Youth seeking an adventure of a lifetime can apply to join voyages in Australia’s national Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour this year.

The Royal Australian Navy vessel’s 11-day voyages are for youth aged 16-23 and the vessel will sail from May to December in waters off the coast of NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

Liam Mackay, aged 23, joined Young Endeavour for Voyage 1 in February, applying after his planned international exchange was postponed. 

“The voyage exceeded my expectations – I was astounded by how much we learnt,” Mr Mackay said.

“The first few days were overwhelming. We had to learn every rope, every sail, how to tie knots and to climb aloft.

“Once we were able to process the new information, we started to really enjoy ourselves."

Each voyage culminates in command day, where youth crew take command of the ship for 24 hours, putting the sailing and teamwork skills they have learned into action.

Liam was chosen as youth crew captain and said the challenge was rewarding. 

“Command day really pushed me, it was a stressful 24 hours, but we gave it our best shot," he said.  

"One of the things that stood out for me is that each youth crew member has to become a leader. It wasn’t just the youth crew captain, sailmaster and navigator making decisions; we needed input from everyone.

“I learnt that being a leader doesn’t preclude the help of others.”

Aside from learning how to sail the square-rigged tall ship, Mr Mackay and his fellow youth crew had the chance to form strong bonds and to focus on personal development. 

“I thought the differences in ages might make it difficult, but it was easy to get along with everyone and I made great friends,” Mr Mackay said.

Youth crew are offered a place in Young Endeavour via a ballot that is weighted to ensure diversity.

No sailing experience is necessary. 

The program is delivered by a Royal Australian Navy crew who ensure the highest standards of safety and care, including new COVID-19-safe measures.

Due to those measures, main round offers will be made to applicants residing in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT. 

Applicants from all other states will remain on a waiting list until COVID-19 restrictions are eased. 

Since 1988, more than 14,000 young Australians have sailed in Young Endeavour, taking part in an inspiring youth development experience that helps participants develop self-awareness and confidence, and gives them an opportunity to build their teamwork and leadership skills through sail training and self-development activities.

Australian youth aged 16-23 can apply online at www.youngendeavour.gov.au/apply-now-2021