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MHA Basic Crew Training

Basic Crew Training

The MHA Basic Crew Training program prepares volunteers to sail aboard MHA’s fleet of vessels, no previous sailing experience is required. Volunteers interested in crewing

are required to complete both the classroom and shop  sessions and on-board training sessions.

Requirements for Training:

- Enrollment as an MHA Volunteer.
- Be at least 18 years of age. Youths 14-17 years can be trained if partnered with a trainee-parent or other adult, with parental approval.
- Be physically capable of carrying out the duties of a deckhand.

- Submit $50 materials fee at start of course to cover the cost of the training manual and related materials.


Course Description:

The MHA Basic Crew program includes late winter and early spring classroom and shop presentations and hands-on skill training exercises. Trainees are also encouraged to participate in the April/May rigging activities that are required to ready the boat for the sailing season.

Upon the successful completion of MHA Basic Crew Training, trainees participate in any or all of the on-board training for the schooner Madeline, cutter Champion or MHA Small Boat Fleet. The on-board sessions usually take place in June after the boats are out-fitted for the sailing season.


TO REGISTER: Please see instructions included with the schedule (below): 

MHA Basic Crew Training Schedule- 2020





About Crew Training for the Schooner Madeline


Introductory Crew Training (BCT) Description

Part #1

MHA Crew Basics classroom/shop sessions (See Schooner Madeline Introductory Crew Training Overview for details).


Part #2 

On-board training conducted on Madeline, including

     -four evening on-board sessions

     -an overnight (optional)

     -a minimum of two Heritage or Community Sails as trainee/deckhand

     -participation in annual boat maintenance, commissioning/decommissioning work    



Attendance at all sessions is expected.

The $50 MHA Training fee covers the cost of the  Operations Manual and other associated training supplies and materials including crew tee-shirt and name tag.


Trainees are encouraged to purchase the following:

     -a good quality knife with a marlinspike

     -a US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD)*

     -good foul-weather gear


 *We suggest that new crew purchase their PFD after the Crew Basics sessions.


Trainees and crew members pay their own transportation and food expenses for all

Tall Ship events, other out-of-town travel expenses, and related activities.


All crew members are required to maintain a current Health Information form and sign a Release of Liability form and keep an MHA Volunteer Hours Log.


Training Outcome:

At the conclusion of the classroom and on-board Basic Training course, trainees shall demonstrate their knowledge and skills to be designated as deckhands. Deckhands may volunteer to serve as Madeline crew for Heritage and Community Sails on Grand Traverse Bay and on longer voyages.


Advancing to Deck Hand:

Complete BCT winter/spring training
Complete and submit BCT Skills Checklist to lead trainer by September 30, 2017
Complete two Community & Heritage Sails during summer season
Complete a minimum of eight hours of volunteer work for MHA, six hours of on-boat maintenance

Captains review and approve candidate for promotion to Deck Hand at a special meeting of Captains, Mates and trainers. This session is typically scheduled in October after the close of our sailing season. Trainees are notified of decisions following the meeting.


Additional training and experience and regular participation in the maintenance activities is required to be designated as Able Bodied (AB), Mate-in-Training (MIT) or Mate.



Schooner Madeline Advanced Crew Training (ACT)
for trained Deckhands, Able Bodied Seamen (ABs), Mates-in-Training (MITs) and Mates)


Schooner Madeline ACT Training includes classroom and on-board.


ACT classroom sessions (held in early spring) include navigation (chart reading, piloting, charting a course, use of GPS and radar); rules of the road, marlinspike (knots, splicing, whipping, mousing); sailing traditional rigs; and Great Lakes History, Music and Interpretation.


ACT On-Board is an mandatory one-day session held in late May and early June. Four to five days are scheduled from which may select a convenient day.


In order to maintain a crew member in good standing and sail safe, all crew designations must review and refresh their skills and knowledge of Madeline and her operations. These practice sessions include emergency training (man-over board, fire, abandon ship); pre- and post- sailing assignments, mooring stations, line and sail handling.


For more information:
Call the Maritime Heritage Alliance at 231-946-2647 or email at info@maritimeheritagealliance.org for additional information, for schedule updates.






Our location >>




Maritime Heritage Alliance
13268 S West Bay Shore Dr
Traverse City, MI 49684