Since the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention [MLC 2006] in August 2013, Yacht Management Companies and Shipowners have had a greater responsibility to the welfare and well-being of seafarers.
With the ever increasing rise of social media and recruitment marketing campaigns, the yachting industry is portrayed as a prestigious, well paid adventure where crew can travel the world and live a jet set lifestyle. A campaign which sees several hundred aspiring crew flock to the Mediterranean each year to land their dream job.
In reality seafarers also face several challenges in their day-to-day lives. Many spend months away from loved ones and friends, work hard long hours and live in close confinement with several other people 24 hours a day.
All of these challenges can affect a person’s mental, emotional and physical wellbeing which in turn, can lead to mistakes and poor judgement affecting the safety of the seafarer and the vessel.
So what can Yacht Management Companies do to enhance the wellbeing of today’s seafarers?
- Manage expectations and communicate effectively
- Take time to visit the yacht in a non-official capacity to speak to the crew individually and understand any anxieties or worries they may be experiencing
- Encourage crew to be proactive and approach wellness in a holistic way
- Ensure crew have access to communications enabling them to keep in touch with friends and family at home
- Develop your own company policy for informing seafarers of the symptoms and warning signs of mental and physical health issues before they develop
- Establish a ‘Just Culture’ within the Safety Management System where seafarers are encouraged to report accidents, incidents or near misses without fear of retribution
Several companies around the Mediterranean also offer wellness coaching for seafarers that include fitness, nutrition, health screening and team building events. In addition, the growing App market offers a wealth of wellbeing and communication applications to enable seafarers to keep in touch with family and friends and be in control of their own health and fitness.
Since 2015, the Sailors Society has provided a ‘Wellness at Sea’ coaching service for seafarers serving on commercial vessels. The all-inclusive service aims to provide social, emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual support and training to seafarers in major ports around the globe.
The Sailors Society has recently developed an App which offers seafarers an interactive way to monitor their health and wellbeing from their Android or iOS device. The app also stores port directories and contact details for maritime welfare organisations.
By investing in seafarers wellbeing, it will not only contribute to the crew being safer, happier and healthier, but it will also contribute to the yacht being run more effectively and may also contribute to saving people’s lives and preventing future accidents.
For more information or advice on how to prepare your fleet, contact Shelley Dowie at Rosemont Yacht Management email@example.com