Free Crew

Delivery Skippers and Boat Owners Who May Need Crew to Deliver a Boat

As you know a normal deliver crew is three people where the owner pays for three crew and their travel expenses. This can get expensive. Using OPO we can provide free crew who will pay their own way to and from the boat so you or your client saves a lot of money. Since our members volunteer for free you can take an extra crew just in case one drops out. The captain still gets paid, but the crew volunteer for free. How does this process work?

To Boat Owners and Delivery Captains

Free Crew Networking Service for Swan Owners – If you ever need crew to help deliver your boat we can help you get experienced offshore crew that will sail with you or your captain for free. If you are also looking for a captain, we have a small stable of what I call my Tier #1 skippers whom I have hired in the past and would trust with my life. Once you approve of them they know how to put a free OPO crew together. But if you have your own skipper please feel free to use our OPO services to get free crew. Some captains like to have a pro-1st mate so he can sleep with both eyes closed, but get a 3rd or even a 4th free OPO crew to complete the delivery crew. Extra crew do not cost anything except a little more for extra provisions.

How does this work?

OPO is a crew networking organization whose niche is offering offshore sailing opportunities to members. Over 2000 people have joined and sailed offshore through OPO since 1993.

Why do they crew for free?

OPO members sail for free for a variety of reason. Some are getting sea time towards a captain’s license and a new career. Many have sailed for years, but do not live near the water or have a spouse that shares their enthusiasm for sailing. Many cannot afford to purchase a seaworthy offshore boat, but do have the time, the experience and the means to sail other people’s boats and get their sailing fix through us. The owner pays for all boat expenses and on-board food; the crew sails for free and pays their transportation to and from the boat.

How do we know the crew will be any good?

OPO has over 400 active members, however only a fraction are “Gold Club OPO Members” who will be getting the opportunities to crew on your boat. These are sailors who have sailed with us offshore before and that we would be happy to sail with again. They have offshore miles (many of them on Swans having sailed in our Offshore Swan Sailing). Besides having OPO crewmember resumes on file, we also have them sign a “Code of Conduct” form. (You can review the “Code of Conduct” at

What is my liability?

No money changes hands which limits many problems. For overseas trips make sure the crew has a return ticket.. There is also a “Crew Waiver” form on our web site at that you can print for free and have crew sign before they come aboard.

How do I get crew?

If you or your captain is looking for delivery crew for an offshore passage, simply contact OPO at 1-800-4-PASSAGe (800-472-7724) (631-423-4988) or e-mail us at . E-mail always works. Phones might not be answered if I am offshore. We will need the details on when and where you want crew to show up. How many? Where are you going? How long the trip will take and a few details about the boat and other crew. We also need to know how to contact you. Once we have the information we need, we will send out a notice to our Gold Card member’s and they will get in touch with you. The more lead time the better to give crew a chance to respond and make travel arrangements.

What does the service cost?

The service is free to boats owners and captains.

What if I like the crew and want to adopt them as a son/daughter and use them again on my boat more often for free?

If you meet one or more OPO members that you like and enjoy having aboard, by all means call them up directly for your next passage or Regatta where you may need many crew. One Swan owner once told us “It is much easier to meet new friends that sail than it is to teach my friends how to sail”. Matching good crew with boat owners and captains is what we do. Delivery skippers and boat owners are welcome to foster relationships and directly contact past crew they like and enjoy having aboard. We call that a success story.

What if I am looking to hire crew?

We are not a crew finder agency. However some owners like to hire a responsible person to help run the boat or “Boat Sit” while the boat is in port. What better way to interview someone than have them come and crew for you first for free.

What if I need to hire a skipper?

If you are looking to move your boat to another location or to a regatta and do not have a skipper, we have a handful of skippers that have captained in our Offshore Swan Program and that we trust and recommend. Once you hire the skipper he can take care of organizing the OPO crew that will sail for free and pay their own way to and from the boat. This way you only pay for the skipper’s wages and his transportation to and from the boat. You save not having to pay crew and pay for crew airfare.

What if I want to crew with others?

We will be happy to help any owner who wishes to get more sea time the same opportunity to sail as our members. You can learn more and join at

Who runs OPO?

Hank Schmitt has been a lifelong waterman, starting sailing in childhood racing in JYRA on Long Island Sound out of Centerport Yacht Club NY. After sailing 420’s in school he graduated to work on offshore oil rigs for six years off Newfoundland Canada, Columbia South America, and French West Africa off Gabon and the Republic de Congo. When the oilfield went bust in the mid-80’s he moved back north to start another career on the water as a rigger, commercial diver and delivery skipper. Early winter seasonal winter breaks led to stints commercial fishing out of Montauk NY during the winter months from 1989 to 1994. Think “The Perfect Storm” movie and book about longline commercial Swordfishing industry. He took a 10 month break in 1992/93 and sailed solo to Spain for the start of a Jimmy Cornell’s event called “The America 500”sailing Christopher Columbus’s route to the Americas. Since rallies do not allow single handers, the return30 day passage was double handed.

From this introduction to the Rally concept Hank started the NARC Rally (North American Rally to the Caribbean) which had her 20th year in 2019 just before Covid shut the world down. Like the OPO Crew Network, our Rally is FREE.

While offshore coming back from Las Palmas Gran Canaria Hank came up with the idea for his Free Crew Network service OPO. Now in business since 1993 we have helped thousands of crew gain more experience. Many go on to buy boats and then contact us for their crew needs when making long passages.

Crew on Short Notice – What happens if you had a crew lined up and one drops out days before for a family emergency or any reason? How about a friend promised he would go, but last minute realizes he forgot to tell his wife or ask his boss? Since they are your friend they think it is alright and no big deal. But of course you were depending on them. Even with a short notice we can often still get a qualified crew by sending out a crew request to our 400 + OPO members. You may have to offer to chip in to pay travel expenses, but we can get you out of a jam and make sure you do not sail short-handed which can be dangerous and against your insurance policy.

Our service is free to delivery skippers and boat owners. Simply contact us and let me know what they are looking to do. If it sounds like a good opportunity we collect the information, write up a crew request and send it to all our active OPO members. The crew then contact you by e-mail with their sailing resume and you then work directly with the crew. They know they are volunteering for free and expect to pay their own way to and from the boat. If you are a new boat owner and want to get a better response from experienced crew you can offer a small travel stipend to get a better response from our membership.

What we tell our OPO members

I always instruct the owner or delivery skipper to make sure they respond to any OPO member who contacts them, even if it is only to let you know they have chosen crew and do not need you. That way you know you can go on to the next potential crew opportunity. It is common courtesy. Since they are not members and pay no fee to me I can’t 100% enforce this, but it is good that you know we try. Most of the time they are very good about this. As an OPO member you can respond to more than one passage opportunity at a time. Some owners take a long time to decide and they may lose out. Others will take the first crew who contacts them because they are confident of their own skills and just want a body or two to keep them company and wake them when something seems amiss.

Conversely we do not want OPO members agreeing to make a passage with someone and then cancel on them without a great reason and making every effort to find replacement crew by letting us know right away so we can send out another crew request as soon as possible. Just as you rely on the skipper or owner to have the boat ready for offshore, a big part of this is having the right crew in place. If one person drops out last minuet it puts the rest of the crew in a bind and possibly bad situation being short-handed at last minute. This will reflect badly on you and OPO and the owner and skipper will not use us again and worse tell others that OPO does not work.