Crew health and wellbeing

The global shipping industry is currently facing a health and wellbeing crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst most are adapting to working from home, many seafarers continue to carry out their valuable work at sea to keep global trade moving. It is important to recognise the impact that these difficult circumstances may have on a seafarers’ health and wellbeing. To assist Members in understanding and managing these issues, the Club has collated some useful resources which may also be of assistance to crews during this challenging time.

Seafarer’s Health Information Programme

The Club sees a number of claims each year relating to seafarers’ health and wellbeing, and with this in mind the Club works with the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) to raise awareness of the illnesses which can affect seafarers’ and prevent further incidents.

The information distributed under this initiative helps seafarers stay safe and healthy when travelling and on board giving guidance on eating healthily, staying fit and taking care of physical and mental wellbeing.

More information on this programme can be found at our dedicated page.

In addition to the Club’s collaboration on the Seafarer’s Health information Programme, ISWAN have released a video with mental health advice specifically tailored for seafarers, to assist them at this unfamiliar time.

Across the world many countries have implemented social distancing measures in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). The IVR have produced a leaflet on how to protect yourself and others when living/working on board.

Seafarer’s Happiness Index

For seafarers, living and working on board vessels presents a unique challenge. While the life can be an interesting and varied one, harsh weather conditions, increased isolation, lack of access to facilities and the pressures of the job can all take their toll both physically and mentally. As a Club, we recognise the importance of ensuring seafarers are healthy and happy in their work.

The Mission to Seafarers continue to undertake the Seafarer’s Happiness Index, a survey which acts as a guide to the wellbeing of those on board ships and allow us, as an industry, to address the issues faced on board and improve the conditions for people working at sea. The latest Seafarer’s Happiness Index can be found here.

The Club has also produced or shared access to a range of further material relating to health and wellbeing, which Member’s may find interesting and which we encourage distributing on board to ensure seafarers have access.


Project Martha, carried out by Warsash Maritime Academy, highlighted the dangers of fatigue at sea and its effect on performance and safe operation of vessels. The Club recognises that fatigue can lead to preventable incidents, and it is important that we take steps to prevent it from affecting seafarers. We partnered with industry bodies and experts in order to produce material to help Members avoid these issues and relieve fatigue on crew members.

Helpful Resources:

UKCS – Practical Guidance for Shipping Companies on Improving Mental Wellbeing

ICS – Handling a Mental Health Crisis or Emergency and Spotting Suicidal Behaviour in Seafarers

Further Support

Seafarers needing additional support can find helpful advice and details of people they may contact in the following places:

International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network

Mission to Seafarers

Stella Maris