Help for individuals

Seafarers UK works with charity partners to support individual seafarers and their families. See below a list of organisations that may be able to help you.

We have also compiled a list of help available for all seafarers during the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Seafarers Advice & Information Line
    Free telephone service for seafarers and fishers on debt, housing, benefits, pensions, employment and relationships and family issues. Phone FREEPHONE 0800 160 1842 or email
  • SeafarerHelp
    Provided by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) – a free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers of any nationality, religion, gender or sexuality, and their families available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. A list of COVID-19 related resources is also available on their website.
  • Seafarer Support
    SeafarerSupport is a UK free telephone and signposting service. Seafarer Support assesses the needs of the individual and then signposts you to the appropriate support. Call them on FREEPHONE 0800 121 4765.
  • Sailors Helpline
    The Sailors Helpline is based out of Chennai, India. Its purpose is to serve the maritime fraternity of India with emergency social services. Confidentiality is of prime importance and all calls and emails in liaison with this organisation are kept completely private. It is an NGO and non-governmental in nature, attracting volunteers from the legal profession, the church and others involved in the industry.

  • Turn2us
    Turn2us is a charity that helps people in financial need to access financial help – it is for all people, including seafarers. They will help you find financial support, based on your circumstances. Their website also features a free and easy to use Benefits CalculatorGrants Search and other information and resources. For British seafarers only.

  • Cassiobury Court
    Cassiobury Court offers free help and advice for veterans who suffer with addiction and mental health problems.
  • International Seafarers Welfare And Assistance Network
    Providing various information and mental health support tools for seafarers, including an informative video by a counselling psychologist on how to manage mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Seafarers’ Hospital Society 
    Free mental health and wellbeing advice and support to all working and retired seafarers and their families through the NHS’s Big White Wall available online 24/7. Services include access to trained counsellors, a support network, self-help materials and one to one therapy.
  • Seafarers’ Link
    Seafarers’ Link runs free telephone friendship groups for ex-members of the Merchant Navy, the Royal Navy, and the WRNS, as well as former fishermen and seafarers’ wives, partners, family and carers. The fortnightly service is now  available weekly to support those suffering from COVID-19 isolation.
  • Videotel
    Provides free access to Seafarers Mental Health and Wellbeing training package to help seafarers deal with the challenges of life at sea, as well as a newly launched Coronavirus Awareness video.
  • Watch Ashore
    Watch Ashore is a not-for-profit social organisation that provides support and friendship to partners and families of Merchant Navy personnel.

  • Fishermen’s Mission
    Emergency and welfare support to fishermen and their families 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
  • Fishing Animation Programme
    Support for fishers accessing welfare and business support including help with EMFF and MFF Grant Claims and general information and advice on Universal Credit.
  • Seafood Cornwall’s #FishToYourDoor
    A new service that brings together fish merchants and customers across the country to support fishermen through the Coronavirus crisis. A pop-up on the website allows visitors to immediately register their interest in being connected to local fish sales and then match-make with a merchant behind the scenes.
  • The Seafish Industry Authority
    Provide advice and signposting service for fishermen across the UK as well as feeding information to various government departments in regard to the specific COVID-19 related challenges facing the fishing sector.

  • Apostleship of the Sea
    The Apostleship of the Sea is a Catholic charity supporting seafarers worldwide. It provides practical and pastoral care to all seafarers, regardless of nationality, belief or race. Their port chaplains and volunteer ship visitors welcome seafarers, offer welfare services and advice, practical help, care and friendship.
  • The Mission to Seafarers
    The Mission to Seafarers is a missionary society of the Anglican Church, which cares for the spiritual and practical welfare of all seafarers regardless of nationality or faith. It has a network of chaplains, staff and volunteers in 300 ports worldwide.
  • The Sailors’ Society
    The Sailors’ Society provides facilities for the world’s seafarers, affording assistance to them and their families, whenever and wherever this is needed. The Society is inter-denominational and, in seafarers’ centres or aboard ship, its Chaplains are always ready to provide advice and assistance – irrespective of a person’s belief or nationality.

  • CrewToo
    Crewtoo is the world’s largest online network of the seafaring community, with more than 112,000 members.
  • International Labor Organisation (ILO)
    The ILO is an arm of the United Nations (UN), which deals with international labor standards, and other labor related issues across the world. The ILO has been pivotal in the formation of the conventions such as the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC, 2006), Recruitment and Placement of Seafarers Convention (1996), Repatriation of Seafarers Convention (1987), Seafarers’ Identity Document Convention (2003) and more.
  • International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)
    ITF stands for the interest of the union workers associated with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Labor Organization (ILO), and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Affiliation of unions to the ITF enables it to negotiate the various interests and rights of workers/seafarers. Help by the ITF is rendered irrespective of nationality and/or the flag of the seafarer’s vessel.
  • Human Rights at Sea (HRAS)
    Human Rights at Sea is a charity that runs an on-going campaign to improve awareness, implementation and accountability of human rights provisions throughout the maritime environment. HRAS also runs the Missing Seafarers Reporting Programme (MSRP), the aim of which is to build an accurate international database detailing the status of seafarers and fishermen missing at sea on a global basis. For more information on MSRP, see here.
  • Seafarers’ Rights International 
    Seafarers’ Rights International is the international centre for advancing the legal protection of seafarers. It is a unique and independent training centre dedicated to advancing seafarers’ interests through research, education and training in the law concerning seafarers.

  • Seafarers Awareness Week
    Seafarers Awareness Week is coordinated and promoted by Seafarers UK. The website includes a comprehensive list of maritime training establishments in the UK.
  • Maritime UK
    Maritime UK brings together the shipping, ports and maritime business services sectors in the UK to speak with a single voice on key strategic and practical issues of joint interest. Its intention is to create “joined-up” industry positions between these sectors so that the maritime message can be heard clearly and with greater weight by legislators and other audiences.
  • Careers at Sea
    Packed with resources, the Careers at Sea website is your first port of call to being part of 21st-century seafaring. You’ll be able to find out about roles at sea, Merchant Navy training courses and the maritime sponsoring companies that could steer your journey to becoming a seafarer.
  • Maritime London Officer Cadetship Scheme
    The Maritime London Officer Cadet Scholarship (MLOCS) is a charity which provides the funds to enable young people to undertake the three to four year training required to become a Merchant Navy deck, engine or electro-technical officer.
  • Maritime Skills Alliance
    The Maritime Skills Alliance sets and promotes skills standards for the UK’s maritime sector. Much of its work so far has been devoted to developing a suite of interlocking standards and qualifications which enable employees to progress both within their specialism and between sectors.
  • Professional Yacht Cadetship
    The Professional Yacht Cadetship is a structured 4 year programme with one intake per year, which allows cadets to earn while they learn to train for a long-term career in superyachting.
  • Professional Yacht Cadetship Bursary
    The fund provides a unique pathway into the superyacht industry for those young people who have the potential but not necessarily the funds to access training. The bursary will allocate funds to selected young people to enable them to join the highly successful Professional Yacht Cadetship.

Seafarers UK works with charity partners to support individual seafarers and their families.