The importance of mental health and wellbeing is something that the MCA has worked hard with industry to promote and support.
‘Wellbeing at Sea: A Guide for Organisations’ and ‘Wellbeing at Sea: A Pocket Guide for Seafarers’ have been created by the MCA in consultation with unions, ship owners and maritime charities; and explore a range of mental, emotional and physical issues crew might experience on a day-to-day basis on-board vessels.
From feelings of isolation and fatigue to personal struggles of being separated from loved ones for extended periods of time, these two publications have been written by health experts and provide pragmatic advice to empower both organisations and seafarers.
Research has shown that poor wellbeing is linked with lower levels of productivity and higher rates of accidents and errors in employees, in addition to creating lasting episodes of mental and physical illness.
The introduction of these pocket guides strengthens the MCA’s long-term commitment to spotting early signs of people who may require help as well as providing suitable support to ship owners, who owe their crew a duty of care under the Maritime Labour Convention.
Furthermore, the guides explore the practical aspects of life on-board including internet access arrangements, crew accommodation, food, management, hours of work, annual leave and access to fitness and recreational activities.
Pav Hart-Premkumar, Human Element Policy Specialist at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, said:
“Our seafarers provide a vital service, keeping the hearts of nations beating and we can’t overestimate their role in our lives. But we also know that being away from home and family and friends carries its own difficulties and challenges.
“Seafarers live and work in unique and often challenging environments. Various factors such as being away from loved ones and working long hours can have a significant impact on wellbeing. Now, more than ever, we believe that as an industry we need to come together to raise standards of wellbeing for seafarers. However, this requires commitment from all levels of the industry, from ship owners and operators to seafarers themselves, which is why we’ve worked to produce these books.
“The MCA also continues to work with industry colleagues including the Maritime Charities Group and International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), to make further improvements which could potentially have positive short and long-term impacts on seafarers’ wellbeing and their work overall.”
These new resources will be shared during Maritime Safety Week and Seafarers’ Awareness Week.