Life Aboard

Life Aboard

When you arrive we will help you get your bag onboard and below decks and you can choose your bunk to sleep in. Once all the crew have arrived we sit at the table and welcome everybody onboard. To get to know everybody we go around the table and learn everybody’s name and a little bit about them. We then talk about safety and how to stay safe onboard. This takes time, but it is essential to make everyone safe and happy.

We then get the boat ready to go to sea and set sail. During the voyage we run a watch system. We normally have 2 Watches or teams during the voyage who take turns to look after sailing and navigation duties. Being on watch is your chance to learn about hoisting sails, steering, keeping lookout, plotting a course, and much more.

After breakfast everyone mucks in to ensure the boat is clean and ready to go to sea. With 18 people living onboard the boat can soon become untidy and it’s important that we spend time keeping it clean.

During your voyage you will travel to new places, make new friends and find out new things about yourself. Travelling by sea is the best way to explore Scotland and you will find yourself in some remote and beautiful places. There is also lots of wildlife to see on the way.



Take a look around Alba Explorer

“The best thing about OYT Scotland voyages is that you can escape everyday life. You get the chance to learn new things, visit new places and meet new people.”

Emma 16, Falkirk.

We may sail during the night, in which case the watches take turns to be on deck or in bed!
If we are not sailing at night, then the boat will either be tied to a pier or pontoon, or it may be attached to a mooring – or we may at anchor. If we are at anchor, then we take it turns to keep a watch over the boat during the night – this can be a magical experience.

The weather always changes in Scotland. You could have glorious sunshine, strong winds, rain or snow. Sometimes all at the same time. There may be times when the weather and the waves will make living onboard quite difficult and living onboard becomes a challenge, this is all part of the adventure. You will also get the opportunity to go ashore and explore.

At the end of the voyage, if you have earned it, you will get our highly prised end of voyage certificate. You could also get an RYA start yachting or competent crew sailing certificate if you have worked hard to learn about sailing.

Voyage planning

With one of the world’s best sailing areas right on our doorstep we’re spoilt for choice.

Our two boats sail all around the coast of Scotland and further afield. In March and April, and again in September to November, our boats are based at the James Watt Dock Marina in Greenock. During the long Scottish summer months from May to August we also sail out of Oban and Kyle of Lochalsh. Outwith these periods our boats undergo a comprehensive refit each year at Fairlie Quay.

From Greenock, we have easy access to the Firth of Clyde – one of the largest areas of sheltered deep water in the British Isles. With long sea lochs, picturesque islands and pretty harbours in its upper reaches, and to the south, the North Channel and routes beyond to Ireland, the Isle of Man, or westwards round the Mull of Kintyre to Gigha, our five and seven day voyages give plenty of scope to explore this exciting sailing area.

From Oban, we can stretch out to almost anywhere in one of the world’s finest unspoilt cruising grounds; from Islay and Jura in the South, or out to Vatersay, and up to Stornoway – all are well within out reach.

Every trip is different and it is not possible to state in advance the itinerary of a particular voyage. The skipper will plan the overall voyage and each leg of it taking into account the weather forecast and the capabilities and expectations of the young people on board.

Further afield, crewmembers on our Young Leader Development Programme have sailed to Ireland, the Isle of Man, France and The Faeroes; and, as part of the Tall Ships Races we have sailed to Ireland, Norway and Sweden.

Vessel Tracking

find out our current position

Click here to find out where our vessels are currently sailing.


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Ocean Youth Trust Scotland
Victoria House, 5 East Blackhall Street, Greenock, PA15 1HD
Tel: +44 (0) 1475 722 722

Registered Charity, No. SC029531