The paper explains that the traumatic events may interfere with seafarers' ability to function correctly or bring them strong emotional and physical reactions. The symptoms may last weeks, months and even longer. The help needed may comes from family and friends, but occasionally professional help may be necessary.

Authored by Professor Neil Greenberg of March on Stress, on behalf of Human Rights at Sea, the leaflet follows on from the 'Managing Traumatic Stress' guidance that was previously published. 

The leaflet has been sponsored by Seafarers UK through its grant to the charity, and it is supported and to be disseminated by The Fishermen's Mission, the National Federation of Fisheries Organisations, the Apostleship of the Sea, Thomas Miller P&I (Europe) Ltd and the Sailors Society


For the seafarer

  • Spend time with friends, family and people you trust
  • Re-occurring thoughts, dreams and flashbacks are normal-don't try to fight them, as they will decrease over time
  • Maintain as normal routine as possible
  • Eat well-balanced and regular meals
  • Try to keep a reasonable level of activity
  • Fight against boredom
  • Express your feelings as they arise to people you trust
  • But remember, you don't have to tell everyone everything

For family and friends

  • Spend time with the person
  • Offer your assistance and a listening ear, even if they have not asked for help
  • Help them with every day routine tasks 
  • Allow them some private time
  • Don't take their anger or feelings personally
  • Don't tell them that they are "lucky it wasn't worse" or "you will get over it"
  • Instead tell them that you want to understand and assist them as and when they would like you to

The campaign informs that the Fishermen's Mission provides UK wide support through their network of welfare personnel. Another source of help is the port chaplain, to whom seafarers can speak in the utmost confidence.

Further details may be found in the following leaflet: