mercy Ships team will review the application.

Admission letter

Once the position and your availability align, the team will send you your admission letter and information.

Get on board!

This, of course, is the most exciting step in the process.

Subscription form
The personal data provided in this form will be used by the foundation and its suppliers to process your request, to inform about our current work, to request collaboration and to educate about the situation of people in need. For more information, click on the link at the bottom of the page, “Privacy and Cookie Policy”.

More Information

For more information, here is a page with all the different positions and options for volunteers.

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