On Clearwater, trainees are hired by the captains to complement the efforts of the paid crew. A trainee by definition is someone who works for little or no money in exchange for the opportunity to learn a skill or trade.

The Sailing Trainee position lasts for one month, during which two hired trainees live and work aboard the sloop alongside the professional crew. They participate in all crew activities, including sailing, maintenance and education, and are given the opportunity to contribute their own special talents to the overall effort.

  • Climbing AloftSailing traineeships run monthly from April 1 through October 31. Sailing trainees receive a stipend of $75 per five-day workweek, plus room and full board.
  • Winter maintenance traineeships run monthly from November 1 through March 31; winter trainees receive $100 per five-day workweek, plus room and limited board.
  • Please note: Trainees are subject to pre-employment drug testing and random drug testing, under US Coast Guard and Department of Transportation regulations.

A Sailing Traineeship is open to anyone 16 years and older, who is physically and mentally willing and able to work outdoors eight to ten hours a day. Prior sailing or teaching experience is not required.


Ability and willingness to do a variety of jobs, rain or shine. These can include basic household chores, basic seamanship, line handling of running, rigging and dock lines, and teaching students a variety of environmental and shipboard subjects.

Ability to work and live cooperatively in close quarters with the rest of the crew, in calm or stressful conditions.

Enthusiasm and ability to learn new things quickly.

Enthusiasm and ability to interact intelligently with passengers and the public.

Also handy are skills in:


traditional maritime skills

education, environmental science or activism



first aid/first responder (certifications are highly desirable )

In compliance with United States Coast Guard regulations, trainees will be required to pass a urine drug screen before beginning work, and will be subject to random drug testing throughout the duration of their traineeship. Testing positive for illegal drugs in the pre-employment drug test will result in the withdrawal of traineeship offer.

When Applying:

Apply early.

Keep us informed of changes in your availability and how to reach you.

The months of June, July and August are highly competitive; we recommend prior experience on board as a volunteer or, at a minimum, a day spent aboard and an interview.

Winter maintenance traineeships can be less competitive, though no less rewarding, but the applicant must be prepared for working outside in winter weather. The winter traineeships also offer the possibility of one months’ extension.

Arrange to visit the sloop, either during the sailing season or in Kingston, NY during the winter maintenance period.  We recommend meeting with one of the captains and acquainting yourself with this unconventional job and living situation before committing to a full month on board.

Click here to submit your Sailing Traineeship Application online, or click here for the Application in pdf form.  NOTE: Applications submitted online results in a shorter processing time.

Please return completed pdf or printed application to: crewapps@clearwater.org, or Captains, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, 724 Wolcott Ave., Beacon, NY 12508