Interested in Volunteering?

Project Liberty Ship relies heavily on its volunteers. They are not merely a part of our organization, they are our very heart and soul.

As with any worthwhile organization, Project Liberty Ship is always in need of energetic, dedicated people willing to help out with the many projects at hand. Our volunteers range in age from pre-teens to senior citizens, from landlubbers to experienced sailors, from people who are "all thumbs" to skilled craftsmen.


Those of us who do so know that volunteering with Project Liberty Ship is a unique opportunity: to learn about Liberty ships, about the merchant marine, about the Naval Armed Guard, and about the role of each in World War II. It is an opportunity to assist the Project, make friends, meet the public and learn new skills. It is an opportunity to work with men and women who share a common interest in learning about, preserving, displaying and indeed bringing to life a unique part of our nation's history. Our volunteers' knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment help to make for memorable and valuable experiences for our visitors and guests. And when you consider the contributions and sacrifices that our merchant marine and Navy veterans have made in the past while serving their country aboard ships like JOHN W. BROWN, we believe we have an obligation to give something back.

Within the Project and aboard the BROWN there are literally dozens of rewarding volunteer positions and opportunities that exist in different areas. While we particularly encourage volunteers who have current merchant marine licenses or documentation or similar experience, there are many meaningful positions that involve no maritime background. Special skills, knowledge or experience are not required, just a desire to help wherever and whenever you can. The only formal requirement is that volunteers be members of Project Liberty Ship. For your consideration we have organized our volunteer positions into categories and discuss them on a separate page. Please see our list of volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer Opportunities

Liberty ship S.S. JOHN W. BROWN is an operational, seaworthy ship licensed to carry passengers. As such the restoration, maintenance and operation of the ship is an extraordinarily labor-intensive, year-round and infinitely varied challenge. We require experienced maritime officers and ordinary sailors, oilers and cooks, machinists and medics, and just about every other job you would expect to find on a ship.

But the need is for more than volunteers with maritime skills. We need administrators, public relations and computer experts, people with office skills, fund-raisers, educators, historians, people to staff the Ship's Store -- in short, anyone with the time, energy and willingness to work as a volunteer. Surely somewhere among the following categories there is a job for you.


"You can't fire me: I'm a volunteer!" - heard aboard JOHN W. BROWN


Volunteer Postions Available

DECK DEPARTMENT: Volunteers in the deck department include both licensed and non- licensed personnel. The department is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the ship's structures and cargo gear, ship-handling while underway and general seamanship. Members of the deck department handle mooring lines, tug boat lines and the anchors, stand lookout and steer the ship. The Project offers training through which volunteers may qualify for Coast Guard documentation limited to S.S. JOHN W. BROWN.

ENGINE DEPARTMENT: Volunteers in the engine department are both licensed and non- licensed personnel. The department is responsible for the maintenance, repair and operation of the ship's boilers, main engine and auxiliary equipment in the engine room and elsewhere throughout the ship. Maritime experience, marine engine experience and licenses, SCTW qualifications and mechanical or steamfitting skills are particularly valuable. But regardless of experience there is work for you in the engine room. The Project offers training through which volunteers may qualify for Coast Guard documentation limited to S.S. JOHN W. BROWN.

STEWARDS DEPARTMENT: Members of this department prepare and serve meals for crew members during cruises. The Chief Steward and staff order, receive, store and maintain an inventory of food and other supplies.

OPERATING CREW: During cruises, members of the deck department, engine department and stewards department staff and operate the ship in accordance with Coast Guard requirements. Licensed and non-licensed mariners are needed in the following positions: master/chief engineer, mates/assistant engineers, radio operators/GMDSS, oilers, wipers, firemen and watertenders, bosuns, able and ordinary seamen, and stewards department personnel. Persons with emergency medical training are needed to see to the health, safety and well-being of passengers and crew.

ARMED GUARD: Armed Guard volunteers maintain and operate the guns and gun mounts aboard the BROWN and maintain the Armed Guard quarters in the stern of the ship.

SHIP'S OFFICE: Our onboard ship's office is the center for administrative support of Project Liberty Ship. Clerical skills are needed here as well as the ability to deal with the public in a professional manner. Prior office experience or working with volunteer organizations or non-profits is a plus, as are computer skills such as word processing, database and mailing list management and graphics preparation. We also seek individuals with experience in fund-raising and in website development and maintenance.

DOCENTS: Volunteer docents explain the ship to visitors, lead individuals, families, groups and others in tours of the ship, and help provide for the safety and security of the ship and of those aboard the ship. Through our Speaker's Bureau docents offer talks or presentations, aboard the ship or elsewhere, about the history and operation of Liberty ships, the merchant marine, World War II or related subjects, or provide information about cruises and upcoming events. Docents supervise overnight visits organized by our Youth Program, including Boy Scout, Cub Scout, Sea Scout and Girl Scout groups. During cruises docents assist in boarding and disembarking passengers, crowd control and safety and security.

SPECIAL EVENTS: Project Liberty Ship hosts different educational, cultural, social, veterans' group and other related events onboard S.S. JOHN W. BROWN. Our volunteers assist in scheduling and planning events, handling large groups of visitors, assisting visitors with special needs, and providing for safety and security.

STORE: Volunteers order, stock and sell merchandise in the Ship's Store. The Ship's Store is open during cruises and public visiting hours, and also has a mail order operation.

MUSEUMS AND LIBRARY: Among Project Liberty Ship's most important elements are our three onboard museums, with displays of artifacts and historical information related to shipbuilding, the merchant marine and the U.S. Navy Armed Guard. Likewise the Project has an onboard library of several thousand books, magazines, video and audio tapes and other materials relevant to the ship and its era. Volunteers organize and staff the museums, other display areas and the library. We need volunteers who can serve as curators, exhibits specialists, information specialists, catalogers, archivists, historians and restoration experts.

ELECTRICAL SHOP, CARPENTRY SHOP, MACHINE SHOP, PIPE SHOP: Volunteers may work exclusively in these areas or in connection with other assignments aboard the ship. Tasks include a variety of restoration, fabrication, maintenance, repair and safety and security responsibilities. Specific related skills and experience are particularly valuable but not required.

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