Health Requirements for Volunteers

Mercy Ships crew live and work in a very unique operational environment aboard a ship. Although we operate a hospital ship, the medical services available to crew has certain limitations due to lack of appropriate medical resources or supplies, lack of diagnostic or therapeutic equipment, or unavailable medications or treatments.

In order to help protect the health and safety of our crew, certain medical conditions may disqualify an individual for service aboard a Mercy Ship. The demands of the environment as well as maritime medical regulations require all our volunteers to be in good physical and mental condition/fit for duty. As such, all applicants are required to complete a personal medical history and obtain a physical examination from their GP. In addition, all crew are required to obtain certain immunisations to comply with immigration and occupational health requirements prior to serving.

Currently, volunteers must be between 18 and 79 years old at the time of volunteer service. Applicants between 70-79 can serve for up to six months at a time and will be required to submit additional health documentation.

Certain medical conditions are always disqualifying, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Bi-polar Disorder
  • Cardiovascular Conditions (e.g. Cardiac Transplants, Pacemakers)
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Insulin Dependent Diabetes
  • Need for Medication with Immune Suppression
  • Need for Medication for Chronic Anti-Coagulation
  • Organic Nervous Disease (e.g. Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Recent History of Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Other medical conditions, depending on their severity, current treatment and your length of commitment may be disqualifying, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Age 10-79 (must submit additional health information)
  • BMI>35
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Depression (unless successfully treated and on a stable medication regimen, if medications are required)
  • Cardiac Conditions (e.g. Coronary Artery Disease)
  • Epilepsy
  • History of stroke or transient stroke
  • Non-Insulin Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Respiratory conditions (e.g. sleep apnea, COPD, severe asthma)
  • Severe Allergies

The final determination of an applicant’s medical fitness to serve is done on a case-by-case basis and may require the applicant to provide additional medical information. If you have any further questions regarding our medical guidelines, please contact our Medical Review Facilitator at [email protected]

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