Deckhand Opportunities

Are you looking for a travelling adventure this year?

Over the course of our sailing season, Bessie Ellen and her crew will be thrilled to welcome you aboard and join us as part of the team for a month of hands-on practical experience and adventure. 

Tall ship Bessie Ellen runs traditional sail charter on the West coast of Scotland and Cornwall. We love that our voyage guest crew have the ability to get really stuck in with  hands on sailing this big gaffer, and our crew are here to make sure they learn as much as they wish in a safe environment. As a trainee deckhand part of your  routine will be assisting the permanent crew achieve these goals as well as carrying out other required daily tasks.

Placements are for young people between the age of 18 and 26 , must enjoy being out-doors, healthy and hard working. Your time with us  may also be recognised as part of your Duke of Edinburgh accreditation. Please ask your assessor for details.

Alongside the deck work and training, part of the crew’s routine is to maintain a clean and working vessel.  These daily jobs range from deck washing and brass polishing to cleaning the heads ( bathrooms) and washing up duties.

Skills you will learn along the way but are not limited to:

  • Knots & splicing
  • Sailmaking & canvas work
  • Safety training
  • Outboard engine maintenance and power craft basic instruction
  • Sail handling and techniques of trim
  • Steering and basic navigation
  • Sea miles for RYA qualifications

How to apply

We ask that you send us an email along with a current C.V. plus the dates you wish to be on board. We will respond with availability and details for joining.

Deckhand application form »


Price is £400 for a month and includes:

  • Full board
  • RYA  Training Logbook
  • Hire of Waterproofs
  • Laundry

What you will need.

  • Insurance to cover working on a sailing boat – the ship will also cover you during your time on board, however, each applicant must make sure they are covered under their own policy.
  • Travel documents  for transport to and from the vessel.
  • Warm clothes and decent boots, either deck boots or hiking boots are adequate.
  • A soft bag for your effects – please note we cannot stow solid cases, or even semi-rigid due to ship’s locker space.
A note from a past trainee

We have traded the warm waters for higher latitudes and we are now heading for Punta Arenas in Chile. Over the last few days, we got roared at by the roaring forties and had an equally stormy welcome in the fifties with up to 58.4 knots of wind. It was a beautiful storm and to my surprise, I quite enjoyed it. Since we set sail in the Netherlands on September 1st, there has been a lot of talk about many things and inspiration for sailing is a reoccurring topic. That’s when I think of you and Pete and Bessie Ellen. I guess I just wanted to let you know that I am grateful for the times I have spent on board. I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now if I hadn’t sailed with you.