High School on a Ship
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Practical information

On this page we try to help you take care of all the practicalities that go in to attending a high school at sea. Below we’ll share from our experience and tell you what you need to think about when it comes to visas, vaccines, packing and much more.

Documents that you will need before you start

  • Academic Reference Form: You'll need this for the application process. Two teachers need to fill out this form before we can schedule an interview with you.
  • Activity Waiver: You will need this form if you wish to scuba dive, surf, kite or wakeboard during your shore leave time.
  • Application form: You will need to fill this out in order to apply. 
  • Authorization form: You will need to fill this out before school starts.
  • Medical form: You will need to have your doctor fill this out before you start the school. Please note that you also need to get your blood type.
  • Parental Consent form: You need this form to enter Portugal if you are under 18 years old. The form need to be notarized. Please see the glossary if you need more information.
  • P-Skjema: Norwegian students need this form for Statens Lånekasse
  • Swim form: You need to have this form signed by a certified life guard or a swim coach.

Arrival day

Arrival day is when the school starts. Students arrive at Pier 6 in Kristiansand between 12 pm and 3pm. You should arrive as close to 12pm as you can. If you are travelling through several time zones, we highly recommend that you arrive a day or two early to adjust to the time zone.

Once you arrive you will go through check in where you will be assigned a watch and a student numbers (and thus a locker and hammock/bunk space). You will hand in your passport, your yellow ‘International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis’, the original notarized parental consent form, three passport headshots (34*45mm), the original medical form and medication if you have any for the medic to distribute. This is also when you show that your visas for the countries to come.

Once check-in is complete you will pass over the gangway and drop your bag on port side main deck. Once you have passed the gangway you have officially started the school and you will not be able to go ashore again unless shore leave is given. Your parents may accompany you and have a look around parts of the ship at this time. 

Once your parents go back across the gangway you can unpack and stow your gear. At 4 and 5 pm we will do safety and familiarization tours of the ship in watch groups.

Between 6pm and 6.30 pm all students typically muster before dinner. Shore Leave, if available will occur in groups of 4, after dinner.

Hotels close to Pier 6:


On the final day of the year, students walk in procession to a graduation venue where the graduation ceremony will take place. Speaches are held by school officials and the valedictorian. Diplomas, honors and awards are presented as well. 


Your home during your time at the school is a 212 foot sail ship that you share with 80 other people. There is therefore limited space, and requires that we pack light. SO PLEASE DO NOT OVER PACK. On board, you will have a small half locker and a foot locker/sea chest to store your belongings - that totals only two lockers.

Given the space limitations, baggage is restricted to items on the packing list and they must fit into a 70L bag (see below which one). Students should also bring a medium size back pack for day hikes and excursions. Other than that no other bags, boxes, or items will be allowed.

The list below is what we suggest that you bring with you. Please note that there will be many opportunities to refill certain items underway.

You should bring iron-on name tags and BE SURE TO LABELyour clothes, chargers and other personal items. This will make it much easier for you to keep track of your items. You should also bring some labels as you will likely purchase something along the way.

You do not need to buy advanced sail gear, or follow our recommendations below if you already have items that fulfill the same function. In general you need to make sure that you are able to keep warm and dry for the North Sea and the Atlantic crossings. Your rain gear should therefore keep you dry (waterproofness above 10,000 mm and 15.000 g/24h/m2). All your clothes should dry fast and they should be made in cotton and/or wool. Helly Hansen offers a 40% discount on their entire selection. Contact the admissions department if you would like an offer code.

In the packing list we have separated two types of clothing; clothes to use onboard (school t-shirts, and working pants/shorts), which should dry quickly (for example work out clothes), be durable, be able to get dirty, and be something you would work in. Clothes to use on shore are clothes you would wear at home. 

Women will need to bring one item of clothing that can provide complete coverage of the body, from wrists to ankle, for potential use when visiting Muslim countries. If you have already packed a pair of pants and a long sleeve sweater that would be ok.

