Shipping is one of the oldest and most important industries in the world. Today, Seafarers UK seeks to support the maritime industry and encourage careers at sea. Words Madeleine Barber.

Could you imagine a world without potatoes, apples, bananas, or even chocolate? Because that’s the kind of lifestyle we’d be living here in the UK without the support of the global shipping industry. We rely on seafarers for 95% of our imports, which means that the UK’s ports handle over half a billion tonnes of goods every year. That’s more than a small lorry load per person!

Seafarers Awareness Week (20-28 June 2015) marked the launch of a yearly campaign pioneered by Seafarers UK, a charity that continually supports the maritime community. This year, the theme is ‘opportunities to work at sea’, so the campaign will promote education, training, and recruitment services leading to employment in the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy. It includes encouraging young people to take interest in working aboard everything from cargo vessels, fuel tankers and ferries, to cruise ships, superyachts and workboats.


Spread the word! Follow the progress of the campaign and work of Seafarers UK on Twitter @SeafarersWeek and @Seafarers_UK, or like the charity on Facebook. If you’re interested in a career at sea, check out your options at Seavision. Find out more information at and

Here are just a few examples of how Seafarers UK helps to make a difference…

Provide respite care

Support rehabilitation

A global 24-hour multilingual helpline, SeafarerHelp

Helping children of seafarers in need

Combating isolation

Bursary support for cadetships

Aiding veterans back into work

Emergency funding for The Fishermen’s Mission

Researching the future size and shape of the UK seafaring community

International collaboration for increased support for seafarers

And what they achieved in 2014…

173,786 people helped

70 organisations and projects directly supported by their funding

19 organisations supported for the first time

96 per cent of beneficiary organisations fully or largely achieving their stated outcomes