Voluntary Maritime Training

Are you looking for something different and want to know more about seafaring?

There are a number of voluntary organisations in Ireland which can provide unique insights into the vast range of opportunities within maritime careers:


Ages 17+

Naval Service Reserve: http://www.military.ie/reserve/organisation/naval-service-reserve

The Naval Service Reserve (NSR) trains men and women to supplement and aid the Naval Service. Naval reservists carry out paid annual training on board Naval Service ships, which are on operational patrols in Irish territorial water or are tasked with foreign visits. Naval Reservists have travelled on Naval Service Ships from New York to St. Petersburg and several ports in between. Naval reservists are trained in many aspects of nautical and military training. Training includes motorboat handling, sail training, navigation, marine communications, weapons training, fire fighting and sea survival. Other functions of the NSR, just to name 2, include ceremonial duties and carrying out liaison duties with visiting foreign naval ships.


Following recruit training and promotion to Ordinary Seaman (OS) you will be eligible to go to sea on a Naval Service patrol vessel. Patrols are typically 2 or 3 weeks in duration. You will be paid for this training and also receive a sea going allowance. Further nautical training continues at local level so that you can become the coxswain (skipper) of BP 18 sailing boats, Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBS), Motor Training Launches (MTL) and Sail Training Yachts (STY).   You can currently avail of up to 6 weeks paid training per year.

How to Join:


Membership of the NSR is on a voluntary basis. Training takes place on local parade nights, weekends or during paid annual training (usually 2 weeks during the summer). The NSR is open to all men and women who are not less than 17 years of age and not older than 35 years. Applicants must be not less than 5' 2" in height. Units are located in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Limerick. 


Contact 021 4864700 or email nsrcadre@eircom.net for more details.


RNLI:  http://www.rnli.org.uk/rnli_near_you/ireland

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. They provide a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service around the coasts of the UK and RoI. The RNLI also works to promote sea and beach safety.

The RNLI provides first class training and equipment, guidance and support. For you it’s an opportunity to achieve and to save lives and a chance to be part of our world class rescue service. We can offer you one of the most exciting and fulfilling voluntary jobs available.

To become a lifeboat crew member, you need to:

  • be over 17 (with the permission of your parents) or over 18 years old 

  • be under 45 years old (inshore lifeboat) or 55 (all weather lifeboat) 

  • pass a medical and eyesight test 

  • be physically fit 

  • live and/or work close to a lifeboat station 

  • pass a probationary period that usually lasts for one year 

  • be a team player and be accepted by the rest of the crew 

  • enjoy hard physical work

Crew members also need good personal skills. This means you need to:

  • get on well with other people

  • communicate easily - that means talking and listening!

  • obey orders when required to

Contact the station directly by phone or by going down to the station. Each individual lifeboat station deals with its own recruitment. 


Irish Coast Guard Volunteers- http://www.transport.ie/marine/IRCG/VolResTeams/index.asp?lang=ENG&loc=2112

The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) is a nationwide emergency organisation and is a division of the Department of Transport.

The purpose of the IRCG is to establish, promote and enforce safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

Voluntary Rescue Teams: All Units are operated totally by local crews who give freely of their valuable time and effort to the Coast Guard, local community and those in peril on the sea cliffs and coasts of Ireland. Training is provided for the volunteers, who are on-call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Coast Guard Volunteer services are constantly enrolling new members to their local Coast Guard Search and Rescue Units. You must generally live within 10 minutes of the Station House.

Forms can be downloaded from the website and sent to admin@irishcoastguard.ie

Secondary Schools

Sea Scouts http://www.seascout.org/ships/international/Ireland/index.html

Sea Scouting has existed in Ireland since 1912. Currently, all Sea Scout Groups in Ireland are members of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) through Scouting Ireland. Sea Scouting provides Scout training with and through water-borne activities.

From an activity perspective the scouts have Adventure Skills badges. There are 9 skills, Sailing, Rowing, Paddling, Emergencies, Camping, Pioneering, Backwoods, Hillwalking and Air with 9 levels within each of these skills. Other skills can be pursued with Special Purpose Awards which allow the Sea Scout to incorporate activities like snorkeling, power-boating and pretty much any activity that the individual scout wishes to follow.


Further to these skills there is a Nautical Training Scheme which allows for the maritime ethos essential to a progressive nautical symbolic framework to be successfully implemented. This training scheme is open to all members of Scouting Ireland wishing to further their maritime knowledge. The badges are progressive and lay out the steps that the young person will take on their journey through the nautical symbolic framework.


Sail Training Vessels:

The Sail Training International Bursary Scheme being piloted in 2011 is designed to provide funding to support the participation of young people in The Tall Ships Races 2011 and the Culture Capital Tall Ships Regatta 2011. The funding will be administered by member national organisations with a host port for these events in their country.


The Lord Nelson Tall Ship is still looking for enthusiastic participants to join the EU Exchange programme The Lord Nelson is designed in a way that people with different disabilities can join an adventure on a Tall Ship.


So who can join? Everybody, as no prior sailing experience needed! And whether you are in a wheelchair or you're blind, on the Lord Nelson this is no issue. The experienced crew will teach you everything you need to know in order to sail a Tall Ship.



Source: The Irish Maritime Development Office, June 2011