There is no TOTAL international answer to your question - laws vary from country to country and even state to state. I would suggest that you contact your insurance broker who would probably best be able to give you the answers you need.
Make sure that you have adequate liability cover and that it covers crew (unpaid crew).
Make your crew sign a waiver/indemnity covering at least the following:
- They acknowledge that they are participating in a sport/activity that involves personal risk and can result in injury or even death and that the owner and/or skipper will not be held responsible for any reason whatsoever.
- Acknowledge that there is no financial transaction or fees due between crew/vessel OR vessel/crew - that the crew berth is UNPAID.
- The crew (or his suitably qualified agents) has inspected the vessel AND qualifications of the skipper and any other crew and, as a result, personally accepts the risk of "travel" on the vessel.
You should also have crew sign and accept that they will pay their own repatriation costs should they leave the vessel for ANY reason whatsoever.
</font id="red"> The above is just a simple suggestion/guide from a layman. Consult a broker and/or laywer.
Beware of any money changing hands along the way (remember - unpaid
crew). If you have a "contribution" arrangement, split the bill at the cash register.
If the crewmember (unpaid) comes to you through an "agent" who has charged a "listing fee" or similar, a whole different set of laws apply - crew could
claim from the "agent". Likewise, crew paying more than their share of food and living expenses become "paying guests/charter" and commercial law applies.
The above should not frighten you or any prospective crew from enjoying a fantastic experience. Be careful and enjoy the voyage!!
P.S. Aso read the crew tips and advice at http://www.cruiser.co.za/crewfinder.asp
for more thoughts on the whole issue.