It’s great to have you on board! Now that you are part of the Spirit whanau you might have some more questions about next steps and what you need to know about being a volunteer on the Spirit.  
We have some FAQs below and if there is anything that isn’t answered here, please just contact the team at volunteer@soat.org.nz  

  • Q:  How will I get chosen to come a voyage? 
    A:  Let us know what voyages you are interested in helping on by completing the Voyage Registration form which has been emailed to you. This DOESN’T guarantee you a spot, it simply lets us know who is available and interested in what voyages.  We then use his information to roster people onto a trip and will let you know accordingly if you have or haven’t been rostered on.

  • Q:  How many volunteers are on a voyage? 
    A:  On a 10 day voyage we have 4 volunteer Watch Assistants and 2 Leading Hands. Occasionally we can have an extra Watch Assistant on board, especially when we have newer volunteers.  On a 5 Day Trophy trip we generally only need 2 Watch Assistants and 2 Leading Hands. Volunteer numbers on other voyages vary depending on the trip, for example on a day sail we often have more than 10 volunteers.

  • Q: How many times can I volunteer? 
    A: This can totally depend on your availability. Some volunteers sail once or maybe twice a year, others come on more sailings.  We just work hard to ensure that everyone gets an opportunity. We always have higher demand and availability during summer and holiday periods, however, winter voyages are often much more rewarding 😊

  • Q: Will I sail with the same people? 
    A: We have 2 permanent crews who work in 10 day shifts.  They are made up of a Master, First Mate, Second Mate, Third Mate, Cook, Engineer and Youth Development Mate. Apart from relief crew filling in for holidays and sickness, the permanent crew don’t change.  Volunteers will be different on every voyage so you get to meet and spend time with lots of new and interesting people. 

  • Q:  How do I get to the ship? 
    A: The ship is located at Princess Wharf in the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland and the majority of our sailings depart and return there.  You are usually required to be at the ship at 11am on departure day.  If you need a flight, bus or ferry to get to Auckland we will cover the cost of that and will arrange that transport for you. Please note there is no parking at the wharf so if driving yourself you will need to make arrangements to leave your car somewhere else. If the voyage is outside of Auckland, you can refer to our other port locations here.

  • Q:  Where will I sleep? 
    A: Leading Hands have a bunk in the accommodation with the young participants (referred to as trainees) and access their shared bathroom facilities.  Watch Assistants have a cabin that they share with one other Watch Assistant which has a small basin, power points and a small amount of storage. 

  • Q:  What gear do I need to bring? 
    A: Please see the attached gear list information for details on what to bring.  However key points are as follows: 

    • Leading Hands need to bring their own sleeping bag / pillow as they sleep in the accommodation with the trainees. 

    • Linen is provided for Watch Assistants  

    • Outdoor wet weather gear is provided for Watch Assistants and Leading Hands. 

    • A Spirit T shirt will be provided to you on your first sailing, which you can keep for future use. This is to be worn on the first and last day (departure and return to port). 

    Download the Crew gear list below:

  • Crew Gear List

  • Q: Do I / can I bring my own food? 
    A: No, with awesome cooks on board, we promise we will feed you very well and you will not go hungry. We can accommodate some dietary requirements so please discuss those with us prior to your voyage. As, unfortunately due to the size of the galley onboard the ship, we cannot cater for people with coeliac disease or those who are likely to have an anaphylactic reaction eg. Food, Stings, Medicines.

  • Q: Can I use my phone / computer? 
    A: All the young people hand in their devices for the duration of the voyage, creating an awesome tech free space!  However, we appreciate that you have a life outside the ship that you may need to stay in touch with.   Mobile phones are accepted but we ask you to use them discreetly (not in front of the trainees). We don’t recommend computers and we hope that you can generally switch off from work and enjoy as much of a digital detox as possible. Data / mobile coverage can also be intermittent, however the ship is always able to get hold of the shore team if necessary. 

  • Q: Do I need to read / prepare anything beforehand? 
    A: We ask all volunteers to familiarise themselves with our Pre-Sailing Standing Orders document (SOOPS 1) which will be sent to you prior to the voyage.  This has some of the basic operational information you need to understand before coming on board. 
    We also have a manual for Watch Assistants that covers some general information about Spirit, the ship and has space for you to journal your experience.  You will be given a copy when you come on board. 
    If the ship is unfamiliar to you, you can have a “virtual” look around here.  There will be a full Health and Safety briefing once you are onboard. 
    We know there is a lot to absorb, especially for your first trip and hopefully we have covered off all that you might need to know.  If you do have any questions though please just let us know by emailing the team at volunteer@soat.org.nz