How can I get involved?
There are lots of ways that you can get involved in our mission to tackle plastics and toxics in the ocean.
- Come sailing with us – find out more about expectations and applying.
- Attend an event – find out more about upcoming SHiFT Sessions and eXXpedition events near you.
- Volunteer – tell us more about your interests and what you’d like to help us with by emailing [email protected]
- Donate – help us maximise our impact by donating through PayPal.
- Take Action – use the online SHiFT Toolkit to help you take action at home, in your community, in your organisation or even on your own sailing trip.
- Follow us on social media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Sign up to the eXXpedition and SHiFT newsletters for all our latest news.
Why are your voyages only for women?
Women are still underrepresented in STEM careers and sailing, and the chemicals in plastic and our oceans impact our bodies differently to men. You can find out more about why our voyages have an all-women crew here. However, if you do not identify as a woman, you are still very welcome at our mixed SHiFT Sessions events and to use our online resources.
Why have you decided to sail around the world?
As ocean plastic and toxic pollution is a global issue, we believe it is important to explore the impact in as many areas of the world as possible. We completed 11 voyages from 2014 to 2018, all over the world, and every journey teaches us something different about the challenges of plastic pollution and the variety of solutions available. During our Round the World voyages, we will have the unique opportunity to add to
Which boat are you going to be sailing on?
We are going to be sailing on S/V TravelEdge. She is a 70ft ketch. Please see the boat page on our website here for more information.
What is life like on board?
Crew members are split into watch teams and take turns to take part in all the required on-board activities, including sailing, cooking, science, cleaning, producing content to share your story and much more! Depending on the requirements of your voyage, you will take part in supervised night watches, too. We are working team on board – this is not a holiday – so you are expected to bring lots of energy and a positive can-do attitude so we can make sure we make the biggest impact possible (and also have fun at the same time!)
I understand that this is not a restful holiday, but what does that actually mean?
When joining us on board for one of our unique voyages, it is important to remember that the environment on board any working sailing vessel can be physically and emotionally challenging. Different voyages bring different challenges – some are long sailing legs, some are wet and cold, some are very hot, some may have rough conditions… these are real adventures and not for the faint-hearted.
We expect all individuals on board to take part in all activities, including hoisting heavy sails, taking an active role in night watches in all weather conditions, and contributing to all other aspects of living life at a 45-degree angle. Individuals on board will be living in very close quarters — this is not luxury living, but we find it comfortable. You will get to know everyone very well.
Please note: due to the nature of sailing a yacht with many moving parts, even guided by our experienced professional crew on board, there is always the capacity for physical or mental injury. When off-shore sailing or sailing in remote coastal locations, access to medical support beyond that of our medical officer on board may be limited.
What can I expect from taking part in an eXXpedition and what is expected of me?
For more details and expectations please see our additional webpage What to Expect.
What are you hoping to achieve with eXXpedition Round the World?
eXXpedition Round the World will see 300 multidisciplinary women spread over 30 voyages sail around the world in 2 years. The aims of Round the World are the same as all our voyages – we want to create a community of changemakers, challenge perceptions by sharing the real story of plastic pollution and support solutions-based science through our onboard citizen science programme. You can find out more on our Round the World page.
Is research still important? We know the plastic is there shouldn’t we just focus on cleaning it up?
There is still a lot that we don’t know about ocean plastic, including the true volume that is out there, how it moves and where it settles, where geographically it is coming from, what the product sources are and what the impact is on human health. The scientific data we will be collecting through citizen science is solutions focused, which means it is designed to inform upstream solutions that prevent plastic getting into the marine environment in the first place.
But we don’t just conduct citizen science into ocean plastic. We also research the toxics that are found in the oceans, too, and log marine wildlife to feed into global databases. In fact, we are usually running around 10 citizen science projects on board at any time, but projects may vary depending on where we are sailing.
What science programmes will you be working on or supporting during RTW?
For our Round the World voyages, eXXpedition will be partnering with internationally-recognised ocean plastic experts to carry out plastics-related citizen science, both at sea and on shore: Professor Richard Thompson at the University of Plymouth and Dr Jenna Jambeck at the University of Georgia.
Professor Thompson and his team of scientists at the University of Plymouth will be taking the lead on our sea-based science programme, while the collaboration with Dr Jambeck and the University of Georgia will be focused on land impacts. The impacts on local communities will be measured using a Circularity Assessment Protocol, developed at the University of Georgia, which looks at everything from waste washed up on coastlines to plastics in community shops.
Have you had many people wanting to take part?
