Pogoria 2017 / fot. Ewa Fijołek

STS Pogoria Trainee’s Guide

Why should you read this text before the cruise?


When you get on Pogoria’s board for the first time, especially if you had no sailing experience before, the imagined picture of life on a tall ship will inevitably confront with the reality. Usually, the reality differs much from the expectations, sometimes is disappointing at the beginning, but by the end of the cruise, a vast majority of participants is extremely satisfied with the experience they had. Frequently, those who just after the cruise said to themselves “never again”, are coming back. We decided to develop these guidelines, so you could create a picture of what awaits you on the ship, a depiction which will be more closer to the reality.

What type of vessel is Pogoria?

The attached drawings may give you some idea of the ship. Pogoria is a three-masted barquentine (a type of sail rigging) having a sparred length of almost 48 meters and carrying sails of 1000 square meters.

Her crew consists of 51 people, including the Captain, 4 Mates, 3 professional crew members and 43 young people like yourself.

What should you take with you?

Remember that the space on board for your personal exclusive use is very limited, thus take it into account when you pack your belongings which will have to be put in a locker above or under your berth and into the wardrobe which you will share with other crewmen. Also your bags will have to be put somewhere there, so do not bring stiff suitcases or rucksacks with you. Do not take expensive or valuable or unnecessary the loss of which could be hard to get over. You can survive without an iPod on the sea. You will have to take a good care of your camera, video-camera or other electronics and not to leave these items at any places unattended.

Things you should take with you:

  • documents: passport or ID and Seamen’s Book (recommended, not obligatory);
  • sea bag or soft bag for your belongings;
  • waterproof coat and trousers;
  • lace-up shoes with rubber (not plastic) sole and sandals in Summer. For your safety we do not allow to wear sandals or other open toed shoes on the deck.
  • T-shirts, spare trousers, shorts, jeans, shirts, jumpers, socks and underwear. Select your clothing in such way to be able to put it on in layers, to ensure insulation. Do not forget a warm cap and underwear also in Summer;
  • a towel and personal toilet equipment;
  • bed linen and a sheet – you will find pillows and blankets on your berth. Sleeping-bag if you like;
  • sun-glasses, protective cream, a cap protecting from the sun;
  • a book you like (you may have some time to read);
  • musical instrument if you can play;

Whom are you going to meet on board?

Obviously you will meet your colleagues, boys and girls, most of them in exactly the same situation as you. Some of them will already have some experience on board of Pogoria – they will probably be the Watch Leaders. The crew will be divided into four groups called “watches” and the Watch Leaders will distribute the tasks and duties among you to be performed. The watches are under command of Watch Officers (Mates) who are experienced sailors having a Certificate of Competency of Yacht Skipper, and often Yachtmaster. The Mate will give orders to your watch and take care about your safety. You will also meet the professional crew:

  • Chief Officer, who is a direct superior of the professional crew.
  • Bosun, who is responsible for the sails, rigging and all the devices on the deck. You may learn a lot from him.
  • Engineer, who is responsible for all mechanical and electrical devices. In heavy weather conditions he will help you also with sails.
  • Cook, whom you will help in feeding 51 people.
  • Last but not least you will meet the Captain, who is responsible for whatever happens on board and with the ship.

How life on board is organized and what are your duties?

The daily schedule is as follows:

to 0700 night silence
0700 wake-up call
0700 - 0730 morning toilet
0730 - 0755 breakfast

hoisting the colours and briefing; after the briefing, the navigational watch and galley watch eat breakfast;

personal clearance

0900 - 1300 programmed activities
1330 dinner
1500 - 1800 programmed activities
1830 supper
from 2300 night silence

Regardless the daily schedule, the ship’s duties or watches (in this case means not only the group of crew members but also duties fulfilled) are stood around the clock.  They differ depending on whether the ship is sailing, anchoring or mooring in the port.  So be ready that:

  • while sailing you will have to perform duties on the deck (a navigational watch) four hours in the daytime and four hours at night. During this watch you will be steering, setting, lowering or trimming sails, standing on the look-out post and assisting in the chartroom.
  • while in the port, you will stand the gangway watch (entrance to the vessel),
  • while handling sails it will be necessary to go aloft (climb the  mast and yards). No one is forced to do this, it is absolutely not compulsory and only volunteers go, but  we know by experience that most of you will try it sooner or later and some of you will become very skilful in it.
  • every fourth day your watch will have a galley watch during which you will have to help the cook to prepare the meals, lay the tables, tidy them up and wash dishes, tidy up and keep tidy the whole interior of the ship, especially toilets and bathrooms.

