Day of the Seafarer 2018 was dedicated to crew wellbeing. This year that the theme leans towards another, equally important topic; that of “Empowering women in maritime industry”. However, operators should not forget the importance of investing in seafarers’ wellness while focusing also to the issue of attracting more females in the industry

Health is a state of complete mental, social and physical well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

... WHO

Health on board: key actions for ship operators

  1. Prior to employment, seafarers should be assessed for their competency to perform tasks or jobs
  2. Job training should be provided on the required competencies
  3. Information on health protection on board ships and guidance on occupational risks should be provided; including the harmful effects of alcohol, drugs, potentially harmful substance abuse, HIV-AIDS risks and related concerns, and other health-related activities
  4. Instruction courses, written materials, professional instruction, and supervision should be provided
  5. Participation in fitness activities onboard and physical activity on a daily basis should be encouraged
  6. Rest hours should be followed

It is crucial to ensure that good mental and physical health is not only a matter for the individual but for the organisation as a whole.

... Höegh Autoliners

6 important tips for seafarers

  1. Exercise; a healthy body helps a healthy mind
  2. Eat healthy, drink milk, sleep well
  3. Avoid injuries, be careful while moving heavy objects
  4. Be aware of occupational risks
  5. Stay motivated, arrange group games such as a Team quiz;
  6. Practice mindfulness onboard

The importance of mental health to seafarers’ wellbeing

Good mental health is important for the aforesaid personal wellbeing but also work performance. Let alone, poor mental health can lead to illness and reduced productivity. It is therefore essential to support good mental health among seafarers.

The action of several initiatives such as P&I Clubs’ PEME Programs, ISWAN SeafarersHelp as well as Sailors' Society, the international Christian charity and Apostleship of the Sea, the Catholic charity, and The Mission to Seafarers are supporting crews’ wellness of a number of vessels in various locations around the world.

To conclude, speaking about ways to improve wellbeing at sea, in the video below, Dr. Phil Sharples, discussed how mainstream healthcare is embracing technology to deliver higher quality medical care and how some of these initiatives could apply to the maritime industry during the last SAFETY4SEA Conference in Athens.