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Here are some 'frequently asked questions' about GBA Ships.

Half of the funding needed comes from the sponsorship of personnel on board given by friends, family and other supporters. Another quarter comes from the sale of books and non-book items (such as souvenirs) in the onboard book fair. The last quarter comes from gifts and donations given by individuals, trusts, foundations and community groups. GBA Ships is not a government or corporate funded enterprise. Some local corporate sponsorship in the ports of call helps to cover port and publicity expenses.

GBA Ships is a non-profit venture. Income received through donations or sales on board the ships is used to purchase literature, fund port visit costs, and cover vessel expenses, personnel needs and administration.

Volunteers from over 60 countries serve on board the ships. They are mostly young people who have chosen to dedicate one or two years of their lives to be on board, learning to live and work together, and serving the communities in the ports visited. Additionally, the ships have a full complement of qualified crew, as required by international maritime regulations, and even these crewmembers serve in a voluntarily capacity.

Applicants must be over 18 years of age, and in full agreement with the beliefs and values of GBA Ships. No-one on board is paid, and each individual needs to raise funds to cover the costs of their term of service before they can join. Regrettably, it is not possible for people from some countries to join as systems to process applications are not in place.

All crew and staff are volunteers. No one, including the captain, is paid a salary. Each one on board has to have financial sponsorship to cover the costs of travel to and from the ship as well as the costs of his or her time on board.

The ships are classed as passenger vessels, but in reality there are very few 'passengers'. The crew and staff on board work very hard serving as volunteers, usually for a two-year term of service. Life and work on board is an intensive but very rewarding experience.

For other questions you can contact our offices:

Email  E-mail:

GBA Ships Head Office

Address  GBA Ships e.V.
Alte Neckarelzer Str. 2
74821 Mosbach

US Office

Address  781 St. Andrews Road
Florence, SC 29501
United States