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How can I join the ship?

Applicants must be 18 years or older and in full agreement with the beliefs and values of the organisation. If you would like to apply, you can find out more here.

Will I get paid?

Every person serving on our ships is a volunteer.

Can I just come and travel the world?

While the ships are classed as passenger ships, there's no room for anyone seeking a holiday cruise. The crewmembers on our ships are serving as volunteers, usually for a two-year term of service. While life and work on board are intensive and by no means a holiday, the whole experience will prove to be highly rewarding and life-changing. Find out more about joining.

Can I volunteer if I have a disability?

We believe every follower of Jesus has been shaped for God’s purposes and we welcome people with a variety of capabilities to “come as they are” and join us on the journey.
However, we recognise that living and working on a ship is physically demanding. There are many stairs between decks and narrow corridors to navigate. Manual chores are part of the duties of all volunteers on a working ship. In addition, we only have essential medical facilities available on board and many of the ports we visit have limited health care facilities as well.

We are happy to discuss your needs with you. If you discover that our Ships would not be a suitable environment for you, there are other opportunities to serve with OM for you to explore and your local OM office would love to talk with you more!

What is the application process?

Depending on what country you come from this can vary. After making an enquiry your local OM office will contact you to discuss your application further.

Alongside an informal interview, you may also be required to pass a basic health exam and provide other paperwork, such as your countries version of a Children and Vulnerable Peoples Protection Certificate.

Your local OM office may also invite you to participate in some preparation training to ensure you have the best experience onboard.

Can I bring my family on board?

Logos Hope has an on board school and family cabins. This means families with children are able to be part of the crew. Spaces for family are quite limited and often reserved for those coming with specific marine or professional skills. Being much smaller than her sister ship, Doulos Hope unfortunately is unable to accommodate families.

Can we come as a couple?

Yes. There are some couple cabins on board both ships.

What training will I receive?

Our ships make training and development a priority for each member of our crew. Each volunteer coming on board for 1-2 years in February and September will receive pre-ship and safety training. You will also receive specific training depending on which department you are allocated. Outside of that, we offer a huge range of personal development options — from cultural training to leadership development.

Do you have leadership development?

Yes. We have multiple leadership development options depending on your experience, capacity and future goals. Many of our alumni have gone on to be community and organisation leaders across the world.

Can I choose which ship to join?

At the time of application, you will be able to indicate your preference of ship to join. We will do our best to accommodate your preference, but we also take into account the needs of each vessel, plus your needs as an applicant and where we believe you will thrive most.

I don't have the funds to join? What can I do?

All of our volunteers need to raise funds to be part of our crew. This can be daunting for many individuals but 1000s of crewmembers have overcome this barrier. Do speak to your local OM office and explore your options - many offer training and support on how to approach this.

What are the benefits of doing the 1-2 year programme?

We believe pursuing a two-year commitment will maximise your personal growth and experience on board. Here’s why:

Community living:
With so many people from different countries, life on board could be compared to one big multicultural party, but actually, this experience brings with it both rewards and challenges. You may not find yourself having as much personal space as you’re used to, but you do have the opportunity to develop deep lasting friendships and learn a lot about the world from those around you.

On-the-job training:
Your time on board is a great opportunity to find out and develop your skills, giftings and passions in life. As well as several weeks of pre-ship training, preparing you for the next years, and teaching important ship safety procedures, you will continuously receive on-the-job training - whether in your work department, outreach skills, leadership development or more.

Hard work:
You will work for eight hours a day, five days a week, in one of the ship departments, such as the galley, cleaning team, deck, engine room or bookfair. Although you can state your work preference, you must be flexible and willing to serve wherever you are needed. After several months there may be opportunities to pursue other jobs or take on leadership responsibilities. While work on board is demanding, each department aims to create a fun environment which fosters your individual growth.

Sharing knowledge, help and hope:
Each week, you will spend one day interacting with local port communities, whether on board or as part of the many teams visiting hospitals, prisons, schools and many more locations on shore. This allows you to experience first-hand the lives and situations of people all around the world, and to share your own stories with them.

Opportunities to progress into leadership:
It is often in the second year that those on board receive greater opportunities and responsibility in terms of work departments, position, development, or training in various areas. Even if you’re happy to remain in the same role for two years, you will almost certainly become a mentor to new crew members due to the experience you’ll already have gained during your first year.

Spiritual growth:
On board, you will have a unique opportunity to develop and deepen your relationship with God. The ships provide many resources to enable you to do this - community activities and study groups as well as through books - with the aim of helping the individual take responsibility for their own growth in their faith. Your time with the ships becomes what you make of it!

