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Merseyside youngsters take part in thrilling Tall Ship experience

11 months ago

Merseyside youngsters take part in thrilling Tall Ship experience

Ten young people from Merseyside have set sail for the adventure of a lifetime onboard the amazing Tall Ship Pelican of London.

The Sir Ken and Lady Dodd Tall Ship Experience 2023, organised by the Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust (MAST) and proudly co-funded by Merseyside Police, will see 10 youngsters set sail from Barrow to Dublin over the course of six days.

The group of 14–17-year-olds from Merseyside have joined 20 other young people from Barrow onboard the amazing Tall Ship Pelican of London.   

The ship has been specifically designed to give young people an exciting and exhilarating seafaring experience for up to 30 trainee crew members.

Those taking part will experience the beautiful coastline from a different perspective and work as part of a team, use perseverance, initiative, and leadership to sail a Tall Ship to distant shores.

With the support of a professional crew and mentors, the young people will become valued crewmates and get involved with every task on board including taking part in watches, hoisting sails, climbing the mast, navigating, steering, and cleaning the decks and cooking in the galley. 

A young person on board the Tall Ship Pelican of London

Through these practical skills, young people will improve their teamwork, leadership, self-confidence, motivation, problem-solving and much more. 

MAST supports young people, particularly those who may be vulnerable or have additional needs, through the power of Tall Ship sailing voyages. More than 2,000 young people from all backgrounds have taken part in the sailing experience.

MAST encourages young people to become more resilient and to become active citizens. In doing so, they will make a positive impact in their own communities by improving their own mental health, wellbeing and aspirations.

Jim Graves, Founder and Chair of Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust, was awarded the BEM for his work with young people. The charity was also given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in 2019, for developing young people and making a difference to their lives.

Merseyside Police is proud to partner with MAST and work together to offer this life-changing opportunity for young people. The initiative, funded by the County Lines programme Project Medusa, aims to help young people stay on the right path by offering different interventions and activities. 

PC Nick Banlin from Merseyside Police will be joining the professional crew as a mentor and supporting the young crew members as they sail from Barrow to Dublin. 

Tall Ship
Jim Graves with Lady Dodd

Over the last few months, Nick has undertaken MAST’s dedicated Safeguarding and Mentor Training programme run by MAST’s Lead Mentor, Nicky Rea, to prepare himself for the trip. 

Before the voyage, Nick organised a team building walk for the young people to walk up Moel Famau. Together with two other MAST Mentors, this was a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other prior to the voyage and ease any last-minute nerves.  

PC Nick Banlin said: “I am really excited about going on the voyage with MAST. The crew and young people have bonded well on our recent team building walk and we are all relishing the challenge awaiting us.

“I am sure that this will be a life-changing experience for some of the young people, making new friends, learning new skills and experiencing things they could never dream of.”

Sheelagh McGovern, Operations Coordinator at MAST said: “I am delighted with the support we have received from Merseyside Police. In addition, I would like to thank PC Nick Banlin for his excellent organisational skills and the commitment he has demonstrated to both MAST and the young people we engage with.”

Jim Graves BEM, Founder and Chair of Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust, said: “Over the last number of years, Merseyside Police from the Chief Constable to all the ranks have been supportive in ensuring that MAST delivers its objectives of developing young people in their career pathways.

“They have not only provided young people to sail with us but have provided resources to transport the young people from place to place to ensure their safety and security. Their commitment and time given by them has been invaluable in enabling MAST to offer sailing opportunities and career development for the youth of Merseyside.”

Jimmy Belmar, lead for Operation Stonehaven at Merseyside Police, said: “We are delighted to partner with MAST and offer this opportunity to 10 young people from Merseyside.

“Operation Stonehaven, part of Project Medusa, is our preventative and diversionary pathway for young people who are at risk of being exploited. We work with over 60 partners to help keep young people safe and make a real difference in their lives. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact this trip has when they return.”

What can the young people expect from their Tall Ship Experience? A typical day on board the Pelican of London includes:


  • Wake up early for watch duty
  • Join friends in the mess for a hearty cooked breakfast
  • Happy hour! – clean the ship (but to music!)
  • Climb 100 feet high to the yards to set the sails
  • Admire the beautiful view and maybe spot dolphins on the bow


  • Join friends in the mess again for a feast of baguettes, meats and salad


  • Time to take the helm and steer the ship!
  • Off watch now, so relax with friends on the bow of the boat
  • Take in the sights and chat with new found friends on board
  • Start planning your tactics to win the next inter-watch challenge!
  • Watch the sunset over the horizon
  • Climb into bunk for a well-earned rest before the next watch!

The young people involved will be invited to an Awards Event on Friday 8 September at The Liner hotel in Liverpool, where they will receive certificates to acknowledge their achievements. 

You can follow their journey from Barrow to Dublin on Twitter by following @themastcharity or @merseypolice.

Get the latest for Liverpool HERE.



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