This page provides essential information for volunteers. It includes the crew schedule, training dates, policies, merchandise, expenses, and details about safeguarding training. Remember to check back periodically for updates. ūüĆü

What is a Shore-side volunteer?
Helping shore-side can mean helping with ship-shape days (that’s maintenance), fundraising (with a collection pot or organising a pub quiz or cake bake day at your work), manning a stand or helping with boat tours and some of our events when the boat isn’t sailing.

What is a Crew volunteer?
If you are one of our volunteer crew then your role is to crew the boat supporting young people and adults to get the best out of the day, while of course having fun yourself!

Returning to¬†Challenge Wales soon after your qualifying trip makes jumping back onboard less nerve-wracking. For new volunteers or those returning after a long break, attending a crew training day, working through your Personal Logbook and getting competencies signed off, and actively participating onboard are essential for building confidence. ūüĆü





To put yourself forward for crew just let us know which voyage number/date you would like to crew on and email the Challenge Wales office. If you have multiple dates of availability please select your preferred choices or order of preference and we will do our best to accommodate. We try to confirm back to you as soon as possible and will aim to do this within 5 working days or immediately if voyages are within the next 7 days.


We want to give volunteers a space for providing Challenge Wales with feedback of your experiences. You may wish to remain anonymous or you may wish to leave your name so that we can respond directly – either is fine. Challenge Wales is a small charity that continues to¬† grow and evolve and without our volunteers we wouldn’t be the charity we are today.

Provide your feedback here.


We’ve produced some posters that volunteers can use to put up on community notice boards, pubs, yacht clubs, company offices etc. Please make sure you have permission before posting them! You can find them here.

The posters can also be found as a dropdown under the ‘Support Us’ tab on our website

Shore-side Maintenance

Maintenance takes place when the boat isn’t work. Skipper Sam is continually focussed on the job list to ensure Challenge Wales remains tip top. Specific maintenance dates are detailed below but if you have availability to help outside of this, and the boat isn’t sailing, then feel free to contact the office to see if there is maintenance going on.

General Maintenance dates

  • 5th June – A few extra hands are needed to help inspect anchor chain, check and repair large fore hatch, deep clean deck, topsides and inside of boat, Wet vac all bilges, inspect wooden steps.
  • 9th June – A MINIMUM of 4 extra hands needed to remove Challenge Wales’ mainsail
  • 10th June – A MINIMUM of 5 extra hands needed to put on the new mainsail. Victualing and final safety checks to take place as well as later on in the day people will be arriving to take the boat to Neyland. We are really up against the clock on this day so plenty of hands are welcomed.

Anyone planning to attend should contact the office to let them know you are planning to come and so that we can organise jobs. Snacks and refreshments provided. If you can come for a morning or afternoon then great (please let us know when) and if you are coming for the whole day, please bring a packed lunch with you.  To avoid lone working and to reduce risks, no volunteers should just turn up and undertake a job on their own without liaising with the office or the Skipper.


Crew Training (Shore-side and on boat)

Crew Training:

Mates Training (Afloat) ‚ÄstTHIS IS INVITATION ONLY BUT… If you aren‚Äôt a mate yet but feel this is something you want to aspire to and you are already confident sailing on Challenge Wales then please email the office.

Crew Training (Afloat) – Open to all abilities

No dates at the moment – but we plan to add in new dates for September and October in due course. REMEMBER, jumping on a voyage also provides you with a training opportunity.

If you are interested in attending any of the training sessions please email the office

Below you will find details of some of our manuals however, we’ve popped the Draft Training Manual here as it is a really useful document. It is for REFERENCE ONLY as it is a live document and does not form part of our policies or procedures but is a very, very useful read!

IF YOU HAVE UNDERTAKEN CREW TRAINING THEN PLEASE COMPLETE THE VOLUNTEER CREW SURVEY. It should take 3 minutes to complete. Just click here to complete the survey.

Shore-side Training

SEA-ing the bigger picture is a shore-side training session that focusses on working with young people, understanding youth work, safeguarding and safeguarding scenarios and can help towards getting the soft skills element of your Personal Logbook signed off.  Attendees of these sessions have found them extremely beneficial.
Next dates likely to be in the summer and will be advised via the e-newsletter

Safeguarding Training

All volunteers are required to undertake safeguarding training. This will need to be undertaken either before you continue volunteering with us.  This is being provided free of charge and can be accessed here: Group A Safeguarding | Social Care Wales
Once you have completed the module and downloaded your certificate please email it to If you have undertaken Group A Safeguarding in your line of work or other volunteering activities then please forward us your certificate. This training has been developed in line with changes in safeguarding legislation in Wales.



Volunteers who have helped to crew the boat, helped with maintenance or helped with a shore-side activity can claim their travel expenses in 2024 so that you are not out of pocket. At the moment this is for reasonable travel costs in the UK (e.g. 2nd class train travel, bus, car, bike).¬† At the moment we do not fund any travel outside the UK (e.g. Tall Ships Racing) or personal travel insurance. We also don’t fund food or drinks while travelling and suggest you take your own packed lunch if required.

