Seafarers Awareness Week

Seafarers UK has coordinated and promoted Seafarers Awareness Week annually since 2010.

Each year we choose a fresh theme for Seafarers Awareness Week.

In 2020 Seafarers Awareness Week will highlight the challenges faced by merchant seafarers and their families during COVID-19.

Seafarers and their families have confronted unique difficulties during the crisis. Thousands of seafarers have been stuck on-board vessels, unable to get home, while their families may be coping without the seafarer’s income.

Seafarers’ families are used to separation, but thousands of crew are months over their contracts, and still stuck many miles from home – intensifying the normal struggles endured by a seafaring life. Families face uncertain times as they worry about managing their household finances, and the health of their seafarer, many of whom are lacking access to communications. Some seafarers are isolated on board, and families are worrying about their seafarer’s welfare.

Seafarers Centres in ports across the world, which provide respite and communications, have been shut, and Ship Visitors who offer a friendly face have been unable to go on-board. For those seafarers stuck at sea it’s a miserable time. The challenges of ‘lockdown’ and restricted movement mean that many are still waiting to repatriate after many months away from their families.

For others the reduction in global shipping and cruise industry has led to an uncertain future. Seafarers often move from one employment contract to the next. Many are unsure when they will next find work.


Please support the world’s seafarers, who continue to work tirelessly on the frontline of the global supply chain throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Donate online.


We must also celebrate thousands of seafarers who have kept trade moving. 95% of what we consume in the UK has come by sea. Seafarers and ports have kept working throughout the crisis to ensure that shelves have stayed stocked.

Seafarers Awareness Week provides a free promotional platform for the whole maritime industry to work with Seafarers UK, the UK’s biggest maritime charity funder, as we celebrate the vital role these keyworkers play, and highlight the challenges of being a maritime family.

There will not be any physical events this year but there are multiple opportunities for video, podcasts and other digital content to be created and shared. We invite our colleagues across the maritime industry and maritime charities sector to support this year’s Seafarers Awareness Week through virtual means.

Seafarers UK was formed as King George’s Fund for Sailors in 1917, so we have a long history of helping all who work at sea. COVID-19 is our biggest challenge since the Second World War, and we’ve released £2 million of additional funds to tackle the specific challenges brought about by the pandemic.

For more information please contact Nick Harvey, Campaigns Manager, Seafarers UK, email nick.harvey@seafarers.uk, phone 07910 593588.