Volunteering with All-Aboard!

** Unfortunately we are unable to accept any new volunteer applications, though if you would like us to add you to our waiting list then please contact us**

There is no doubt that the stretch of water in the heart of Bristol is a magical place to be. It is centre of All-Aboard’s community of like minded people who offer their help and support, to break down the barriers that may be perceived to participation in watersports, enabling everyone access to these brilliant activities.

Being a volunteer with All-Aboard is a fantastic experience. Our volunteers are a core part of what makes our organisation the success that it is; we could not function without them. From welcoming visitors to the centre, to helping to rig and maintain boats, to taking disabled users out onto the water; volunteering with us is rewarding and great fun, whilst also being a great opportunity to improve or learn new skills.

Volunteer Roles

  • Boat & Premises Management Assistant
  • Water Activity Assistant (including working with able bodied clients and those with additional needs)
  • Powerboat Driver (in order to apply for this role you must have a Powerboat Level 2 qualification)
  • Meeter & Greeter
  • Photographer
  • Events Support inc refreshments
  • Sailability/Accessibility Assistant
  • Peer Mentor (Come on Board/ Rocking the Boat Projects)
  • Minibus Driver (Come on Board/ Rocking the Boat Projects)

What to expect when volunteering for All-Aboard

When we receive your application we will invite you down to meet us and join in a session which interests you. We will ask you to provide us with a couple of referees and to fill in a DBS form.  Once we have had a chat with you and worked out what you would like to gain from volunteering with us we will “buddy” you up with another volunteer for a trial session and start you on some training.  We will ask you to log your volunteer hours whenever you attend and offer you the opportunity to take part in our Volunteer Reward Scheme. This allows you to be rewarded for your volunteering with us by an opportunity to attend one of our in-house training courses or session run by All-Aboard Watersports. Examples of courses can be found by clicking here.

Volunteers Testimonials of All-Aboard

Click here to read some of our volunteers experience’s of volunteering at All-Aboard!

To learn more about All-Aboard read pages 1 & 2 of the Bristol Evening Post Article.

Interested in Volunteering with us?

Due to our large team of volunteers we are not currently in the position to accept any more volunteer application forms. If you have watersport qualification then please email us as we would either be able to add you o our waiting list or offer you a volunteering role if you qualifications are a skill we need. If you do not have any watersport experience, then we would encourage you to work on developing skills in this area and attend some courses or sessions to build knowledge and skills in powerboating, sailing, paddling or rowing.  We hope to be able to accept volunteer requests soon, though unfortunately we cannot accept any this year. If you would like us to put you down on our waiting list or have specific unique skills that you think will be of use to us then please email [email protected].


Team Training Sessions 2019

As part of our free in-house training for volunteers and instructors, please find below our dates for this season. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator if you’d like to attend any of these sessions and we’ll update it in to TeamUp.

Tues 6-7.30pm and Sat 1-2.30pm

• Saturday 11th May: Radio Procedure & Aiming Higher (re-scheduled from 27th April )
• Tuesday 14th May: Aiming Higher & *Hoist Training (*swapped with 24th September)
• Tuesday 21st* June: Communication Resource Training & Radio Procedure (*date change)
• Tuesday 16th July: Hoist Training & Rescue Skills
• Saturday 31st August: Communication Resource Training & Towing
• Tuesday 24th September: *Bellboat & Raft Building (*swapped with 14th May)
• Saturday 19th October: Knot Tying & Towing


National Volunteers’ Week 2018

As part of National Volunteers Week 2018, we celebrated one of our volunteers each day as a way to showcase just a slice of some of the incredible work that they do to support us.

Friday 1st June

Robin Miller – ‘Shed Man’ and Water Activities

Q What do you help out with at AAW?

I take the Thursday morning over 50s rowing, help out with other rowing and sailing sessions when needed, and spend Tuesdays in the shed maintaining and repairing All-Aboard’s boats.

Q What was your motivation for volunteering for AAW?

I do it because I enjoy being out on the water and around boats, and All-Aboard is a great way of helping others from all backgrounds and abilities share that enjoyment.

Q What three words you would use to sum up volunteering with AAW?

Sociable, fulfilling and communal

Saturday 2nd June

Anna – Water Activities and ‘Meeter and Greeter’

Q What do you help out with at AAW?

