Thank you for your interest in our organization!
When joining In The Same Boat as a volunteer crewmember for beach cleaning in Norway, you should be familiar with the information and rules included in this document.
When you arrive at your team, you must sign this letter as a confirmation of your understanding of our expectations of you before your adventure begins.
We have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions, but please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or bring up new questions.
Are you using your real name?
If you are not using your real name on Workaway or different aliases on social media and email, you have to tell us!
The reason is that it’s almost impossible for us to keep track of the communication with you, among hundreds of other volunteers, if you use different names!
Sometimes we make appointments with volunteers on Workaway or Facebook and ask them to send us an email. When we receive the email, it’s from a different name, and we will not automatically understand that it’s the same person, and important information may disappear.
We have had incidents where workawayers have arrived in Norway, not being able to find us or get in touch with us, because we have not recognized their name when they get in touch. For instance, we are searching for our expected guest “Toby”, but the emails come from “Tobias”… and some times the aliases are totally different names.
Length of volunteer participation
We usually agree for a certain period that we will be able to host you; this is based primarily on dates of arrival and departure of current and new crew. If for any reason you wish to shorten your stay, you may leave at any time- just let us know so we can make it as easy as possible for you. Most volunteers we pick stay for 8 weeks or more, and those who can stay for that period or longer will be prioritized for practical and community reasons.
Our expectations of you and your expectations of us
As a volunteer crewmember, you will be living on board and working hard! Anyone who expects a vacation or a holiday type of stay will be disappointed.
We will train and work patiently with you as you learn how to operate and live on a sailboat and perform beach cleaning operations. You should expect us to help you grow into a safe, competent crew member. As you learn, we will start to rely on your understanding and awareness to live aboard and sail safely; you will have responsibilities according to the skills you develop.
IMPORTANT – SAFETY FIRST – TEST AFTER 1 WEEK
After about 1 week’s stay, you will be given a practical test, where you have to prove that you are able to stay safely on board and that you fully understand our basic rules for living on board and working on the beaches.
If you do not score 80% on the test, there’s a great chance that you will be dismissed from the crew, to make place for someone else.
In the test you will be asked to tie our 5 most used knots, fast and efficient, where the fire extinguishers are, our first aid kit, what equipment to bring when cleaning beaches, the man over board routine, and a couple of more question about the crews safety and well being.
The test full content is here: TEST
Sometimes, issues arise that require addressing: safety risks, and interpersonal issues. Please know that we understand that everyone learns at a different pace and has strengths and weaknesses, so we don’t expect you to get everything right 100% of the time. We also acknowledge that we can all get tired of each other after living so close for so long; we accept that there may be occasional interpersonal issues- but we try to be good at resolving such situations.
Note that we at any time are entitled to end the stay of volunteers who present a safety risk to the crew or who do not get along well with the team. However, please expect us to do our best for you, and that we will expect you to do your best for us- and expect to have fun! We will help you grow as a sailor and engage you in helping the environment.
What to bring
There is not much space aboard, so you should bring as little as possible. Please bring it in a soft bag. Hard suitcases are not permitted onboard, as there is no space to store them.
It’s important to bring clothing for the right season. Norwegian summers are normally hot, with temperatures from 15 to 30 degrees Celsius. Winter may be from -15 below zero to 10 above.
These are the basic clothes you will need:
– Normal clothes for going into town (jeans, t-shirt, sweater)
– Plenty of socks and underwear, also for cold weather
– 2 pairs of warm long underwear
– Wool sweater
– Rain jacket
– Hiking shoes for rough conditions
– Sneakers for walking in town and for sailing
– Hat/beanie and a buff, wool if possible
The following clothes are further recommended for your comfort:
– Sandals or slippers for inside the boat
– Comfy pants for chilling in the sailboat
– Warm jacket/duvet jacket
– Mittens, for cold nights around the fire
– For summer: more t-shirts and a pair of shorts
Gear you need:
– Reusable water bottle
– Medicine you need, toothbrush, towel, shampoo, and soap
– Something to pack your lunch
Gear we recommend:
Focus on more practical clothes since almost everything will get wet or damp at some point. We sun-dry clothes all the time, have access to a washer and dryer, or have them inside with a dehumidifier, so no need to bring “backup” clothing.
We try to avoid working in uncomfortable weather conditions, but at worst, you will be sailing in cold rain and wind, or plastic-picking in on-off rain or even snow and hail.
Keep in mind that sailing, even on a warm day, means everything will be a bit chillier.
There will be facilities for washing your clothes at most harbors, but sometimes there will be weeks with only hand washing clothes.
We will provide bedding and some protective clothes for beach cleaning (our green rain gear).
Like the sea, our day-to-day and week-to-week itinerary is dynamic; everything we do is dependent on the weather conditions and our surroundings. In reality, it is impossible to perfectly predict our daily schedule. We are not afraid to be flexible, but we do try to be consistent when we can. Here is a rough example of a typical day:
07:30 Wake up time! 🙂
08:00 Breakfast (proper food, often warm dishes)
08:30 Doing the dishes and boat preparation
09:00 Leaving base heading for cleaning location
09:15 Cleanup operation
13:00 Lunch (Often outside)
16:00 Finishing up cleanup, going back to base
19:00 Dinner (Crew chooses meal, cooks food together)
22:30 Quiet time (Varied, flexibly based on the day’s and next day’s activities)
Some volunteers get disappointed about the small amount of time we are actually sailing the sailboats! Sometimes we may stay at one harbor for several weeks, only going out with the workboats. If the weather is nice, we try to compensate with going out sailing, just for fun. Sailing is an important motivation, also for our team leaders and skippers, and it’s kind of the reward for the hard work we do cleaning beaches.
