Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered please feel free to contact us by email or telephone 01305 858274 

What on earth am I doing here?!

This is the question that we will guarantee you will ask yourself at some stage and you probably won’t be alone. You will always be encouraged to ask questions and to use the support of our experienced Permanent Crew. They asked the question once - and made it their career!

I am travelling alone and I'm worried

The majority of our voyage crew will join the ship independently but leave the ship with friends that often last a lifetime, such is the way of tall ship life. We can put in touch with other trainees who will be travelling to the ship so that you can coordinate your travel. You will be made welcome from the moment you step on board. How much time you spend with your new group of friends or  alone is up to you!

We believe that TS Pelican has a unique atmosphere on board and we have the reputation of being one of the friendliest tall ships on the water.

I am worried about sea sickness

Anyone can be prone to sea sickness (including the crew!) so please don’t worry about it. The Permanent Crew on board is used to looking after people who suffer. Sea sickness will usually pass after 24 hours, by then you will be used to the motion. The secret is to take sea sickness medication 24 hours before you depart, keep yourself busy during the periods you feel sick and if you can, don’t give in to it and remember it will soon pass.

It normally takes people 24 hours to find their sea legs. We recommend that if you are on any other medication that you check with your GP before taking sea sickness medication.

Are there any age restrictions?

The upper age limit is 80, but please consult our office for advice on what consent forms and medical forms you will need to complete.

Minimum age to sail unaccompanied is 16 (15 for Tall Ships Races).

On day sails, children 12-15 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times.

How long do I have in port?

Shore-leave is granted by the Captain for all crew in each port. We always aim to arrive at a port in early evening and depart the following evening, allowing you plenty of time to explore the local area. However, you are requested not to leave the ship until permission is granted and to be back on the ship at the allotted time or for any watch duty you may have.

What should I wear?

The ship has a supply of wet weather gear but we recommend that you bring your own if you have them for your own personal comfort. Good quality flat-soled shoes are essential and walking boots are ideal. We also recommend that you pack a number of layers as it can get cold on evening and night watches.

These should be packed in a 'squashy' or 'holdall' type bag as suitcases are not allowed on board.

What about food and drink?

Our Cook serves 3 hearty meals a day and can cater for most dietary requirements. This can include a cooked breakfast, cereals, toast and fruit juice in the morning, followed by salad, soup, sandwiches or a baked potato for lunch, and then a filling evening meal such as lasagne, chilli con carne, curry or a roast dinner. Tea, coffee and other refreshments are also available, or snacks which are chargeable from our tuck shop. 

Can I smoke on board?

Smoking is only permitted on the Well Deck.

Can I drink on board?

In the interest of safety, the consumption of alcohol on Pelican whilst sailing is strictly prohibited.  However, whilst at anchor and when moored, moderate alcohol consumption is permitted at the discretion of the Master, who will consider time of day, present and forecast weather conditions, planned departure and any other hazards. Alcohol may be purchased from the saloon bar but it is strictly prohibited for trainees to bring their own alcohol onto the ship.

What is a Watch System?

A watch is a nautical word for a team. When you join the ship you will be required to report to the officer in charge and you will sign the ship's papers as a member of the ship’s crew. You will then be allocated your bunk and assigned to a watch.

There are usually three or four watches on board the ship and you will remain a member of the watch for the duration of your voyage - this includes throughout the night. The bond between watch members is often the highlight of a voyage on TS Pelican. During the daily routine your watch will either be on duty, resting, eating, or doing domestic duties.

When you are not on watch you will be allowed free time. It’s that chance to read that book you have always wanted, sit on the bow watching dolphins or relax. 

A member of crew is always on standby on a sailing ship should they be needed to assist with handling the sails.

I am doing my Duke of Edinburgh Award. Does a voyage on TS Pelican Count?

A voyage on board TS Pelican can count as your residential element in the Gold Award or Queen’s Scout Award. It can also be used as your organised activity. Please bring along your DofE or Scout log book and the Captain will sign this off for you at the end of the voyage.

Can I gain qualifications on board?

A voyage on TS Pelican can count towards sea time and sea miles for both RYA and MCA qualifications. Log books can be signed by the captain for crew that have them.

For those who wish to pursue a career at sea, on sail training vessels or Super Yachts, crew are encouraged to complete the Pelican Work Book which can lead to MCA Yacht Deck Rating certification.  Only available on longer voyages.

Do I need travel Insurance?

Yes. ­ You are required to obtain cover for the risk of participating as an active member of a Tall Ship's crew.  Suitable Insurance can be obtained from Topsail Insurance or Bishop Skinner.


We do not issue a ticket for your voyage.  Your booking details are recorded on the vessel and will be checked when you board.  Joining instructions will be sent approximately four weeks before your voyage. Please bring these documents with you as well as your passport and any visas which may be required.

What about the weather?

The weather will not normally be cause for cancellation of a voyage. However, it will determine where the ship will go on the voyage. Planned destinations are all subject to weather conditions. The Captain - who has ultimate responsibility for the safety of the ship and crew - will determine the best places to visit, taking into account the weather.

In the unlikely event that the voyage is postponed, a further date will be offered to you.

How do I get to the ship

You will be given details of where the ship is located as part of your joining information. This will include a contact number for the ship should you have trouble finding us. Your voyage fee does not include costs for travel but we can recommend travel companies which can organise your flights for foreign joining ports. Please note the ship joining times. These are important and you should aim to be onboard the ship promptly.

Can I bring my iPod and other personal equipment?

A voyage on a Tall Ship is ideal for getting away from today's busy, hi-tech world. The use of mobile phone, iPods and laptops is restricted on board ship, but the Captain will brief you on their appropriate use. If you play a musical instrument that can be easily carried, consider bringing it along.

All items of personal equipment are carried at your own risk

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