We have had over 4,000 fantastic applications for the 300 spaces (last updated: 12/07/2019), which is amazing! This is representative of how much more visible this issue has become in the last few years. eXXpedition pre-dates plastic pollution becoming so widely known and discussed, so we are delighted to see this change happening. The women who apply to join us know that knowledge needs to be turned into action and they want to work on how they can make a bigger impact. Even though we’ve had so many applications, we are still accepting more. This is because we carefully curate the crew on board, so we are looking for a wide range of women for each voyage and we are working on scaling up even further.
Where do the guest crew women come from?
All around the world! We endeavour to carefully curate a multidisciplinary crew, who have a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Studies have shown that having a multidisciplinary team is effective in stimulating ideas and change. This has also been reflected in our experience on our previous eXXpedition voyages.
I’m a teacher/ artist/ marketing manager/ civil servant, not a scientist or sailor – is there a place for me on board?
We are looking for multidisciplinary women. This, of course, includes scientists and sailors, but we want as many different types of people with different backgrounds on board as possible. You do not need any sailing experience to take part – we have professional crew on board to keep you safe. See above answer.
Is there an age limit?
Due to insurance constraints, we can only accept applications from those who will be under 70 years old when they sail. For the same reason, the youngest you can be on board is 18 years old.
What are your time frames for applications?
As we aim to carefully curate a multidisciplinary crew for each leg this does take some time and we will continue to navigate our way through the applications until we have found a good mix of experience and expertise for each crew. Keep an eye on our website and your email (even the junk mail box!) for announcements as new voyages are released.
Who will my Mission Leader be?
The Mission Leader role varies depending on the voyage and you will be told who your Mission Leader will be during the recruitment process. You can find out more about all our Mission Leaders on the eXXpedition team page.
Your voyages seem expensive. What is the crew contribution for?
We do appreciate the level of commitment to join one of our voyages, both in terms of time and funding. Each member of our guest crew has to provide a crew contribution, which goes towards covering the cost of running the boat for their voyage.
This money covers the cost of the three professional crew, the Mission Leader, boat licensing, insurance, maintenance, logistics and operations, communications, science programme, food, fuel, boat supplies and port services. Additionally, eXXpedition covers the cost in part through corporate sponsorship, grants and donations. This enables us to increase our impact and complete more scientific research whilst on board.
Many of our guest crew run crowdfunding campaigns or fundraise to cover their contribution. Crew members have also had success with gaining funding from businesses, especially those they have a personal connection to. This could be a business you work for or an organisation that is based locally to you.
What do I receive in return for my crew contribution?
eXXpedition voyages are carefully designed with impact in mind, but from a practical standpoint your contribution includes:
- Accommodation on our sailing vessel for the duration of your voyage
- All meals, snacks and drinks on board
- Sailing instruction from our professional crew
- Expert knowledge, scientific instruction and workshop facilitation on board and with our land-based, local partners
- Safety equipment and foul weather gear
Contribution does not include:
- Transportation to your port of departure and from your port of arrival
- Transportation to and from our sailing vessel
- Any additional nights spent ashore
- Personal expenditure whilst in port
- Personal travel insurance, to include sailing offshore
What will we eat?
All eXXpedition voyages are vegetarian. Occasionally, on the longer voyages, we might catch a fish as part of our exploration into microplastics – we believe that in these situations we should use the rest of the fish, so it will be prepared for those who wish to try it. If you have any specialist dietary requirements, you will need to let us know in advance.
What should I bring with me?
We will provide a kit list appropriate for the climate of the voyage leg you are sailing on. The main thing to remember is that you will need to pack light because we have limited space – leave all your non-essentials at home – and try to pack as waste-free as possible.
Is this a party boat?
It depends on what you mean by a party! eXXpedition voyages are strictly alcohol and drug free, but dancing on night watches is a great way to keep warm and morale high.
Can I bring my dog/ cat/ parrot?
We cannot accept pets on board and, realistically, they probably wouldn’t enjoy it anyway!
I’ve heard that a lot of ocean plastic is entering the ocean from Asia, why are you not stopping there?
We’re working on it! For Round the World, we have planned our circumnavigation to intersect four of the five oceanic gyres and the Arctic, allowing us to collect cutting-edge scientific data and see the impacts on some of the nations that are most affected by plastic pollution. We are definitely scaling up our mission to ‘make the unseen seen’ and hope to be able to travel to Asia in the future.
Is eXXpedition a charity?
eXXpedition is not a charity – it is a UK-registered community interest company (CIC) with a focus on tackling plastic and toxic pollution, as well as the impacts they have on women’s health. Community interest companies are limited companies that operate to provide a benefit to the communities that they serve. The purpose of a CIC is primarily one of community benefit, rather than private profit. Each CIC is required to submit a yearly report detailing the activities undertaken and how these have benefited the community. This is an important document as it sets out publicly exactly how the CIC has met its obligations to deliver community benefits. Any payouts to investors must be reasonable and assets are subject to an asset lock.