Sail & Docent Crew
Fundraising and Event Planning
Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race
For Nathan Volunteers
The Dorchester Skipjack Committee is a small, all-volunteer, nonprofit organization. We welcome new volunteers, especially those who enjoy multi-tasking and bring a variety of talents to share!
No prior sailing experience is necessary, as we train all crew thoroughly before awarding full crew status. Sail crew trainees must be 16 years of age or older and fit enough to handle the significant physical demands of the vessel. We ask all sail crew volunteers to possess a boating education certificate. New sail crew trainees are accepted at the start of the season with classroom training starting in March and training on the boat starting in April.
Docent crew welcomes our passengers and helps them get the most out of their Nathan experience. Docents need not go through sail crew training, but need to be able to handle weather extremes and a diverse passenger clientele with a smile and good sense of humor. Sail crew are encouraged to train also as docents. We require both sail and docent crew to be certified in first aid and CPR. We provide training on an annual basis to new volunteers and to those whose certification is expiring.
Captains must have a Masters License with Sail Endorsement and are required to train with the crew prior to serving as captain on passenger trips.
Captains, sail crew and docent crew are the faces of the Nathan to our passengers and the public. As such, they are expected to represent the organization and act in its behalf in a courteous and professional manner.
Sail Crew Training
Sailing a skipjack is not for everyone and is not like sailing other vessels. Sometimes our best crew members turn out to be those with no prior experience on the water, and no bad habits to break! Because we have a busy schedule and operate with a mix of crew, it is important for safety reasons that everyone learns how to do things the same way and work together as a team. The way you do things on your boat is not necessarily wrong, but it may not be the Nathan way of doing things.
Those entering crew training will be evaluated after a brief initial trial period for acceptance into the program. Acceptance into the crew training program does not guarantee that the volunteer will achieve full crew status. Training takes place 2 days a week beginning in early April and continues twice a week through July. New volunteers may train at their own pace as it fits their schedules, but will achieve full crew status more quickly if they can commit to more training days.
Since the Nathan is a commercial passenger vessel, Captains and Sail Crew are subject to initial and random drug testing. They must meet minimum physical requirements confirmed in writing by their physicians, and renewable every three years or as required by illness or injury.
Wooden boats need lots of work and we need lots of help to do it. We rig the boat for the sailing season in April. In mid-summer, we haul the boat out and do hull painting and any required maintenance. Year-round, there is engine maintenance, rigging repairs and plenty of other tasks to keep those with an interest in learning wooden boat preservation busy.
It's Not Just About the Boat
Even if you don't set foot on the boat, we can still use your help. It takes a team of volunteers with good business and computer skills to support the organization that operates the boat. We are always on the lookout for volunteers who enjoy fundraising and staging special events, or just would like to take on short term individual projects for a worthwhile nonprofit organization. We welcome your help!
Click here for a Volunteer Application.
You can download, fill it out, save it to your computer and email it to us.