I am a water activity volunteer.

Q What was your motivation for volunteering for AAW?

I retired from full-time employment and hadn’t planned what to do afterwards.  I came to CSAF at the recommendation of a friend and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I saw volunteers were needed and put myself forward and was accepted.   No stopping me.   I found that not only did I enjoy MYSELF volunteering with able/disabled children and adults but saw how much THEY enjoyed what we did together.   They learn from us as much as we learn from them.  Plus enjoyment all round.  All-Aboard get people out on the water in all weathers to learn many skills with which they can move on to new qualifications in the future if they want to.

Q What three words you would use to sum up volunteering with AAW?

Fun.  Enthusiasm.  Challenges.

Sunday 3rd June

Andy – ‘Shed Man’

Q What do you help out with at AAW?

From building boats and sheds or designing new storage for the instructor station, designing and building boat storage. Standardising the build of a fleet of optimist dinghies.

Q What was your motivation for volunteering for AAW?

Being bullied in to it by friends. When I retired I had a bit more spare time and been doing charity for 40 odd years. If I don’t have a project I get twitchy so like having things to do. Something that’s problematical I like solving. Started working with my hands again, after flying a desk for 30 odd years flying a desk was nice to get back on the tools but as a qualified electrician I refuse to use electrics. After running my own business for over 40 odd years that’s why I love the woodwork.

Q What three words you would use to sum up volunteering with AAW?

Three words just isn’t enough! Multi-faceted, love the charitable aspect of it, most of the people that are working here don’t get paid, it’s a ‘proper’ charity.

Monday 4th June

Jamie Watson – After School Club Sailing

Q What do you help out with at AAW?
 I’m a volunteer Sailing Instructor for After School Club.

Q What was your motivation for volunteering for AAW?
Personally, to get out and meet new people who I wouldn’t usually have a chance to get to know. I like to think that I’ve helped more children to have a chance to try sailing and hopefully inspire the next generation.

Q What three words you would use to sum up volunteering with AAW?
Volunteers with AAW are always inclusive, friendly and enthusiastic.

Tuesday 5th June

Jill Markham – Sailability Volunteer

Q What do you help out with at AAW? 
I volunteer on the Sailability sessions.

Q What was your motivation for volunteering for AAW?
Having worked in education I wanted to continue that contact with people and I love the water. Watersports gives a new confidence and positivity to our clients and volunteers alike. I love the teamwork and am always learning new skills.

Q What three words you would use to sum up volunteering with AAW?
Fun. Sociable. Rewarding

Wednesday 6th June

Mike Chorlton – Activity & Sailability Volunteer 

Q What do you help out with at AAW? 

I am an Activity Volunteer and a Sailability Assistant.

Q What was your motivation for volunteering for AAW?

I was lured into All-Aboard by my good friend and now ex instructor Ernie Wise. A few years ago he invited me to try an over 55 taster course in sailing, it cost me £3 for three hours which I thought was a wonderful experience. When I came off the water I was asked are you coming back next week, so I thought wow this is good. After a few weeks I was given a R.Y.A. level 3 sailing certificate. Everything about the centre impressed me and I thought ‘how can I keep this going?’, so I offered to volunteer and was duly accepted but not only accepted, I was given so much training P.B.2 , Health and safety, First Aid, Disability Awareness and so much more. My time at All-Aboard has truly been an awesome experience and I enjoy helping others to find the same level of enjoyment.

Q What was your motivation for volunteering for AAW?

‘Delivering Awesome Experiences’

Thursday 7th June

Lucy Daniels – Volunteer Instructor

Q What do you help out with at AAW?

I help out by volunteering as a Dinghy Instructor on after school clubs on a Wednesday, and have done so before as an Assistant Instructor, I also sometimes help out with holiday club or on weekends.

Q What was your motivation for volunteering for AAW?

I sort of fell into volunteering, as I kept coming sailing after passing all the youth stages, and ended up helping with the sessions as there was little they could teach me while also instructing beginners. I now enjoy volunteering as it’s really rewarding seeing kids find confidence in themselves and learn a new skill, something I gained from AAW when I learned to sail here. In a way it’s passing on that experience, the joy of sailing and the experience of having a new and quite rare skill.

Q What was your motivation for volunteering for AAW?
Rewarding, hilarious, fun.