The school colors are navy (tshirts, polos, sweaters) and grey (pants and shorts). You should find clothes in similar colors to the ones mentioned in the bullet points below. Color requirement does of course not apply to your casual clothes or your sail jacket. Working pants and shorts must be black or grey.

  • Navy = Google «Pantone 281C».
  • Grey = Google «Pantone 877C».

General items:

  • 70L Bag. We recommend this one (preferably black) from Helly Hansen 
  • Laptop (Mac or PC) with Microsoft Office Word, Excel & Power Point
  • Chargers (with adapters to Europe if necessary). We have European outlets on the ship, but remember that you will also go to places with American outlets.

Clothing Items: 

  • School t-shirts (5). You should plan to refill them underway. You can order these in June, and we’ll put a new link here when they are ready to be ordered. Norwegian students can order them shipped to their home. International students should send them to Fullriggeren Sørlandet, Kirkegata 1, 4610 Kristiansand. Label it with your name and Ben will give it to you when you arrive at the ship in August. 
  • School polos (2). You can order these in June, and we’ll put a new link here when they are ready to be ordered. Norwegian students can order them shipped to their home. International students should send them to Fullriggeren Sørlandet, Kirkegata 1, 4610 Kristiansand. Label it with your name and Ben will give it to you when you arrive at the ship in August. 
  • Shore pants (1) This pair should be suitable for school visits and to look representable in port. They must be grey chinos. 
  • Tshirts or tank tops (7). These should be work out clothes as they dry quickly, doesn’t take up a lot of space and are easy to clean.
  • Casuals clothes for use on shore (2 sets). If you bring shorts or dresses, make sure that they are no shorter than mid-thigh.
  • Non-school tshirts (2)
  • Non-school pants (1)
  • Non-school shorts (1) make sure that they are no shorter than mid-thigh.
  • Working pants (1). This pair should be suitable for work on deck, in the rig and for hiking in port. We recommend this one from Helly Hansen.
  • Working shorts (2): These should be suitable for work on deck, in the rig and for hiking in port. We recommend this one from Helly Hansen.
  • Nightwear (2): Pyjamas or similar. Former students recommend  sweatpants/comfy clothes.
  • Underwear (a bunch – minimum 10). You should plan to refill them underway. Women should only bring sports bras as they hold up better during laundry. 
  • Socks (a bunch – minimum 15 pair). You should plan to refill them underway.
  • Woolen base layer (1 set ). We recommend this top layerbottom layer for men and this top layerbottom layer for women – all from from Helly Hansen
  • Woolen sweater (1). We reccomend this one from Ullvang
  • Woolen hat and gloves (1)
  • Neck warmer; scarf and/or buff (1)
  • Swim suit (1)
  • Sailing jacket (1). This jacket should be suitable to keep you dry and warm in the North Sea and over the Atlantic. We recommend Skagen 2 from Helly Hansen. 


  • Cross-training shoes (1 pair) suitable for hiking, aerobics etc. They should dry quickly. 
  • Closed-toed shoes (1 pair) for working on deck or in the rig. We recommend these from Helly Hansen.
  • Rubber boots (1 pair). We recommend these from Helly Hansen.
  • Comfortable footwear (1 pair) for below deck/inside. The sole needs to be hard as you will also wear it on deck where you might step on sharp items. The shoes (for example slides or birkenstocks) should also be able to work as shower shoes. 

