Being built, launched and working most of her long career in Shetland, Swan has always had a strong link with the community. Both during her return/restoration, and now with her ongoing operation, the community of Shetland has supported The Swan Trust and its objectives and we look to give back to the community wherever we can.

First and foremost, Swan is a community asset which brings people together, whether on a sailing trip, as part of our volunteer base or through community events. With a particular focus on enabling youth sail training opportunities, we connect with schools, sail training and youth organisations, and undertake a range of youth sails every year. We believe our youth are our future and always enjoy seeing them learn new skills, challenge themselves and grow in confidence on our trips.

We value and help to develop the skills of our volunteer base, looking to help them as they help us, and work with partner organisations to enhance community events and funding bids for youth, community and other projects. We also develop/strengthen links between Shetland and other coastal communities, building Shetland's brand.

The sail training and volunteering experiences we offer are about much more than sailing/maintaining the boat, they promote mental and physical health, build life experiences, confidence, skills and friendships.

We are incredibly proud to work with the community of Shetland, and the work we do to both keep our heritage alive and offer life changing experiences for our current and future generations.

Follow these links if you would like to volunteer with, or make a donation to the Trust.

Examples of community work and links with local events:


  • Delivered sail training taster days to over 100 young people in Shetland, Orkney, Ullapool and Stornoway, to help build excitement for Tall Ships Races Lerwick 2023.
  • Worked with Sail Training Shetland to place 20 youth trainees aboard the Swan for Sail Training International’s Tall Ships Races and the Excelsior Trust’s Centenary Smack Race.
  • Held a literary evening aboard the Swan as part of Shetland Arts Wordplay Festival 2022.
  • Welcomed 21 pupil groups from Bells Brae, Sound, Baltasound, Cullivoe, Mid Yell and Burravoe schools aboard for half and full day sailing trips. In total 203 pupils, including ASN pupils, and 43 school staff took part.
  • Offered additional crew training days to all crewing volunteers, and included more than 50 volunteers in our crewing and shore support roles throughout the sailing season.
  • Worked with local Musician, Barry Nisbet, to offer his Sessions and Sail experience in Shetland for the first time.
  • Created new links with various local organisations, which included members of Ability Shetland, Moving on Development Agency, Lerwick Boating Club junior sailing trainees and Alzheimer’s Scotland Carers Group coming aboard for half day, full day and overnight sailing trips.
  • Working with Fair Isle Knitwear on their Artisans project.
  • Took part in training exercises with the Lerwick Lifeboat, Kirkwall Lifeboat and a Norwegian Coastguard Helicopter.
  • Presented the Vevoe Trophy to our Sail Trainee of the Year 2022 at our annual end of year gathering.
  • One of our volunteers was named National Historic Ships Marsh Volunteer 2022
  • Our skipper was awarded Sail Training International's International Sail Trainer of the Year.


While Covid control measures had an impact on what we could deliver in 2021, we were delighted to get back out on the water again. As soon as we could welcome passengers aboard, we sailed around much of Shetland, focusing on our core aims of youth sail training and providing opportunities for our community to see and experience the Swan.

Examples of this include:


Due to COVID-19 our planned 2020 activities were cancelled. However, we ran a series of What Swan Means to Me features, highlighting personal stories of the Swan.


  • We worked with Shetland's Youth Ambassadors, Shetland Islands Council, Shetland Schools and Environmental Artist Julia Barton, to bring an innovative environmental art project to the isles, which has long lasting legacy through the Shetland's Youth Ambassadors being trained to deliver environmental workshops on an ongoing basis.
  • Even though Swan was on a charter outwith the isles, The Swan Trust took part in Shetland Boat Week by opening its Sail Loft to the public for the first time.
  • We worked with Sail Training Shetland to place 10 trainees onboard for race one of the Tall Ships Races, from Aalborg in Denmark to Fredrikstad in Norway.
  • We opened Swan for an informal music session during the Shetland Folk Festival.
  • We worked with Shetland Amenity Trust, Shetland Tall Ships Company and Sail Training Shetland to submit a successful funding application to Event Scotland Year of Coasts and Waters to expand Shetland Boat Week 2020.
  • We worked with Zetland Educational Trust and local schools to deliver half and full day sails to local school pupils.
  • We helped strengthen Shetland's links with Faroe through both greeting a Faroese Flotilla to Shetland and Visiting Faroe on a 'Cod Hunters' Trail.
  • We presented the Vevoe Trophy to our Sail Trainee of the Year 2019 at our annual end of season gathering.



Want to get involved in maintaining and operating a traditional wooden sailing vessel? There are a number of different ways you can volunteer to safeguard, care for and sail this unique heritage asset.

Learn more

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