Pay it forward and help the Salty Dawgs succeed.  We need YOU to volunteer for one or more of our working groups!  The Salty Dawg Sailing Association is an organization run almost entirely by its volunteer-members.  If the Salty Dawg Sailing Association has helped you, please consider paying it forward and helping us so we can continue our great work of “Sailors Helping Sailors”.

Salty Dawg Sailing is currently enjoying a thriving and growing membership. We are adding new benefits and rallies all the time.  The online education offerings are expanding, we are running more and more rendezvous, and we are considering adding new rallies, including a passage to the Azores in 2025.   To organize these efforts, we have created 12 working groups which will perform the day to day work of the organization and report to the Board.  Whatever your interest or time commitment, there is a committee for you.  Please help us so we can continue to thrive.  Let us know if you would like to join a group by sending an email to [email protected].  In particular, we are looking for volunteers to help with Sponsorship, Mentorship, Social Media, Newsletter and Hampton.

Working Groups


Mission:  To identify content and presenters to support online webinars and in person seminars.  These educational events will facilitate the sharing of cruising and boating knowledge, expertise and experiences among members, non-members and future members.

Description:  The education working group is responsible for selecting topics, sourcing speakers, scheduling sessions and leading the Zoom meetings.  Volunteers engage in all aspects of the program to further the group's mission.

SPONSORSHIP * in need of additional team members

Mission:  To find SDSA sponsors for events, advertising, annual auction and newsletter ads.  To liaison with our sponsors.

Description:  The SDSA budget requires more than dues and rally fees to support its work.  The sponsorship program fills that need by offering exposure and advertising to our vendor-sponsors, and discounts and education to our members.  Sponsor advertising appears in our newsletter, on our website and at events.  Several of our events are made possible only through the generosity of our sponsors.  In addition to cash donations, substantial discounts are made available to our members on a variety of goods and services.  Volunteering in this group includes identifying potential new sponsors, sponsor outreach, and sponsor coordination, including newsletter content, educational webinars, and event participation.  Additional activities include tracking sponsor benefits and keeping our website sponsor pages updated.

MENTORSHIP * in need of additional team members

Mission:  To recruit volunteer mentors and assign mentors to mentees.  To monitor relationships and status.

Description:  The motto of the SDSA is "Sailors Helping Sailors".  Our mentorship program is the epitome of that motto.  Our organization consists of sailors at all levels with some of our members having spent dozens of seasons in the Caribbean.  We also have several circumnavigators in our ranks, as well as many members for whom the fall rally is their first significant offshore passage.  The mentorship program links our most experienced members with passage newbies who can rely on their mentors for support, to ask questions, to build confidence and to avoid some of the more common mistakes.  This group acts as matchmakers and then monitors each relationship to ensure success.

SOCIAL MEDIA * in need of additional team members

Mission:  To establish, maintain and promote SDSA presence on social media platforms.

Description:  To be visible to the public, a strong social media presence is essential.  It is especially critical as our membership grows with tech-savvy members who do much of their research on social media.  In addition, our sponsors expect a social media presence.  The better we are at maintaining our online visibility, the easier it is to obtain sponsors.  This group is responsible for making that happen by collecting material and maintaining our presence.  As new forms of social media emerge it is the responsibility of this group to make sure we are up to date.

NEWSLETTER * in need of additional team members

Mission:  To produce and publish a monthly SDSA online Newsletter.

Description:  Our goal is to strengthen the Salty Dawg community by keeping members and friends updated on cruising and social activities, educational opportunities and other membership benefits.  Responsibilities include coordination with the board regarding important news; outreach to members for articles and photos; and monitoring what the Dawgs are up to.  If you are organized, creative, and enjoy keeping in touch with other Dawgs, this could be an opportunity for you!


Mission:  To build community and address issues specifically affecting women sailors, giving a voice to women's concerns.

Description:  The experiences of the Salty Dawg women are varied.  Some are captains of their own boats;  some choose not to do passages at all.  Some have an engineering background;  some have no interest in the workings of their boat.  Some are young, others not so much.  Some are working aboard, others are retired.  What we all have in common is a need for a community of women (i.e. not just our partners) who understand the life we lead, and with whom we can talk and share things without judgment.  One of the goals of this group is to help build a community of women like the communities we left behind when we moved from the land to the water.  This group can also be a sounding board for the larger SD board and other working groups.


Mission:  To ensure that rally participants leave the shore with the highest likelihood of staying safe while at sea.

Description:  After establishing the required and recommended safety equipment and practices standards for rallies, this team ensures that each participant meets those standards.  Members of this team should have a working knowledge of the various safety equipment that is relevant to offshore sailing.  Good communications and administrative skills are highly desired.


Mission:  To ensure that SDSA shoreside support personnel can communicate with every participant throughout the rally, and that every vessel can be tracked from departure to arrival.  


  1. Decide which specific devices meet SDSA communications and tracking requirements;
  2. Work with rally participants to ensure that their devices meet those requirements, and provide limited technical support in their proper use;
  3. Engage with our tracking partner, to set up the Fleet Tracking Map;
  4. Conduct communications and tracking tests prior to each rally;
  5. Provide real time support during each rally to resolve communications and tracking issues.
Members of this team should have a working understanding of the approved communications and tracking devices or a willingness to learn.  Communications, administrative and troubleshooting skills are highly desirable.


Mission:  To maximize the safety and satisfaction of rally participants through effective communications and fleet tracking.

Description:  This team monitors the progress of the fleet while they are at sea using the Fleet Tracking Map.  They serve as the communications conduit between rally participants and interested parties.  They pass communications and tracking issues to the Communications and Tracking team for resolution.  If they determine that a situation is an emergency, they pass control of it to the Emergency Response Team.  They provide a daily status report to rally management.  Members of this team serve in rotating shifts throughout the rally.  They must be willing to commit to several two or three day shifts during a rally. Effective communications skills are important.


Mission:  To manage emergency incidents effectively.  

Description:  This team responds to emergency situations passed to them from the Shoreside Coordination team.  They use their skills and experience to recommend repairs and workarounds, and manage the affected participants' morale.  They manage communications between the affected vessel, rescue resources including the USCG, and other affected parties.  Members of this team have a wide variety of skills, including mechanical, sail repair, creativity and incident management.  They come from a variety of backgrounds.  Many have significant offshore sailing experience.  They understand the importance of maintaining crew morale during an incident, and the necessity of adequate rest.  Incident management and excellent communications skills are required.


Mission: To determine which rallies will be run each year.  To appoint rally leaders and to determine starting and ending points.

Description:  The SDSA runs numerous rallies throughout the year.  Some are repeated each year and some are only run occasionally or every other year.  This group reviews the rally selections, makes recommendations for new rallies and seeks volunteer rally captains for each rally.

HAMPTON * in need of additional team members

Mission:  To coordinate all pre-departure educational, technical and social activities for the Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally.

Description:  The fall Caribbean Rally is the most popular and complex rally run by SDSA.  Approximately 90 boats hailing from multiple countries gather in Hampton, VA each fall for educational seminars and social activities to prepare for the sail to Antigua.  This team coordinates all on-site activities and support services.


To volunteer, please send an email to [email protected], or contact Michael Benjamin [email protected] with any questions.