Other Items 

  • Pillow (1)  and pillow cases (2)
  • Fitted sheet for 90X200 cm bunk (1) 
  • Sleeping bag (1). You should chose a medium weight bag. If tou would like to regulate temperature more you can choose a light weight bag and bring a blanket as well. 
  • Towel (2) – they should be fast drying towls.
  • Toiletries (sufficient for 4 weeks). You should plan to refill them underway.
  • Feminine products (sufficient for 8 weeks). You should plan to refill them underway.
  • Hanging mesh bag (for transporting toiletries to/from shower area)  
  • Laundry bag (a bag that goes into the laundry machine and keeps your laundry together) & Laundry soap (2 week supply) (to be replenished underway). You will have one laundry cycle per week onboard when available. You should plan to use laundromats in port as well.           
  • Water bottle/travel mug with locking lid. It should have a small carbine hook so that you can hang it up and so that it doesn’t roll all over the deck.
  • School notebook and pen supplies. 
  • Diarrhea medication is always smart to have – just in case.
  • Passport headshot photos (3). They should be 35*45mm 
  • Small flashlight so that you can find things in your locker after lights out. A head torch might be practical.
  • USB Flash Drive (12 GB). An external hard-drive (optional) might also be good to have
  • A calculator that is AP approved (for students taking Mathematics, Calculus or Physics). Please see this link.

Optional Items

  • Sunscreen lotion/lip balm 
  • Iron on name tags and a black sharpie to label your things.
  • Personal medication/prescription medicines 
  • Sunglasses (with strap) 
  • Extra eyeglasses, contacts and/or copy of prescription        
  • Musical Instruments
  • Waterproof wristwatch
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Disposable Underwater Camera / GoPro
  • First aid kit with basic cold, cough, and pain medicine.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tablet  / IPadwith a water protective case
  • Small sewing kit
  • Journal book (bound)
  • Small rig knife / multitool

Be aware that during graduation (the last day of the school year), the dresscode is semi-formal under your cap and gown. You should if possible plan to have nicer clothes and formal shoes brought to the final port instead of bringing it with you on the ship.

Each student must have a laptop and this should be packed in a padded travel cover and placed in the backpack for travel. 

Students who play the guitar or instruments the same size or smaller may bring them along as additional baggage. Please check with the school and coordinate with other students before bringing musical instruments, and avoid bringing large instruments such as a cello or an upright bass. They will not fit.

All personal electrical appliances such as hair dryers are prohibited while aboard the ship. 

Over-ear earphones are not allowed to be used on board, so you should bring earbuds instead. You can also bring portable speakers for use on deck.

Parent ports

Parent Ports are scheduled twice a year; usually in November/December and in March. During these ports, no port activities are  planned and parents are welcomed to sign their children off the ship to spend time with them. Students will not have to report back to the ship until the specified time set by the school (usually the evening prior to departure). Parents are invited to schedule parent teacher conferences in which they will have a chance to talk to each teacher individually about their child’s development in the classroom – and the onboard community.

With the exception of these parent ports, we highly discourage unscheduled visits in other places. We carefully plan and schedule our itinerary, class time and port activities and visits outside of the parent ports may therefore be disruptive for the school program. If family is present in  some of the ports we sail into, a student will of course have a chance to spend time with them. This time must be scheduled during shore leave time, and you must inform the head of school. Students are still required to participate in rotating ship duties such as gangway watch, galley etc. so visits must account for these responsibilities.

Seeing that our school sails from port to port we cannot guarantee exact time of arrival. Weather, safety or other conditions may lead to early or late arrival/departure. In some circumstances a port can also be cancelled or modified. A Parent Port will not be cancelled or modified unless there are some extraordinary circumstances that force us to do so. 

During the school year 2018/2019 the parent ports will be in:

Buenos Aires, Argentina (November 7-12 2018)

Nassau, Bahamas (March 20-25 2019).

We will update this section with information about port location, hotels and airports close by once we have that information readily available.

Specific port locations and arrival times for the parent ports will be updated on this link, and sent out once we have that information. It`s worth mentioning that  some of this information may take time to obtain as we rely on a lot of information that is out of our control. You should also note that arrival days tend to feature a lot of waiting as mooring, customs and immigration in some places can take a long time. So if you wish to see the ship sail in to the parent ports, please be prepared that it might be a while until the students are ready to be signed of.

