SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Have you ever wanted to learn to sail? Are you a fan of antique vessels? The Michigan Maritime Museum is looking for volunteers to help sail its 1811 tall ship and is holding training courses in the spring.

The museum’s 2023 Basic Seamanship Training course will take place on April 22 and 23 and May 20 and 21 in South Haven. Participants will need to complete both weekends to be eligible to join the crew as a volunteer.

The vessel, named Friends Good Will, is a replica of a square topsail sloop that was built in Detroit in 1811. The museum said it was captured by both British and American forces during the War of 1812.

A crew member of the Friends Good Will. (Courtesy of the Michigan Maritime Museum)

“(Training) is a mixture of classroom training, on-the-boat training, hands-on training,” Claire Herhold, community outreach coordinator, said. “It will start by going over a little bit about our museum. We want you to be familiar (with) what we do.”

She said volunteers are taught the terminology of sailing and procedures of the museum, including dressing in historical costume when volunteering.

“We’ll practice some knot tying and we’ll get out and throw some heaving lines. We’ll go onboard the ship and start talking about the layout of where the lines are,” she said. “Then at the end of our May weekend, you actually get some on-the-water training.”

Once training is complete, volunteers can choose how often they’d like to sail. The season runs from Memorial Day Weekend through September.

“If you see (Friends Good Will) in South Haven, you know it goes out up to four times a day during the summer. Ninety-minute sails for the general public, and we sail with a crew that is made up of both staff members but also volunteers,” Herhold said.

For anyone who has volunteered in the past, Herhold said there will be refresher sails prior to Memorial Day Weekend. The training is free for all museum members. To register, please contact Captain Bob Harnish at or call 269.637.8078 ext. 105.