Training Programs

On Boarding Training Program

On Boarding is a four-week training program followed by a one-week practicum to prepare new crew and staff for their time of service with Mercy Ships and includes topics such as Foundations of Mercy Ships, Faith Foundations, Personal & Interpersonal Development, Worldview & Culture, and some departmental training.

The program is currently offered 4 times a year (typically January/February, March/April, June/July, and September/October) at the Mercy Ships International Support Center (ISC) in Lindale, Texas and once per year at a location on the African continent.

Completion of the On Boarding training program is required for all crew joining the community of faith onboard, but is open to all volunteers. You must be accepted for a position onboard the ship before attending this program. There is no cost associated with this course, but each participant is responsible for their own travel expenses.

(For more information, please contact our Human Resources department.)

Introduction to Mercy Ships (IMS)

Introduction to Mercy Ships (IMS) is a weekend-long program held in the Netherlands designed to facilitate the entry of potential staff into Mercy Ships and is open to singles and couples wishing to learn more about Mercy Ships. Our goal is to help potential crew become as informed in their decision-making process as possible. The program includes topics such as the Mercy Ships culture, organization, training requirements, personal fundraising, Mercy Ships vision, core values and mission, and much more. There will also be personal time to meet on a one-to-one basis about Mercy Ships opportunities and to answer personal questions.

IMS will be conducted onboard the passenger ship, the m/v Horizon. Participants will have an exciting glimpse of living onboard a ship with a small living space and a strong sense of “community living” over the course of the weekend. The place of boarding is Rotterdam, Netherlands, which can easily be reached via train.

For questions and registration information, please contact our Human Resources department at [email protected].

Maritime Regulatory Training

Since our crew are living and working onboard, naturally some positions require certain licenses or maritime training. All non-medical crew joining for more than six months are encouraged to join us for Basic Training and Crowd Management. The courses are offered in conjunction with On Boarding.

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.