How to volunteer

Mercy Ships is a hospital ship charity serving the most vulnerable in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our ships’ crews are made up of huge-hearted volunteers in medical, maritime and general roles. 


The Africa Mercy and Global Mercy need huge-hearted people willing to roll up their sleeves and help onboard where they can. Can you cook? Can you wash dishes or make salads? Can you clean windows and swab the decks? Can you help make the Mercy Ship a home? These are significant roles on board because, without extraordinary people like you to fill them, we can’t provide essential surgery for Africa’s most vulnerable people.

To help Kiwis serve in many vital roles, a special assistance fund is in place to help with volunteering costs and NZ quarantine costs upon their return home after volunteering for 2 months or longer. Assistance for booking MIQ after service onboard is also available.

Find the right fit for youmaritime, medical and general volunteer roles with Mercy Ships


Some people volunteer with Mercy Ships because they want to invest their skills and experience, their time and talents providing essential surgery for people who would otherwise have no chance of accessing the healthcare they need. For others, it’s important that Mercy Ships follows the example Jesus. They want to put feet to their faith; bringing hope and healing to the world’s most vulnerable, and helping build the medical capacity of developing nations.

Together we are using our passion and abilities to make a life-transforming difference for the world’s under-served poor – regardless of their ethnicity, religion or gender.

Our crew come from over 60 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.

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.


Start by taking a look at all the volunteer job opportunities onboard for your training and availability. Some critical roles are available now, and the full range of volunteer opportunities for service. Now’s the time to check out the possibilities for yourself.

Bear in mind that when you have completed the application process a physical evaluation and immunisations are required for all crew – who must be aged between 18 and 69 years old at the time of service.

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 get an idea of what life is like onboard, and connect with others who are volunteering. You can also drop us a line with any specific questions, we’d love to hear from you.

If you want to connect with someone about volunteering, Sharon Walls, who has served onboard for a number of years, is the Mercy Ships NZ volunteer coordinator. Please contact her for more information – she would love to hear from you and to answer even the curliest of questions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]