Every year over one thousand volunteers give their time and skills to serve on board our hospital ship, the Africa Mercy. The Africa Mercy is home for professionals who offer a wide range of skills: surgeons, dentists, nurses, cooks, electricians, housekeepers, plumbers, bakers, receptionists, stewards and more!

Mercy Ships provides a wide range of opportunities for those who wish to serve in both the medical and non-medical fields. We are looking for qualified professionals, young adults, retirees – anyone with a willing heart to participate in the volunteer work of Mercy Ships!

 

“Volunteering with Mercy Ships taught me to be bold; to step out of my comfort zone and do things that challenge me. I enjoyed my time so much – I have been given experiences and memories and friends that I wouldn’t change for the world. I would definitely volunteer with Mercy Ships again”

Volunteer Dental Assistant, Sonya Van Hove from White Rock, BC

“I saw a documentary about 15 years ago in a hotel room and I sat down on the end of the bed and wept and a voice inside me said ‘one day you will serve on that ship’ it never left me and came to mind often in big and small ways."

Volunteer Surgeon, Dr. Joan Ross from Sarnia, ON

“I began volunteering for the Mercy Ships Club on the University of Victoria’s campus. I really enjoyed helping out and fundraising and wanted to actually help on board the ship. I want to be able to make a difference in the lives of people who are unable to access appropriate health care.”

Volunteer Housekeeper, Jesse Spooner from Victoria, BC

What is life like on board?

Practical information

- You must be a minimum of 18 years old and have a good knowledge of English.
- French language skills are an asset.
- We do not offer internships for medical students. We focus on the training of local personnel.
- The ships visit ports in West and Central Africa.
- The ships stay about 10 months (September to June) in a country and then undergoes a technical phase of two months (July & August), usually in the Canary Islands.

Our organization

Mercy Ships is a faith-based charitable organization that, for the last 40 years, has followed the Christian tenet to bring hope and healing to the disadvantaged. Yet everyone, regardless of their religion, is welcome on board, as long as they have the mission of Mercy Ships at heart, respect the core values of Mercy Ships and are willing to abide by the Mercy Ships Code of Conduct.

Your accommodation

When you work on board a Mercy Ship, you also live there. You will share your new home with around 400 volunteers! On board, there are a limited number of cabins for families and married couples. Single people share a cabin with between 3 and 6 people. The allocation of cabins depends on your position on board and the length of your stay. Most cabins are equipped with a bunk bed, a small shower room, a desk, and a wardrobe. Personal space is obviously limited, but living in this community is a great experience!

Dining room

On board, three meals are served each day at specific times. The kitchen team takes up the challenge of preparing nearly 600 servings per meal. You can have a coffee in our on board Starbucks cafe with your new colleagues and friends. The cafe area also has a snack bar and a shop.

Like a small village

The on board community is like a small village and everything is planned so that you have all that you need. The ship is equipped with a self-service laundromat, a small hairdressing salon, a bank, a library, a small gym and pool, various lounge areas, a school for the children of volunteers, and even a medical clinic, specifically for the crew. Wi-Fi is available throughout, including in your cabin. However, the quality of the Wi-Fi fluctuates, depending on the location of the ship.

An intense experience

Whatever else, these weeks or months of engagement will be an unforgettable adventure for you. The friendships that are born on board are remarkable. You may have the opportunity to leave the ship to explore the city and its surroundings, go to the beach, the market or participate in Mercy Ministries. Mercy Ministries provide off ship ministry opportunities for crew working alongside existing organizations, demonstrating hope and healing to those who can’t be reached and helped through our on board services. Contact with the local population adds an extra dimension to this unique and unforgettable experience.

Application

If you wish to volunteer on board, there is an online application process. Once completed, you will be put in contact with the Human Resources department, located at the International Support Centre in the United States. All applications are in English. For most volunteer positions, no interview will be required. In order to get to know you a little better, we ask for references from people who know you well and work with you. The forms are found on the online application (scroll down to line application).

In addition, because you will be considered a volunteer crew member on the ship, you will be subject to maritime law. This will involve various codes and regulations to sign on board and it is also for this reason that a medical form must be completed by your doctor to vouch for your good health. The Mercy Ships Canada Board has final sign off on your application. Our Canadian office is at your disposal at all times before, during or after your application to assist you and answer your questions.

Open an account and fill in the registration form

Canadian guidebooks


Stay up-to-date with the most recent procedures used at Mercy Ships Canada by reading our Canadian Crew Guidebook. It exclusively relates to the volunteer process for Canadians, such as how funds are processed and details mandatory forms required in order to volunteer with Mercy Ships:

Shorter term service (Levels 1 & 2):
https://mymercy.mercyships.org/discussion/1015/canadian-volunteer-crew-guidebook-levels-1-2#latest

Longer term service (Levels 3 & 4):
https://mymercy.mercyships.org/discussion/1014/canadian-volunteer-crew-guidebook-levels-3-4#latest


Frequently asked questions


For a list of frequently asked questions regarding volunteering with Mercy Ships, visit: www.mercyships.org/volunteer/volunteer-faqs/

Join MyMercy, our volunteers online community