Training with Mercy Ships

The On Boarding Program is a combination of our two entry-level training opportunities and is required for all those accepted to serve with Mercy Ships for nine months or more, including those who have completed an entry-level program with Mercy Ships in the past or served with us long-term before but have been away for more than three years.

The On Boarding Program is designed to better educate, equip and empower our staff and crew for long-term service with Mercy Ships. It is a total of eight weeks in duration – five weeks of interactive classroom instruction and three weeks of field service/application alongside the Africa Mercy. At the end of field service, the participants will join the ship on location.

The On Boarding Program is comprised of the following courses:

  • Foundations of Mercy Ships (FMS)
  • Gateway (including Field Service)
  • Basic Safety Training
  • Crowd Management
  • Management training
  • Job Orientation/Departmental Training


Human Resources will decide which courses participants are required to take based on their position and experience with Mercy Ships.

Cost for Complete On Boarding Program: $1700 (subject to change)

Covers:  Housing, food, course materials, and field service ground expenses
Does not cover: Airfare to the IOC and airfare to the field service location*  (typically less than $2000 US).

*On Boarding is offered at a discount to alumni and current crew. Please contact Human Resources for more information:


The Mercy Ships Operations Center is located on 430 acres in Northeast Texas between the cities of Tyler and Dallas. The secluded property offers two wooded walking trails, two ponds, a swimming pool, a café and several other amenities. Lindale and Van are a
15-minute drive away from the Operations Center. There is no public transportation. Meals on campus will be served at the Oasis, our community dining room.

The Mercy Ships family comes together once a week for a Communication and Prayer meeting Thursday mornings at 11:00 a.m. Participants are encouraged to attend a church of their choice on Sunday mornings. Gateway staff may also schedule some optional activities on the weekends.


Foundations of Mercy Ships is a five-day course held at the Operations Center in Texas. The course helps individuals interested in Mercy Ships understand
its mission and the details about living and working onboard. It is required for volunteers serving at least nine months. For questions and registration information, send an email to


Introduction to Mercy Ships (IMS) is a weekend-long program held in The Netherlands, designed to facilitate the entry of potential staff into Mercy Ships, and is open to singles and couples wishing to learn more about Mercy Ships. Our goal is to help potential crew become as informed in their decision-making process as possible. The program includes topics such as the Mercy Ships culture, organization, training requirements, personal fundraising, Mercy Ships vision, core values and mission and much more. There will also be personal time to meet on a one-to-one basis about Mercy Ships opportunities and to answer personal questions.

IMS will be conducted onboard the passenger ship, the m/v Siloam. Participants will have an exciting glimpse of living on board a ship with a small living space and a strong sense of “community living” – all while experiencing some sailing over the weekend. The place of boarding is Kampen (in the Netherlands), which can easily be reached via train.

For questions and registration information, contact Alize van der Wolf in Rotterdam by phone at +31 10 410 2877 or by e-mail at

Other Ways to Get Involved