Training Programs

On Boarding Training Program

On Boarding is a three-week training program designed to provide a common introductory experience at the start of Mercy Ships service. Completion of the On Boarding training program is required for all crew joining the community of faith on board (long-term service) but is open to all volunteers regardless of commitment length. Before attending this program, you must be accepted for a position on a vessel. This course is free, but each participant is responsible for their travel expenses.

Successful on boarding of staff and crew means:

  • Participants are aligned with Mercy Ships Mission, Vision, Values, and Statement of Faith.
  • Participants are more aware of diverse perspectives, willing to express their faith and point of view, and can hear and accommodate opinions different from theirs.
  • Participants agree to stay on the Mercy Ships mission together, whatever their background, denomination, and culture.

The program is offered six times a year (typically January/February, March, July, and September) at the Mercy Ships International Support Center (ISC) in Lindale, Texas, and twice per year at a location on the African continent.

(For more information, please contact our People & Culture department.)

Maritime Regulatory Training

Since our crew live and work on a ship, some positions naturally require specific licenses or maritime training. All non-medical crew joining for more than six months are required to join us for Basic Training, Crowd Management, and Security Awareness. The courses are offered in conjunction with On Boarding.

Crowd Management: a 4-hour Maritime Training preparing the crew to deal with passengers and big crowds in emergencies onboard a ship and to locate essential safety and emergency equipment.

Security Awareness: a 4-hour Maritime Training to prepare crew to improve the overall safety of a Mercy Ship Vessel and their fellow crew members, and adhere to the ISPS code requirements.

Basic training: a 5-day training, accredited by the US Coast Guard that prepares the crew in the following areas:

  • Basic Fire Fighting
  • First Aid & CPR
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
  • Personal Survival Techniques

Learning Management System (

The Digital Learning Center provides online training for crew, for regulatory training, on-the-job training, and personal development. Our Learning Management Systems (LMS) ensures crew all around the globe have access to the training they need, when they need it.

Staff Development Onboard

The Staff Development departments onboard our ships provide continued learning and development support throughout a crew member’s journey, including leadership development, team building, cross-cultural learning, and foundational training about Mercy Ships.