Boaters are a generous bunch and you’ll often find boating enthusiasts helping fellow boaters and organizations that are instrumental in giving back, either to the boating community or to local communities as a whole. However, some boaters who are interested in donating their skills and their time may not know where to start when looking for a volunteer opportunity.
Luckily there are many charities, both regional and nationwide, that work with the local boating communities and offer services and other charitable donations to the people and organizations that need them most. These charities are always on the lookout for volunteers who are knowledgeable about boats and who have the skills necessary to assist them in their many endeavors.
If you’d like to volunteer but haven’t yet found an organization that is in need of your particular skill set, read on to find out how you, as a boater, can give back.
Work with a Sailing Club
Investigate your local sailing club and inquire about volunteer opportunities. The club may need help with their junior boating classes, summer sailing camps, or advanced water safety courses. If the club holds a regatta or other events, they usually always need help in a variety of aspects. Additionally, those without boating skills can help by performing office work, website development, accounting tasks, and in a variety of other ways.
Sailing clubs are often funded solely by members, so by volunteering your time you’re truly doing a great deal to help.
Work with the United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the country’s military, but a great deal of its function is carried out by teams of volunteers. If you live near to a US Coast Guard station there are several ways that you can help with your boating skills.
Known as the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, these groups of volunteers assist with everything from harbor control to boats safety check and boater education courses. With a focus on recreational boating, the Coast Guard Auxiliary aims to ensure that America’s bodies of water are safe for all to enjoy and volunteers are instrumental in maintaining that.
Contact the United States Coast Guard for more information and to find a station near your home.
Refurbish a Boat for Charity
Many people know that cars can be donated to charity and that can often net people a tax deduction. However, some may not know that boats and personal watercraft can be donated in almost the exact same way.
These boats are often refurbished and sold in order to net the charity some much needed cash. If you have experience with boat engines or bodywork, those charities could use your help. By donating your time you can save the organization from hiring a person to do the refurbishment, which saves them a great deal of money.
Additionally, there are several organizations that build and refurbish boats in order to allow young people and veterans to learn the valuable skill of boatbuilding. Boaters with skills in these areas are always needed on a volunteer basis.
Work as a Sailing Instructor
While someone with boating skills could potentially find paying work as an instructor, for those who wish to volunteer their time, there are plenty of charities who would love to them on board. Sailing teaches a variety of valuable skills to those who wish to learn, and what better way to give back than to share your love of the open water with a willing student.
Charities like Life Sail offer free sailing and water safety classes to disadvantaged kids in southern California, but there are many more charities like them across the country. Additionally, local organizations like Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs and the YMCA might like to offer sailing classes to the children in their care but lack the instructors or vessels to do so. Local volunteers could step in and help these charities achieve their goals.
Regardless of the amount of time that you have to donate, there is a worthwhile charity that can use your help. Visit the Volunteer Match website for more information on organizations near you that can benefit from your years of boating experience.