Health volunteers only for 2015

Dental and Medical Volunteers are now invited for 2015 – including optometrists, doctors, nurses, dentists, dental assistants, therapists and hygienists.

With alternative transport arrangements in place, there will sadly be no opportunities for sailing volunteers this year, but stay tuned for more news down the track.

If you’d like to find out more, we’d love to hear from you.

Further details can be found at the following links.

2015 Vanuatu Dental Clinic Volunteer Flyer 1

2015 Vanuatu Medical Mission Flyer 1

2014 11 10 Dental Service Flyer


What makes a crew volunteer?

In most cases, volunteers have past sailing experience, although enthusiasm and the right attitude can make up for a lack of boating skills to some extent.

Of course people need to know how they are affected (if at all) by seasickness, because to state the obvious, seasickness can not only ruin your enjoyment of the mission, it can also prevent you from performing your tasks as expected, putting added strain on others.

The key roles, skills and responsibilities in making up a full ships complement is summarised below:






– Extensive sailing experience including
the command of similar vessels on
extended voyages

– Knowledge of normal boat systems
(sails, engine, fuel, water, navigation,
rigging, safety, electrics etc)

– Safety of ship, crew, passengers and cargo

– Enjoyment of all onboard

– Ensure medical transport commitments to the
Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness project are met

– Navigation and course planning

– Maintain ships log

– Maintain equipment on board in a serviceable

– Maintain sufficient stores of food, water and fuel

First Mate

– Much the same as for the skipper,
(above) since the objective is for the
roles to almost be interchangeable
should circumstances dictate.

– Assist the skipper with above responsibilities
according to skills and experience.


– Sailing experience

– Assist the skipper with above responsibilities
according to skills and experience.

– Organise medical team cargo

– Maintain ship’s safe and financial accounts

– Maintain regular communications (eg daily blog)

– Liaise with Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness Project


– Sailing experience

– Assist the skipper with above responsibilities
according to skills and experience.

– responsible for dinghy, ship to shore transfers and
general deckhand duties


– Ability to cook at sea

– Sailing experience useful

– Ensure meals are prepared as required

– Maintain ship’s food stores and re-supply as


– Sailing experience

– Assist the skipper with above responsibilities
according to skills and experience.

Applies to all

– Positive, friendly, caring attitude

– Assist the skipper with above responsibilities
according to skills and experience.

– Assist the cook when conditions require

– Assist medical teams

– Maintain a clean ship

Points to Consider

Skilled team players

Our focus is on building happy, cooperative, resourceful crews with each volunteer bringing a range of skills born from past experience.

Non-smoking etc

It’s a non-smoking ship and of course it goes without saying that recreational drug use etc is not permitted.


On the topic of alcohol, it’s not a dry ship given that most crew members enjoy the occasional beer and wine etc. but the key words here are moderation and restraint, as we must remain vigilant at all times remembering that we are there to perform a valuable service.

Check before planning private activities

Whilst you are a part of an MSM crew it’s important to check with the skipper and the MSM Manager before planning onshore activities of a private nature.  (eg village tours, walks, market visits etc)  Sometimes impending bad weather, or a change of medical transport commitments can mean that what appeared to be “freetime” is suddenly not.  Remember, at all times, particularly when ashore,  you are representing MSM and we always like to leave a good impression.

Cultual sensitivty

Prior to arriving in Vanuatu it’s a good idea to learn up on the local culture and in particular, things which might be of a sensitive nature or which might potentially cause offense. If in doubt, always feel free to ask a local Ni-van leader or team member.   Whilst everyone is generally very friendly, it is a conservative country, where traditional views, language and behaviours are mosly preserved.

Christian context

It’s also useful to remember that MSM and the Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness Project broadly operate within a Christian context.  Likewise, most of Vanuatu and the villages being visited, hold strong Christian beliefs.  Generally, this is not an issue, however, it’s part of being culturally sensitive and we should remember to maintain appropriate language and behaviour at all times.

Communications (mobile phones, email, satphone)

The yacht is equipped with email (via the HF radio) through SailMail for weather, communications and maintaining the website, VHF for ship to ship and ship to shore communications, plus a local Digicel mobile phone for use in Pt Vila and other islands where the service is operational.  There is little scope for personal or business communications for volunteer crew while they are aboard.  However, emergency use of the satphone is always available, plus occasional use on other important occassions (at cost, which I think is around $5/min) where appropriate.  Family and those back home can always keep track of our movements via the website www.msm.org.au , (where posts are made most days) and can submit comments at any time.

Personal gear & space

It goes without saying that personal gear should be kept to a minimum and it should be carried in a soft bag – no suitcases!!  In May-August the climate is mild to warm, so big jumpers and thermals generally don’t see the light of day.  One thing we do encourage everyone to bring is a pair of blue (Burke, or similar) sailing shorts, plus  a white sun-top.  It acts as something of an MSM uniform which conveys that professional, competant look to the casual observer, in particular the medical teams (many of whom are not yachties) we will be transporting around.

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