Crew Service
FAQ for Captains Seeking Crew

How the Crew Service Works 

What is the Crew Service?
The Crew Service is Member Benefit managed by the Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) and is a free service that connects member captains with Salty Dawg crew for any sailing requirement at any time. Captains may use this service for securing crew for extended offshore passages, coastal cruising or a circumnavigation. Captains utilize this service to find crew to lighten their load with duties such as Standing Watch, to mentor fellow sailors, to find a cruising buddy or to find an experienced leader. Crew utilize this service to broaden their sailing experience and satisfy their passion for sailing. As a non-profit educational and social sailing organization, we hope the crew service will be utilized to educate and assist sailors while fostering long-term relationships.

Does the SDSA vet captains or crew candidates?
No. The SDSA does not certify credentials or qualify crew/captains, and the SDSA does not accept responsibility or liability for actions on behalf of Captains or Crew. It is the sole responsibility of the captain and crew to determine qualifications and compatibility.
Who is eligible?
SDSA Members are eligible to use the Crew Service to choose crew or serve as crew. All captains and crew are welcome to join as Members.

Is there a cost to participate in the Crew Service?
Member captains are eligible to select Crew or to serve as crew at no additional cost. The Crew Service is included with full Membership.

Those looking to crew may join as a Salty Dawg Member at $75 which entitles them to full Salty Dawg Benefits including Crew eligibility
    during their annual term.

* All fees are reinvested into our non-profit organization to provide education, rallies and rendezvous events for participants. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization therefore your $75 Membership Dues may be considered tax deductible. (Ref. IRS Publication 1771)

When do I need to start the process to find crew?
You should start searching for crew when you are certain you will be undertaking a passage and have determined your crew requirement. Please do not hesitate in securing crew. The sooner you start your search for crew, the sooner you will find an appropriate match for your requirement. Many candidates can’t accommodate late requests. Start you search early to get to know your crew before departure.

How do I start the Crew Service process to search for crew?
Access the Crew Service Forum and simply peruse the "Crew Available" postings for your rally.  Or you may post your need for crew under the "Captains Needing Crew" section.  Simply click "New Topic" and under the Subject line summarize the position available. For example, "Experienced sailor with cooking skills needed" is preferable to "Opening". Remember to place your contact information in the body of the post.  When the position is filled delete the post. For more details and hints on how to promote your opening, visit "About the Forums" in the Other Forums section in the Forum index. We can also assist with special requests. Contact the Crew Coordinator with questions.

What do I need to do when contacting a crew candidate?
We advise that you have several conversations with the candidate before offering a crew position. This enables the captain and crew to absorb initial information, generate questions and determine compatibility. The introductory conversation should provide general details about the passage; your name, number of crew aboard, type of boat, passage dates, ports, anticipated costs, desired experience and your level of experience. A secondary conversation can provide more detail about the passage, boat, experience levels and discuss questions. A crew offer should be made after both parties maintain a complete understanding of the passage details and feel comfortable with each other. 

What do I need to do after securing a crew candidate?
Delete your post.

What passage costs do I pay?
Generally, captains cover onboard costs such as meals and boat fees, and crew cover costs to and from the boat such as transportation and meals ashore. However, captain and crew may agree to other financial arrangements. For example, a less experienced captain may be willing to compensate an experienced crew for their particular skill set. In this circumstance, the SDSA does allow the captain and crew to negotiate an appropriate payment. 

May I charge crew candidates a fee?
No. The SDSA is a non-profit educational & charitable volunteer organization and the Crew Service is provided as a benefit to assist captains seeking crew and as a service to crew who desire to broaden their sailing experience. The SDSA does not allow captains to charge crew candidates for their participation.
Does the SDSA provide detail to crew about captains or about the passage?
No, generally not. It is the responsibility of the captains to initiate contact with crew and provide required information.  
Who will provide my Crew with information about the passage?
The captain is responsible for providing crew with detail, expectations and costs concerning the passage. The SDSA will provide crew with general information about rallies.

How can I provide important feedback about my crew service experience? We encourage honest and open, face-to-face discussions between captain and crew. Beyond that, captains and crew can send us your thoughts, concerns and suggestions by contacting [email protected].  Please only post crew related opportunities to the Captains Seeking Crew or Crew Available forums.  

Does the SDSA vet captains or crew candidates? No. The SDSA does not review or certify credentials (except for requirements that are enforced for participation in our longer rallies) and does not accept responsibility or liability for actions on behalf of Captains or Crew. It is the sole responsibility of the captain and crew to determine qualifications and compatibility. Crew & Captains should interview each other to determine qualifications and compatibility, and perhaps sail together before setting off on a longer passage.

How is the Forum for Crew Service organized?
Opportunities are subdivided into "Captains seeking Crew" and "Crew available". Participating Captains may simply choose not post, and just peruse the listings for available crew. To maximize exposure, participants may post specifics of their availability. In all cases, post only to the proper forum. Please do not use the "Captains Seeking Crew" or any of the "Crew Available" forums to post commentary (negative or positive) about any posted offer. This type of feedback should go to [email protected]g

How does the SDSA determine crew candidate availability?
For Rallies: We contact crew candidates prior to a rally with a reminder to update their crew availability status.
For Non-Rally Passages: We contact crew candidates upon notice of your requirement to us. Contact us at [email protected]g.

Why am I not receiving a response from candidates?
There could be many reasons, ranging from an invalid email address, to have already been selected, to not interested or not available. The SDSA maintains no control over if and how a candidate chooses to reply. Our advice is to advise us that the candidate is not responding and move on to the next prospect.

Do Crew Candidates need to maintain sailing experience to participate?
No. The SDSA is a non-profit educational & charitable volunteer sailing organization and part of our mission is to educate and mentor candidates who desire offshore experience. Crew Candidates of all levels are welcome to participate. We encourage captains to be mentors and provide opportunities to less experienced candidates.

How does the SDSA obtain crew candidates and what is their level of experience?
Crew Candidates join the SDSA via word-of-mouth or exposure to our website.
SDSA Crew candidates maintain diverse experience:
- Some are new to sailing or have limited exposure and desire more experience. We encourage captains to be a mentor by providing opportunity to a less experienced candidate.
- Some crew candidates maintain a mix of inland or coastal and/or offshore sailing experience and are seeking to broaden their experience.
- Some crew candidates maintain extensive blue water experience and have completed numerous offshore passages. Of this group, there are some that may charge for their service to assist less experienced captains.

Can the Crew Coordinator assist with special requests?
Absolutely yes. We will help captains with special requests. Some examples include late rally registrants who need immediate assistance or someone who is having difficulty navigating the online system or a captain who requires crew for a custom passage such as coastal cruising or a circumnavigation. In these cases, it is easier for us to contact all our crew candidates with your requirements and reply to you with a credible list of available candidates. Just reach out to us for assistance.

Questions and Feedback:  [email protected]

Helpful Links
Contact the Crew Coordinator