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What are the benefits of STEP On Board?

Our Short Term Exposure Programme (STEP) On Board is a great starting point for many of our volunteers. Usually lasting three months, you'll be able to get a taste of life on board. You’ll join a work department and experience all of the benefits of the 1–2-year programme that take place during your commitment. However, be warned, many of our STEP volunteers extend to a full year or even longer! Please note: Applicants must be ages 18-40 and this opportunity is only available for singles.

Search for upcoming options to join.

Evenings and weekends are times off for participants, but there are often invitations from team members or others in the community for fellowship, meals, and activities.

What are the benefits of STEP On Shore?

If you’re not sure about life on the sea, you can keep your feet dry volunteering at our Literature Centre in Florence, South Carolina, USA. This programme is both enriching and challenging. With the primary focus of preparing literature containers and fulfilling orders in our online bookstore, participants work with the local team Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm. You’ll also have the opportunity to take part in the local team life which includes devotions, prayer times and other team events. During your time off you’ll have the opportunity to visit historic Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Charlotte.

This option is also especially beneficial for improving English as your second language, which is often a requirement before joining our ships or many other OM programmes. 


Search for upcoming options to join.


Evenings and weekends are times off for participants, but there are often invitations from team members or others in the community for fellowship, meals, and activities.

Can I apply as a professional for a specific role?

Yes, volunteers with professional skills are always welcome to apply. You will still be a volunteer but preassigned to a specific role before joining the ship that needs you. This means you’ll be required to fulfil the same volunteer requirements such as raising financial support as with the rest of the crew.  The only difference is we will ask you to demonstrate your relevant education or experience for the role. 

Explore our opportunities page to find your place.


Do I have to commit to a 2 year programme?

No. Our Short Term Exposure Programme (STEP) is a great starting point for many of our volunteers. Usually lasting three months, you'll be able to get a taste of life on board. Many of our STEP volunteers extend to a full year or even longer!

We strongly encourage a 2 year commitment as this will maximise your own growth and experience on board. However, it is also possibly to apply for one year. 

Find out more about options to join

How can I use my skills and experience?

We are always in need of volunteers with training and experience - especially those with marine and technical backgrounds. However, you may have transferable skills that can be used in unexpected ways. Speak to your local OM office and see what vacancies might be available (not all get advertised on the website) either on board or with one of OM's other non-ship related ministries around the world.

Find out more about joining

I want to do something with my summer or gap year.

Then you've come to the right place! Depending on which hemisphere you live, it's likely our STEP programme will have dates that match your summer break. Similarly, you can come on board from between 3-months to one year - making it an ideal option for gap years.

Find out more about joining

Do you accept university placements?

Yes. Depending on your area of study it is possible to accommodate vocational placements. This doesn't have to be in a technical or marine role, but could include other areas of study. You will need to work with your local OM office to see if our programmes meet your course credit requirements.

Find out more about joining.

About the ships

When can one of your ships come to my country?

Organising a ship visit is a complex task and depends on a variety of factors including invitations from authorities, expected weather conditions, and whether or not there are ports in the region that can welcome one of our ships at that particular time. For these reasons, it's not always possible to accept every invitation to visit.

Who are all the people serving on board?

Our ships typically have volunteers from around 60 different countries serving on board. Most of the crew are young people who have chosen to commit one or two years to serving on board. It's an experience they'll never forget as they learn to live and work together and serve the communities in each port they visit. In addition, our ships have a full complement of qualified crew, as required by international maritime regulations.

What does a working week look like on board?

On average each crewmember will work 40 hours per week in their assigned department. They also have one ministry day and one day off.

How are you funded?

About one-third of the funding comes from the sale of books and non-book items (such as souvenirs) in the onboard bookfair. Another third comes from the financial support of personnel volunteering with us, provided by friends, family and other supporters. The rest comes from gifts and donations given by individuals, trusts, foundations and community groups. OM is not a government or corporate-funded enterprise. Local corporate sponsorship in the ports of call can help to reduce port and publicity expenses.

What do you do with the money you receive on board?

OM is a non-profit organisation. Income received through donations or sales on board is used to cover the cost of port visits, vessel expenses, personnel needs and administration.

How do you keep your ships in such good repair?

The experience and dedication of the ships' crewmembers, who often work long hours, helps to keep our vessels ship-shape. Our ships also undergo dry-docking and annual maintenance to ensure that the fabric of each vessel is maintained to the highest standard.

Who owns and operates the ships?

The ships are operated by GBA Ships e.V. (Good Books for All) – a registered charity in Germany.

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