Duet crew - sailing work

Sailing Work: Paid vs. Unpaid

Paid & unpaid sailing work

We recently posted a blog post about our latest success story. A Tall Ship came to us needing last-minute delivery crew, so we helped them find a passionate and experienced sailor available at just the right time. Posting sailing work opportunities and matching jobs with strong candidates is exactly what we do at SaltyJobs.

However, posting this role raised questions for us not only in the SaltyJobs office, but from our Facebook audience as well.

This was an unpaid role, advertised as a working passage. Tall ships usually sell berths on passages like this, so you don’t have to pay for your berth. But, you’re not paid either, and arrangements regarding travel expenses and food contributions can also vary between delivery trips.

However, this isn’t a charter holiday – it’s a delivery trip, which can be the hardest type of sailing, often with a fixed deadline to move a boat from A to B, weather somewhat regardless! So it’s definitely work. Sailing work. On that basis, should all delivery crew be paid, regardless?


Is it a job if there is no pay?

Queen Galadriel - sailing workIt’s a good question, and something that we had already asked ourselves. If there is no pay, is it still a job? Should we post these opportunities on SaltyJobs? Do we need to be stronger in our support for paid sailing work? We wanted to give this question a proper answer, so we’ve dedicated this separate blog post to it.

We want to make it clear our focus is on paid jobs within the marine industry.

However, we aim to be more than just a jobs board. Representing a true insight into working in the marine industry, we want to give our community an honest range of opportunities across all areas of the industry.

Additionally, we particularly want to support our friends who work around traditional boats, often without a lot of money to offer but the potential to teach traditional skills in return. An opportunity like this may be helpful to somebody needing this kind of experience to get the skills and qualifications leading to paid work. And, there is always going to be a place in the market for delivery trips helping people build up sea miles.

Paid and unpaid: a fine line

There is a fine line between paying to go sailing, and being paid to go sailing (and volunteering). We think it’s OK to be somewhere in the middle, sailing for free in order to build up experience and sea miles. As soon as you have reasonable experience, skills and qualifications, it is absolutely right to be paid for sailing work.

There will always be areas of the industry you may still find it hard to get paid in this situation (for example, delivery trips like this). But there are others which will value your experience (e.g. with STCW qualifications, you can be paid tall ship crew). It’s about making the most of the unpaid opportunities to get you to the paid sailing work you want.

Our commitment

SaltyJobs will always make clear the financial arrangements around any job or opportunity we post. Working with only the best marine employers, we will post the best and most fairly compensated roles. We will work with employers to make sure salaries are in line with the rest of the industry. If any unpaid jobs are posted, we’ll make sure they represent a valuable experience to somebody in our community.

We hope this answers your question and gives you an insight into what we’re aiming for. We’re happy to continue the conversation further around it – comment here or on our Facebook page.

Your comments: join the conversation

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49 thoughts on “Sailing Work: Paid vs. Unpaid

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