How to volunteer

What to do next?

Mercy Ships has opportunities for volunteers on board and at home. Whatever your level of experience and availability there is likely to be something for you. As a hospital ship medics are needed, but it takes a range of people and skills to keep the ship afloat as we provide essential surgery for Africa’s poor. Volunteers include receptionists, engineers, chefs, accountants, teachers, officers, housekeepers and more. A physical evaluation and immunisations are required for all crew, who must be at least 18 at the time of service. Every journey begins with the next step, so why not find out more about how you can join the crew here.

Long term positions are available for 1-5 years in key roles including management and leadership across the maritime, medical and operational departments. Some of these positions have family cabins allocated to the role, and crew children attend the onboard school.

Short term opportunities vary in duration from 2 weeks to 10 months, depending on the role requirements.

We are a faith-based not-for-profit, and the Mercy Ships crew are volunteers. All applicants fundraise or self-fund to cover crew fees, insurance and transportation to and from the ship. Mercy Ships can help you to develop your budget and fundraising support.

To help you along the way to volunteering, Mercy Ships hosts MyMercy, an interactive site for prospective or in-process volunteers including FAQ, forums and useful advice for new crew. You can connect with others and find loads of information.

Why not delve in and check out the possibilities!


Mercy Ships follows the 2000-year-old model of Jesus, bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor. Shorter-term volunteers (those on board for less than 1 year) come to work, learn, and grow alongside the long-term volunteers, the core of life on a Mercy Ship.

Our crew come from over 40 nations and all walks of life. Our diversity is one of our most engaging attributes, and all who serve at Mercy Ships onboard and in locations worldwide are expected to respect Mercy Ships Core Values in their service.


In New Zealand, we facilitate volunteers for work onboard, but also have need of other helpers locally including:

  • Digital media projects
  • Speakers Network Coordinators

Please contact us for more information – we’d love to hear from you and to answer even the curliest of questions.