Rules and Expectations

A school at sea present some unique opportunities, as well as challenges. To ensure that safety and respect is in the forefront, there are some natural things that a student can and cannot do. We prefer to refer to rules as expectations. There is a significant differences. Where as rules outlines what one can and cannot do, an expectation puts the responsibility on the student. We outline what we expect and emphasize that choices to not uphold these expectations have consequences

Shipboard Language

Life onboard a sailing international school presents unique opportunities to learn new languages and improve the ones you already know. Usually there will be students, teachers and crew that speaks English, Spanish, French, German, Cantonese, Mandarin as well as other less spoken languages such as Scandinavian and Polish. The common language is English. This is the language of instruction, and maritime command. It is also the social languages in groups larger than two people in order to create a sense of community and encourage inclusion. We expect our students to speak English most of the time. It is often tempting to fall back on only speaking your native when you are in a group that speak the same language, but be sure to take advantage of this opportunity and use other languages as frequently as you can.


Securing the correct visas is your own responsibility. You will receive assistance in researching what visas will be required, but we urge you to consult embassies to ensure that you have obtained the correct visa. When inquiring about visas please explain the nature of the A+ Academy program, i.e., an educational program aboard a tall ship, sailing worldwide. Requirements may vary if you clear customs and immigration on board a ship, so be sure to mention it. The best sources of confirmation are the consulates and embassies.

Remember that it can take up to one month to obtain a single visa, therefore, do not leave this important requirement to the end. Always check the window of eligibility for visas, as some may only be obtained not more than 90 days before arrival. Please also note that some countries require that your passport is valid for 6 months after departure. You should therefore make sure that your passport is valid for 6 months after you finish your school year. A consequence may be that you will have to renew it underway, which is both a complicated and potentially costly process.

Please contact the Admissions department if you need documentation of travel in order to obtain a visa.

Please note that if visas are not in order for all countries to be visited, you may not be allowed to sail with us until the matter is resolved.

Parental consent forms
Some countries, such as Portugal and South Africa, require a parental consent form for all minors (under 18) entering the country. By signing the form, parents authorize the school to act as their child’s guardian during their stay in the country. Please note that the form must be notarized (for example at a court house) and should preferably contain an apostille. The student must bring the original copy with them. You will find the form at the top of this page. You will also have to bring a copy of your birth certificate for South Africa.

Visas to European countries
Most European countries are members of the Schengen cooperation and you will be able to visit all Schengen countries with a single entry or a multiple entry Schengen visa. We recommend obtaining multiple entry. Please check that the relevant port is a member of the Schengen area. A multiple entry Schengen visa may also lead to some visas (especially in the Caribbean) being waived.

Visas to the USA
For admission to the US, students will require a tourist or business visa (B1/B2). If you are a citizen of a country that is part of the US Visa Waiver program you will not need to obtain the usual B1/B2 visa. Instead you can apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) by using this link. Your local contact will in this case be the port authorities.

Visas you will need

Based on our research, these are the visas you will need for the 2018/2019 itinerary. Please make sure to double check these visas as your situation may differ.

  • China: Schengen (Multiple Entry), USA (B1/B2), Namibia, South Africa, French Giuana (France overseas department), Cape Verde (on arrival) & Saint Helena (on arrival). Bermuda should provide a waiver providing that the student has a multiple entry USA visa. Uruguay will provide a waiver if the student has a B2 visa to the USA or a Schengen visa. If the student has a visa to the USA or Schengen, (s)he will only need an Electronic Travel Authorization (AVE) to enter Argentina.
  • European Union: USA (ESTA), Cape Verde (on arrival) & Saint Helena(on arrival)
  • Mexico: South Africa, Namibia, USA (B1/B2), Cape Verde (on arrival) & Saint Helena (on arrival).
  • Norway: USA (ESTA), Cape Verde (on arrival) & Saint Helena(on arrival)
  • Russia: Schengen (Multiple Entry), USA (B1/B2), French Giuana (France overseas department), Cape Verde (on arrival) & Saint Helena (on arrival). Bermuda should provide a waiver providing that the student has a multiple entry USA visa.
  • United Kingdom: USA (ESTA), Cape Verde (on arrival) & Saint Helena (on arrival)
  • United States: Brazil (eVisa), Cape Verde (on arrival) & Saint Helena(on arrival)