If you do not want to claim your travel expenses, we encourage you to claim them but then donate it back to the charity which means we can often gift aid it as a donation – and is a great way to support Challenge Wales. We also encourage car sharing to help keep costs down.

Please note that ALL expense claims must be submitted to the office within 30 days of the activity taking place. And, have the appropriate receipts.

You will need to complete two forms and return these to the office when completing volunteer expenses. We suggest for ease that one claim is submitted for each month (so you don’t need to complete a form for each activity if you do multiple activities in a month).

Any volunteer claiming Expenses should read Challenge Wales Volunteer Expenses Policy for the full details.

Expense Claim Form: CWF 17
Claiming Expenses Bank Form: CWF 111
Skipper Accounts Form: CWF 26

Getting Ready for your voyage - UPDATE and MEDICAL Forms

Every 12 months we will ask volunteers to complete an:

If you haven’t completed one within the last 12 months, you will be required to complete them before sailing with us.

Once you have completed your update form in 2024, you will not be asked to complete another one unless your details have changed OR you change your photo consent decision.


If you are contacted regarding a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, please respond to the email as you will not be able to sail on our adult and youth voyages without an Enhanced DBS. We will contact you when it is time to renew it and can undertake this free of charge for you. We encourage all volunteers to register their DBS online as soon as possible to make it portable.

Volunteer Competency Log and Pre Requisites

Please note the Volunteer Competency Log is now updated for 2024 to include current competencies and revised competencies, including soft skills and will be in place ready for the start of crew training.

Crewing Competencies; Check here what qualifications or experience you need to be one of our crew and if you wish to progress to the next level (*Please note all crew should be progressing from Trainee to Competent/Experienced).

While this section of the website is waiting for updating, the competency log syllabus can be viewed in the February E-newsletter. 

Read the latest Volunteer E-newsletter...

If you’ve missed a volunteer e-newsletter then you can find the last few e-newsletters here:

End Feb Volunteer Newsletter 2024
Mid Jan Volunteer Newsletter 2024
Volunteer Newsletter End of 2023
Beg Nov Vols 2023
End Oct Vols 2023
Early Oct Vols 2023
early Sept Vols 2023
Early Aug Vols email



If you wish to purchase any Merchandise, please order by the Friday by contacting the office. Your order will be placed on the following Tuesday. You can check out the Merchandise here
Gill Marine Merchandise can be ordered at any time as we don’t keep stock onsite.
All volunteers get a discount off merchandise, and Challenge Wales Members get an additional discount.

RYA Shore Side Courses

We are not running any shore side courses at the moment.

Challenge Wales cannot run Day Skipper (Practical) or higher practical courses as our vessels are too big. If you wish to look at which other operators are running RYA courses please visit the RYA website Course Finder here.

What can I do at home...

What can I do at home?
Before your voyage you can make yourself aware of what is missing on your Volunteer Competency Log to see what areas you need to learn more in. If you can’t complete one or more items then you need to find the answer.  You might want to think about purchasing an RYA Competent Crew book (available through Challenge Wales at £10) to learn the basics. An essential skill is to tie knots. Most knots have several different ways to be tied but it is essential that you know how to tie knots (as indicated in the Volunteer Competency Log) quickly and correctly AND be confident in showing young people. We’ve come across a website to help you learn your basic knots (Bowline, Single & Double Sheet Bend, Reef Knot, Clove Hitch, Round Turn & Two Half Hitches, Rolling Hitch, Lightermans Hitch) check our the interactive website here.

The best way to get in touch regarding volunteering is to email the office.

If you aren’t able to do this or have any questions or queries then please call on 029 20 704 657

Crew Fees

Crew fees are in place so that crew contribute primarily to food/fuel costs while onboard. Other sail training organisations charge more for training (we’ve seen this at ¬£99 for a weekend of training)¬†and require volunteers to pay an annual crew fee where as we have aimed to keep ours as low as possible and are charged on the days you are onboard.

Crew fees are £10 per day each day you are onboard with us regardless of what type of voyage it is. If you are on a residential and you join us on Day 1 (e.g. Monday afternoon) and depart on Day 3 (e.g. Wednesday morning), this is classed as 3 days so £30 would be due.

Members of the charity who are paying a monthly contribution to Challenge Wales do NOT pay a crew fee on youth voyages. Young Person Members (so those who are in education and under 26 years and pay an annual membership fee)  will also received a reduced crew fee on standard voyages (non-young people trips). Details of the Membership scheme can be found on our Membership page on the website.

Crew fees are not charged when volunteers are staying onboard for an open day event  (e.g. Bristol Harbour Festival where a crew fee would be charged to take the boat there but not for the few days of the festival when volunteers are undertaking boat tours even though we are providing food). Likewise, crew fees are not charged when staying on the boat and helping with maintenance.

Volunteer travel expenses are at the moment not normally paid although we are working to try and bring in more funding to be able to offer this.

Volunteer Induction Info

Volunteer inductions are there to give volunteers a snapshot of what is expected of them and how we operate and includes some behind the scenes information on why we do things.

Read the latest Volunteer Induction Presentation here.