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How do you find a boat to crew?

You may find a boat to crew over lunch!
Lunch afloat!

How do you find a boat to crew? It is fairly easy when you know how. Let’s go through the ways and means of finding a boat to crew, both traditionally and through Onboard Space.

The ‘idiot on the dock’

I was the idiot on the dock who knew boats well enough when a top US national magazine needed someone to cover the Paralympics in 2012. Through a smaller, regional magazine I had got myself on the two person press boat and spent a week getting frozen and soaked watching the Team USA selection event with the boat driver – the sailing magazine’s Olympics journalist. I talked the talk, walked the walk and he liked me. That’s how I got my break as a sailing journalist all those years ago…

When you want to find a boat to crew your experience is going to be similar. You meet a skipper, go sailing with them on a shorter passage and once they are comfortable you won’t throw them over the side on a dark stormy night, as well as being fun to be around (!) they might invite you to do a longer passage. 

How do you meet that skipper? If you’re an introverted, dreamy type, you’re not going to like this bit – you get down to a marina, talk your way through the security gates, and talk to people on their boats. That takes balls the size of a donkey’s and extraversion – not something everyone can do. 

Find a boat to crew at a marina / sailing club

Marinas are communities and there are community noticeboards, both online and at the dock (generally near the bar). You can put an ad up on a postcard with your telephone number and see what happens. Soon enough you’ll get a call and then will have to meet at somewhere safe and neutral to make sure the skipper can at least hide their urge to throw someone over the side on a dark night at sea. From there, go sailing…

If you want to find a boat to crew at a sailing club, many sailing clubs demand some sort of membership fee. This protects you and the skipper to some extent as they will interview you and have interviewed the skipper before charging an annual fee of €€€ only for you to put a postcard up as you might at the marina. It could be safer but could be a lot more expensive too!

Onboard Space?

How about a new way to find a boat to crew that through feedback, ensures that the dirty old men and Hannibal Lecters among crew and skippers alike are weeded out? Onboard Space is a new community of crew and skippers who come together and rate one another so the nice guys and gals can get the best sailing trips. 

Onboard Space is a great way to find a boat to crew as you buy a set of trips in advance (or just one for €5 a piece) and respond to a skipper’s ad on the site. If the skipper and crew like each others’ CVs and profiles (and ratings!) then you pay one credit each and we provide your contact details to one another. You hook up and go sailing. 

As an introductory offer your first three meetings are absolutely free. Not a bad way to start summer 2019’s sailing season!