If you've signed on for an offshore passage with us, please complete the forms below. This information will remain strictly confidential and will be destroyed at the completion of your passage. It is however imperative that we have all of this on file for customs clearance and in the unlikely case of an emergency. Click the buttons below for the relevant packing lists. A printable PDF will pop up in a new browser tab. Thanks!
Note that your passport must be valid at least six months AFTER your passage is scheduled to be over. Most foreign countries require this and will not let you enter otherwise. So please make sure you passport is valid and within these dates. You also must bring a copy of your passport to the boat, or email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. We recommend using the smartphone app 'TurboScan' to do this.
On any offshore passage, it's of utmost importance that the skipper know exactly what each crew members medical issues are, however minor. Understandably, some people can get uncomfortable sharing some of this private information. Unfortunately, for those of you sailing with us, you just gotta do it.
Of course, your medical information remains confidential and will not, under any circumstances, be shared with the crew. We keep this on file onboard the boat in the portable medical kit, and once the passage is complete, you'll receive it back or we'll destroy it. In the case of a real emergency, it can quite literally save your life.
For those of you just curious about what kinds of questions to ask if you're sailing your own boat, feel free to have a look at the form below, and copy it word for word if you like! For those of you sailing with us, please complete the form and submit before the deadline you were emailed.
Nervous now after that? Don't be! It's standard operating procedure on any well-run oceangoing boat, especially with crew who don't know each other as close friends or family. Plus, the people who prepare the best, often have the least amount of sea stories (and I mean that in a good way!). Thanks for taking the time to complete this medical form.
Please complete the form below to give us some help on provisioning. We can't promise the world to everyone, and we're not running a restaurant! But, both Mia and I eat very healthy and are very conscious of what we do and don't eat, so we're happy to respect the preferences of our crew as well. In general, you can be assured of a varied and healthy menu on Isbjorn! Thanks for helping us!
November 1, 2014
by Isbjorn crewmember & friend Lee Cumberland
As someone who is new to the offshore sailing world, I had many questions before going on my first offshore passage. What do I pack? How much time should I budget? I thought I would share some things I have learned about being a crew that will help you be more prepared, less annoying to the skipper and other crew, and hopefully get invited back.
Limit your luggage to one bag. A large duffel bag should be all you need for a 3-5 day passage, more than that is not only unnecessary but more to move to and from the boat and more stuff the other crew members have to deal with on the passage. I found that I could fit three changes of clothes, foul weather gear, towel, and toiletries in my Henri Lloyd Sea bag with no issues. Showing up to the boat is everyone’s first impression of you. Get off on a good foot by having efficiently packed luggage.
Bring a sleeping system. Have a sleeping bag that you’re comfortable in; you’ll be in an environment that is completely unfamiliar. If all else fails, at least when your off watch in your bunk having a comfortable and familiar sleeping setup will allow you to get more sleep and ultimately have a better experience. Make sure the bag is adequate for the conditions the boat will be sailing through. It also helps if the material can be easily dried — god knows at some point water will find wherever you store your gear. If the boat is small, make sure to clean up your bedding area when you go on watch. That way it is out of everyone’s way when you’re topside and everyone else is living down below.
Pack for 20 degrees colder than you think you will encounter. Even in the summer the temperature offshore is always colder than near shore. Picture how it feels to be on a ski lift: you’re frozen by the time you get to the top of the mountain. Sitting on a boat with a 15-knot breeze can feel very similar depending on the season. The key is layers. I try to pack clothes so that they can be worn as separate outfits but can all be used together if and when you need extra protection from the cold.
Dietary restrictions? Think ahead and pack what you need. Let the skipper know ahead of time if you have allergies. A reaction offshore can be deadly. If you do have specific dietary preferences bring along your own supply of food. Be sure to share with the other crewmembers. You may introduce them to some new types of food, and by offering you’ll alleviate any tension made by being “some dude eating weird food.”
Bring something small and simple to occupy your down time. One of the best things about being offshore is it limits. Not having the option to work or be distracted with the routine and stress of daily life leaves you open to read that book you’ve had for a while or write that long letter to Aunt Jemima. An e-reader is nice and compact, but beware of the charging requirements. Paper books never need charging!
Keep all your personal items in your bag. Don’t leave your shit lying around the boat! It’s already a super small space and any clutter you can avoid will gain you tons of points with the crew and skipper.
All items must fit in one (1) soft-sided duffel bag. Make sure to carry-on your essential items in case your checked bag gets lost - it’s a good idea to simply wear your foul-weather jacket on the plane to save space!