Charitable Works from the Crew Mess

31 March 2011 By Louisa Cowan

When working on board a yacht, it’s easy to lose track ofthe rest of the world. You’re working hard; you hardly see the news and becomenomadic with little concept of where you are or where your socialresponsibilities are. However, turn on the television and you’re quickly bombardedwith images of ecological disaster, natural catastrophe and disease.You only need to take a few steps outside the marina, in many destinations, tobe confronted with poverty and homelessness. A walk along the shore can be aharsh reminder that our world could and should be greener. So how can you makea difference? You help those less fortunate from the comfort of your own cabin.

Believe it or not, it is easy and there is so much youcan do with the touch of a button. For a simple, no-fuss way to help,go online and make a donation. At the end of the day, your money is going tomake a difference and nearly all charities accept online donations. Set up aregular giving scheme. Most organizations offer automatic monthly payments.

If you’re looking for something a little morepersonal, why not consider sponsoring a child, adopting an animal or investingin somebody’s future? Charities such as Save the Children ( offer amazing opportunities to sponsor anindividual child for as little as $28 a month. Go to and choose to help an array of endangered animalsaround the world. From polar bears to whale sharks, you can make a differencefor just $50. If investment makes more sense to you, then make aninvestment in someone’s future. Check out Kiva ( where your donation or “loan” could turn a lifearound by helping start new businesses which will lead to self-sufficiency.

Instead of just donating money, why not buy all yourgifts this year from online charity gift stores? You could be effecting changewhen you buy birthday or Christmas presents. Most big charities such as UNICEF( have acomprehensive online gift shop and stock all sorts of interesting and unusualpresents from jewelry to stationery and they will usually ship worldwide.

Every little bit helps, but have you thought of doingsomething huge? You have the potential to raise a lot of money if you put yourmind to it – and you don’t even have to step foot off the boat! Get some advicefrom the crews of M/Y Slojo and M/Y Talitha  who, combined, raised more than $70,000 last year forYachtAid Global ( UNICEF’s Haiti Appeal. By undertaking rowing across the Atlantic in Talitha’s case and a transpacifictriathlon on board M/Y Slojo, thecrews and their teams were able to secure a huge amount of sponsorship as areward for their efforts. With a little bit of ingenuity and a lot of hardwork, their achievements were phenomenal.

Money isn’t always the top need. Look at the YachtAidGlobal website or ask around next time you are in port. With the help of yourcrewmates, collect some unwanted clothing – you can make more room for newitems in your tiny onboard cupboard – and donate them to help make a massive difference forthose who go without.

Charity can start with a very simple act and, whoknows, it may lead to something much bigger. There is no excuse, we all have anobligation to have a social conscience and there are lots of choices out therefor how we can make our mark. It is easy to have a difference – so do it…today…NOW!

Related Topics

Volunteering Ashore