Grant funding

Seafarers UK is a leading provider of grants to maritime charities and charitable maritime projects, working to help serving and ex-serving seafarers and their families who are experiencing hardship.

Our aim is to provide sustainable funding and improve the quality of life for those in greatest need.

We meet our aim through supporting organisations which provide welfare and support services for seafarers.

Our grants policy is to support seafarers who are:

  • Older seafarers, over the usual age of retirement, and their dependants.
  • Working age seafarers working at sea in the maritime industries, former seafarers under retirement age and Merchant Navy cadets and trainees.
  • Families and dependants of current or former seafarers who are still of working age.
  • Young people in maritime youth groups focusing on those considering or pursuing a career at sea.

In 2020 to-date, we awarded more than 80 grants, totalling over £3m

Seafarers UK’s policy and approach to grant-making is informed by the Maritime Charities Group’s Funding Principles. Seafarers UK’s grant making:

  • Supports seafarers: by providing funding to maintain and develop evidence based, bespoke services that respond to the unique needs and experiences of seafarers.
  • Encourages a preventative and innovative approach: applicants understand current and potential needs of beneficiaries and respond with preventative and innovative approaches that can be replicated and shared.
  • Has maximum impact: for seafarers, seafaring families and / or the wider maritime and charity sector in a manner that can be clearly demonstrated and measured through formal monitoring and evaluation.
  • Engages Seafarers: in development of programme or service design and delivery and actively encourages their feedback to improve services.

Before making your application, you will find it useful to read our Grant Funding guidelines for more details about how to apply.

COVID-19 Grant Funding Guidelines

We have also released guidelines for applications for our COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

We operate a continuous grant making process and assess applications on a rolling basis.  This means you can submit an application to us at any time.

Decisions on grant applications are made a minimum of six times a year.  We cannot guarantee that your application will be considered at a particular time and so it is recommended that you plan ahead.

Other documents that are useful to read prior to submitting your grant application include:

Please note:

  • Grant applications will only be accepted if your accounts have been submitted within the 10 month time frame as accepted by the Charity Commission.
  • Grant applications in excess of £10,000 can take a minimum of three months to assess and be considered by Trustees.
  • For grant requests of £10,000 and under it can take a minimum of six weeks before you hear of a decision.

Please also note that you must pass the grant application eligibility quiz before you can apply for a grant – this is all part of the online grant application process.

You may apply any number of times in any one calendar year. The only restriction (beyond our remit of supporting seafarers and their families) is that each application must be for a separate activity, project or service.

Merchant Navy Fund grants programme

We also have a separate Merchant Navy Fund grants programme (in conjunction with the Merchant Navy Welfare Board). This programme is aimed specifically at helping UK Merchant Navy seafarers and their families. The Merchant Navy Fund application process is the same as our main grants programme. Please refer to Grant Funding guidelines for more details.

If you wish to apply for funding you can do this via our online application system at any time.

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Please call if you are unclear on any matter or if you would like to discuss any aspect of your eligibility or application. Contact Grants on 0207 932 0000 or via email to  


Seafarers UK is committed to transparency and we work with 360Giving to publish information about our grants. Click here to see the grants we awarded or see our funder profile on 360Giving.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License which means the data is freely accessible to anyone to be used and shared as they wish. View a copy of this license. Please note the data must be attributed to Seafarers UK.

We are committed to achieving the highest standards in all our activities and are proud that Seafarers UK was awarded the PQASSO Quality Mark. Your feedback is welcome – whether you are a beneficiary past, present or potential, please give us some feedback using the form – there are only 3 questions! Or you can call us on 020 7932 0000.

In 2020 to-date, we awarded more than 80 grants, totalling over £3m