What to eat
There is not much space for cooking or storing food aboard, so we enjoy collaborating on what to eat. If there is a vegetarian in the crew, we normally all eat vegetarian, however, there are always non-vegetarian options available aboard. We combine vegetarian, and regular options for meals, especially for breakfast and lunch.
PS: In some areas, it’s hard to get good vegan alternatives, especially when staying far away from the cities. That might result in periods with “simple” dishes for vegans.
You should expect to eat more than you normally do if you’re not living an extremely active life!
Sustainability is important to us, and we want to have the smallest footprint possible. Therefore, we dumpster-dive for food! This is of course voluntary, and you don’t have to eat dumpster food if you don’t feel like it. Normally we do not get the food from the dumpsters, but directly from the grocery stores. They know us and keep away good food for us, that otherwise, would be going in the dumpster.
To be able to plan the meals on board, we like to know your food preferences ahead.
We accommodate most of our volunteers in sailboats, but you should expect to be staying on other types of boats, in cabins, hotels, or periodically even in tent!
Most volunteers will stay in different boats and periodically in cabins. We do our best to make everyone get their dose of sailing and boat life.
Our sailboats range from 26-49 feet (8-15 meters) and have 2-5 cabins each with single or double berths. Volunteer crew sometimes get their own cabins, but usually share the cabin with another volunteer of the same gender. We do not mix genders, but we may host couples that are already in a relationship, with any gender combination.
We have bedding, but you may bring your own sleeping bag if you like!
Security and safety routines
When not docked, at anchor, or sailing, all crew must wear a life jacket when outside- you may take it off inside as long as you know where you put it (for easy access).
Bringing guests to the boat, without specific permissions from the captain, is strictly prohibited. Though it is important to note that we enjoy socializing with the locals and sometimes invite them for dinner or waffles, especially if they might be interested in joining us on a cleanup operation 🙂
When the captain is absent, the crew is responsible for the boat and its belongings. It is important to realize that the boat is the place we live out our personal lives for weeks or months; consider that a stranger visiting should never jeopardize the comfort and security of the crew aboard.
A full security brief will be given on your arrival.
If you do not have the tetanus vaccine, or if it’s older than 10 years, you must get it before your arrival. Even if we use gloves and other kinds of protections, you may get scratches while cleaning dirty trash at the beaches, so it’s better to be safe!
Boat life is often associated with a culture of socializing and partying; while we are not necessarily wild party people, we are a part of this ‘culture’. We do enjoy socializing, meeting other people, and making new friends- sometimes for life (we hope :). When we are in the harbor, you are welcome to find pubs and clubs and enjoy yourself. But of course, we ask that you remember that the crew is the face of the organization.
Onboard, we allow drinking beer and wine when it is an organized onboard event by the whole crew. All drugs are strictly prohibited. The crew should expect to pay for their own drinks as the organization simply does not have a budget for alcohol.
Drinking is of course not allowed while sailing, and it’s not allowed when the skipper/host is away.
Some of our boats are equipped with camera surveillance in public areas and the main cabin. The surveillance is extra security for everyone, including the crew, while it detects intruders or other problems that may be a risk.
Things to learn BEFORE you arrive
This is the knots we use the most, which you should know with a blindfold before you arrive!
The clove hitch: https://youtu.be/wkb3h_dtKbQ (fender not)
The bowline: https://youtu.be/Q9NqGd7464U
The cleat hitch: https://youtu.be/KaF9lFn0Inw
Coiling ropes: https://youtu.be/vX4Zr0vdGHE
We also use the clove hitch around the standing line when moring.
If you really want to learn how to sail during your stay, you should read as much as you can about sailing, and watch YouTube videos, before you arrive. The minimum you should know is the names of the main ropes and equipment on the boat. This is a good guide: https://www.kavas.com/sailors-guide/chapter-a-the-basics/a3-beginner-nautical-terms.html
And here are some other interesting articles you should take a look at:
Article about the plastic problem
How to sail a boat
This article puts a realistic light on living aboard a sailboat
We have basic insurance that covers accidents when sailing, but it cannot cover any damage or loss of your belongings, nor accidents that happen when not sailing or working. You should have your own travel insurance before you start your mission with us.
We will not cover your travel expenses if you are returned at the border due to corona regulations or other reasons. It’s your duty to make sure you have the documentation you need and that your stay in Norway is legal, even though we will help you with making the documentation you need.
Running an operation like In The Same Boat, with sailboats, workboats, and professional tools and safety equipment is expensive. In our mind, the volunteers are our most important asset that ADDS value to the cause and to our important work, and we would never ask any volunteer to contribute financially!
Nevertheless, we do not get the funding we need to run the operation from the government, nor from the industries that have made fortunes on selling or using the plastic products that we pick up at the beaches.
So, we are dependent on the support from individuals to keep the wheels turning, or rather, to keep the boats floating!
That’s why we hope everyone that applies for volunteering, also will help us, by making a fundraiser on social media. This is made fast and easy, from this page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fund/inthesameboat.no/
To make the fundraiser efficient, you can make your personal text and describe why you want to join In The Same Boat, and why cleaning beaches is an important purpose. Telling that you are willing to spend months of your life on volunteer beach-cleaning, might inspire other people to make this opportunity for you, by supporting financially.
The crew member (you) are responsible for covering expenses due to damage you intentionally or by negligence cause to the organization boats, property, or equipment, or to any third party involved in our operations.
Belongings that you by accident leave behind after your stay with us will not be returned. We just don’t have the time and recourses to handle the mailing. (You will understand… !!)