Life On Board
At sea, Bluenose II operates 24 hours a day based on four-hour watches. Much of the crew follows a schedule of 4 hours on watch duty, followed by eight hours off.
What the watch brings depends on the conditions at sea. On a good day, the crew is sailing, setting more sail and just enjoying the movement of Bluenose II on the water. Other times call for all hands-on deck. The entire crew is on watch, setting and striking sails and steering the vessel in more challenging conditions. The general rule is “the more the wind, the more the work”.
Catching a good wind is one of the most exhilarating sailing moments to be experienced on Bluenose II. Cutting through the waves as the wind stretches the sails and the vessel picks up speed is a rush that’s not forgotten.
The serenity that can present itself on the sea is just as powerful. Many have imagined that moment of sailing, no land in sight, surrounded only by calm waters and open sky. Few can say its part of their job.
There are times on Bluenose II that are all about working hard together as a crew, and then out of nowhere the sea offers up a perfectly calm day for everyone to enjoy. Sometimes there will
be a swim call. Everything stops so the crew can take a dip in the ocean. Once in a while, the dories will be launched to go rowing. During time off between watches, when crew aren’t working on a maintenance project or getting some sleep, they’re likely hanging out together.
In tight quarters on Bluenose II, you quickly become a close-knit group. In the evenings, someone always sees to have a guitar around for a sing-along on deck.
For every crew member, there are unique moments that make an impression during their time on Bluenose II. Some recall being rocked to sleep by the movement of the sea or the complete lack of noise except for the sound of waves against the hull. The feel of being on a vessel that’s constantly moving through water is hard to forget.
Returning to life on land is never quite the same.
Life As Crew
As any member of the crew will attest, serving the Bluenose II is a life-changing time. It is a chance to discover what it really means to work hard and meet challenges. Many come on board with no experience and by the time the season ends, they are amazed at what they have learned. The unique moments they experience stay with them long after stepping off the deck.
Being part of the crew is a chance to do something few people have the opportunity to do in their lives: see and travel the ocean aboard a traditional sailing vessel, keep it moving and visit places near and far to share with the public.
Apply as Crew
Bluenose II is a traditional wooden vessel with a full-time crew during the sailing season. An important part of its mission is to provide young Canadians with a chance to serve on-board and experience the tradition of sailing. Every year, applications are accepted from those interested in joining Bluenose II.
Typically, each year, the crew spends six months sailing and learning the ropes aboard
Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador as well as spending time in ports visited by Bluenose II.
Applications typically open in December for the following season. Please keep an eye on our Social Media channels, or the Deckhand - Bluenose II page to see when applications open.
The sailing season for Bluenose II begins in the Spring – April 1st and goes until October 15th. Of the 18 or so that make up the crew, there are returning members along with many new faces and first- time sailors. The crew includes the Captain, Chief Mate, Second Mate, Bosun as well as the Chief Cook, Engineer and approximately 12 deckhands.
An important part of its mission is to provide opportunity to serve on board and experience the tradition of sailing. Every year, employment applications with attached cover letter and resume are accepted from those interested in joining Bluenose II.