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.

As a temporary measure, Mercy Ships has instituted an upper age limit for volunteers. While chronological age alone is not a determinant of overall health, during the current COVID pandemic, age has been identified as an independent risk factor of severe disease. In view of this, applicants over the age of 70 years old may not join for more than one year at a time, but can serve in a short term capacity in the absence of any health issues.

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

  • Insulin Dependent Diabetes
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Need for Medication with Immune Suppression
  • Need for Medication for Chronic Anti-Coagulation
  • 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:

  • Chronic Depression (unless successfully treated and on a stable medical regimen, if medications are required)
  • Bi-polar Disorder
  • Severe Allergies
  • Obesity (BMI>35)
  • Non-Insulin Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer

    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]

    Volunteer Today