Life at sea is a constant challenge, which ebbs and flows in much the same way as the tide. It is an unknown reality for the families who remain ashore and is only fully understood by those who experience life at sea first hand.
Seafarers can be away from loved ones for months at a time. They can have limited access to recreational space and away from home comforts, with fast turn around times in and out of port, it is not too difficult to imagine how easy it is to get stressed, worried and even depressed in such a demanding environment.
The overall quality of life at sea has improved down the years, especially after the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006; however, there is a lot of work to be done in this area and it involves more than just meeting physical needs.
Being well is more than just being fit to work. Seafarers are more than providers of labour, they are also individuals who are influenced by emotional, mental, social and environmental factors that affect their welfare.
The Wellness at Sea programme was created specifically for seafarers and seeks to address the human element at sea by focusing on five key components of well-being: social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual.
Once seafarers acknowledge that being well is more than just being physically fit to work, they will understand and work with the different factors that influence their well-being.
Wellness at Sea empowers seafarers to be in charge on their own welfare and the well-being of others.
Since its launch in 2015, Wellness at Sea has trained almost a thousand maritime professionals and students.
Every month, more and more training is delivered globally, including in countries with significant number of seafarers, such as India and the Philippines.
Another pioneering aspect of the programme is that it also offers a train-the-trainer session to prepare Wellness at Sea trainers. Once completed, the new trainers are qualified to deliver Wellness at Sea training to their company or institution, using their mother language to reach out to as many seafarers as possible.
Estefanía Morera is Sailors’ Society’s Programme and Community Projects Co-ordinator, she can be found tweeting here.
Sailors’ Society is not only innovating in the delivery of Wellness at Sea training, but it is also contributing to research on seafarers' wellness.
In collaboration with Yale University, we are conducting a survey to understand seafarers’ wellness and root causes of illness and injury.
This survey will help the Society record factors related to seafarer health, so that it can provide better welfare services and look at ways of preventing these illnesses.
If you are a seafarer, you can take part in the survey by clicking the links below:
English language version: http://ow.ly/rM8E30aETjp
Russian language version: http://ow.ly/DQ7l30bAMuU