Moreover, every fourth day your watch will be free of navigational and galley duties from 8AM to 8PM (see watch schedule). In such case you will remain at the bosun’s disposal, from 9AM to 6.30PM with a break for dinner, to help him in keeping the vessel ship-shape.

What rules should you obey?

You do not need to remember all the rules before getting on board, but you have learn those given in bold.


The basic rule of life on board is SAFETY FIRST.


Furthermore the following rules resulting from the regulations and practice must be obeyed:

  • it is not allowed to use any mechanical, electrical,  navigational or radio equipment without having been  instructed on how to use it. Trainees are not allowed to take the seat of the radio operator in the chart room at any time.
  • going aloft and onto bowsprit is allowed only after training  and always upon the consent of the mate on duty.
  • before you uncleat (unfasten) any rope, make sure what this line is for.
  • it is recommended to plait (tie) or put into the cap your loose long hair, especially while working on the deck and aloft and not to wear any pendants, necklaces, rings or earrings which may hurt you when jammed in the rigging. Your finger nails should be cut short.
  • it is forbidden to run on board. It is forbidden to walk barefoot, you should use lace-up or fastened shoes.
  • trainees are not allowed to smoke on the board. We remind you about the signed declaration.
  • trainees are not allowed not only to drink any alcoholic  beverages while on board but even to posses them. Violation of this rule may result in immediate forced disembarkation (in the next port while at sea) and sending back home at your own expense.
  • potable water tanks capacity is limited so we have to save it. The taps installed enable quick water temperature regulation and turning off/on without necessity of repeated regulation. Therefore, you should get wet, turn off the water and after using the soap you can turn on the water again.
  • due to the risk of sewage system clogging, nothing what has not been eaten (except for the toilet paper) must NOT be put into the lavatory pan. We have plenty of water for flushing the toilet (the whole sea). You are expected to flush the toilet at least 5 seconds (15 seconds is recommended) after having used it.
  • you are expected to keep your personal belongings in the lockers and NOT on your berth (which should be made up during the day).
  • remember that persons who are bigheaded, sarcastic and such whose own wishes are always most important to them are not good companions.
  • the ship is not the best place for couples in love. If you want to spend your holidays with the dearest person whose eyes are fixed on you, we recommend to choose rather a tent somewhere on land instead.

What will you have to learn?


How to live in a team which is the crew of a tall ship - during the entire cruise.


Before the ship leaves the port, you will get familiar with:

  • ship’s interior and crew accommodation;
  • ship’s rules and regulations;
  • emergency drills and how to use safety belts;
  • location and usage of fire and safety equipment;
  • sails and rigging handling - the basics.

During the voyage you will have to learn the purpose of ropes and where they are fixed. It is not as difficult as it seems at first sight – there is a system and logics in it which you will get know. Many people have succeeded before you. In order to make the task easier and to enable you to learn  some basic terms, we have attached helpful drawings:

  • names and location of the sails.
  • running rigging,
  • pinrails










What should you remember?

The routes of Pogoria voyages are planned to give you an opportunity of seeing attractive places. The realization of the plan depends on two basic factors. One of them is weather which you and us have no influence upon.  Unfavourable weather conditions may make getting to the planned ports impossible. You have to face up to it because Pogoria is not a ferry, passenger ship or love boat. It is a tall ship for young people. Much depends on yourselves - your attitude to the training and working on board can help the captain to achieve planned goals as well make it impossible for him.

About us

Sail Training Association Poland  is an organization created by a group of people who strongly believe that enabling young people to spend some time as crewmembers on a tall ship makes sense and who enjoy doing this for you.

We believe that your cruise will be as successful as all previous and we wish you fair winds, following seas and unforgettable memories.


The Board of Sail Training Association Poland


Developed by: Cpt. Andrzej Szlemiński