Fancy becoming one of Hermione's boatswains ?

Joining the crew of the Hermione as a boatswain is all about joining a one-of-a-kind seafaring adventure with a human angle, and sharing the values of the Hermione–La Fayette association (know-how, commitment, skill sharing, solidarity and enthusiasm).


Becoming a boatswain on the Hermione means active involvement in sailing and life on board, as well as sharing your experience at sea when welcoming visitors aboard during stopovers and at Rochefort in the frigate’s maintenance workshops.

Being a boatswain requires total commitment and excellent physical aptitudes, but it’s the ultimate experience when it comes to communal performance. Manoeuvring this warship does indeed represent a real physical and technical challenge especially since today’s crew is three times smaller than the crew in the past while all the difficulties remain the same!

The rewards include learning all the functions of a full sailor on board a tall ship, developing your qualities as an individual, socialising, and a unique and timeless sailing experience. All the qualities you need on board are developed through practice and the “Hermione” label is a guarantee of intrinsic values, skills and ability.


A sailor trained in sail manoevres.
On the Hermione, there are 56 of them, divided into 3 watch groups, who take turns in active duty during the ship’s 4-hour watches.

What do boatswains do on board a ship?

You can’t sail without boatswains!They are part of the full crew.

They are the driving force for manoeuvring the 17 sails on the frigate, whether they’re on deck pulling on the lines, or in the rigging 47 metres above the ship’s deck, day or night, in calm or stormy weather, for at least 8 hours a day. The boatswains also take turns carrying out safety rounds on board, they steer, provide visual monitoring, help the kitchen staff, and welcome visitors during stopovers.

Boatswains can be male or female and perform the same functions as a professional sailor on board. This involves learning over 200 naval terms and many complex procedures as well as memorising 250 rigging attachment points. Hoisting and swinging the heavy yards, seizing a sail and tensioning require intense and prolonged physical exertion. Climbing the mast to over 40 metres high day and night and in all weathers to trim or reef the sails requires courage and endurance. Steering, keeping watch and carrying out “safety” rounds requires concentration and meticulousness. Working in a team and living in a small space without much comfort during days that are very long requires excellent social skills and accepting the constraints due to proximity, your turn at night watch, etc.

How do i become a boatswain?

Each new voyage is an opportunity to give new sailors the opportunity to board the frigate.

If you feel inspired to become part of this unique experience, this is what you need to do to apply.


Currently the recruitment is closed

Step 1:

  1. Become a member of the Hermione–La Fayette association;
  2. Update your profile on your member space (In French):- indicating that you are applying for the boatswain training for the 2022 trip- by uploading your CV and cover letter in PDF format.

Step 2:

  • You will be offered an appointment for a climbing test on board, in Rochefort. Slots are available from July to September 2021 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m.
  • If your application is pre-selected, you will be offered an interview with Yann Cariou, Commander of the Hermione (via video or face-to-face).

Step 3 – if your application is selected for the training scheme:

  • The registration sheet for joining the boatswain course will be sent to you so that you can definitively confirm your registration for one of the boatswain courses. This file contains, among other things, a special medical certificate and the Hermione boatswain manual.
  • Between November 2021 and January 2022 you will take part in a 5-day boatswain course (accommodation and catering included in the training).
  • Once you have passed the training, you can register for a sailing stage.


The Association insists on the following points:

  • You must be a minimum of 18 years old and a maximum of 59 years old;
  • You must be in good physical condition and should not be afraid of heights (to be able to climb the mast up to 47 metres in height);
  • You should enjoy community activities and show team spirit;
  • You should have a taste for adventure;
  • You should be proactive and enthusiastic;
  • You should be able to give enough of your free time to volunteer and continue training on the ship at berth before you embark or to carry out maintenance work after sailing.

Boatswain training prices

Fees for the boatswain course are €850, supplies and accommodation costs included (this sum is a contribution to all the training costs required for running this scheme; a large part of the financing for this training is borne by the Association and its partners and sponsors, as well as those from the Fondation Hermione).

During sailing, a fee of €15 a day is requested from each boatswain (excluding stopover days, free days).

Boatswain training

Boatswain training is split into 3 parts, after which the boatswains receive a certificate that they have received boatswain training aboard the Hermione.


This 5-day training course is led by professional sailors and is supervised by the captain. It includes a theory section with the principles of sailing on a square rig, safety rules for working at height, how life is structured on board, and a practical section with ascents and manoeuvres on our practice sail.

Accommodation and catering are provided as much as possible on board the frigate, in conditions that are as close as possible to the conditions experienced while sailing.

Helping with the frigate’s maintenance

Before or after the boatswain course, before embarking on a leg or after having sailed, it is essential for boatswains to update and expand their knowledge of the Hermione by helping with its maintenance.

Embarkation during sailing

During one or more legs of sailing, embarkation is a good way to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the training course and from maintaining the frigate in its dock.

Embarcation of boatswains

For help with the cost of training and embarkation the Association offers several solutions:

  • 1 day of volunteering on the maintenance site in Rochefort before departure = €15 credit for training or 1 day of free embarkation;
  • Introducing new members: 1 new member sponsoring a boatswain =  €15 credit for training or 1 day of free embarkation. Be careful to clearly specify the surname and first name of the boatswain sponsored by the new member in the membership form.