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Top 10 Seafaring Charities

May 28 2019

You’ve finished your rotation and are looking forward to enjoying your hard-earned time off.  However, we often forget that it’s not easy for some of our fellow seafarers. There are seafarers and ex-mariners around the world today that are unable to support themselves or families. For many reasons resulting from illness, redundancy, financial hardship or death, these people need the support of seafaring charities to help them through difficult times. We’ve listed our top 10 seafaring charities that provide valuable support to those in need. We’ve provided links to each for further reading and contact information.

1. Scottish Nautical Welfare Society

The Scottish Nautical Welfare Society is dedicated to promoting the welfare of former seafarers, and their dependents, in retirement and through difficult times. We offer a wide range of services from holding social gatherings and subsided lunches to providing financial support and advice on welfare.

2. The Mission to Seafarers

Piracy, shipwreck, abandonment and separation from loved ones are just a few of the problems merchant seafarers face. Around the world, The Mission to Seafarers provides help and support to the 1.5 million men and women who face danger every day to keep our global economy afloat.

3. Seafarer Support

Sometimes we need a little help in steering a course through life’s problems. Seafarer Support will guide you and your family to some of the services available. This might include advice, or finding financial support, depending upon your circumstances. Help for Merchant Navy, Fishermen, Royal Navy & Royal Marines and their families.

4. Seafarers UK

Seafarers UK is a charity that has been helping people in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families. We do this by giving grants to organisations and projects that make a real difference to people’s lives, across the Merchant Navy, Fishing Fleets, Royal Navy and Royal Marines. In 2018, we awarded 76 grants totaling £2.46m to 56 maritime welfare charities.

5. Sailors Society

A personal lifeline for seafarers on board ship and when they step ashore in port. Founded more than 200 years ago in 1818, Sailors’ Society is a Christian charity supporting and caring for an often forgotten group of people. We are multi-denominational in terms of outlook, as are our trustees, staff and the service we provide. As part of our mission, we provide a wide spectrum of support services – chaplaincy, spiritual guidance and counsel, provision of welfare support to seafarers and their families, assistance with continuing maritime education and, in dire need, financial help.

6. Scottish Shipping Benevolent Association

For over 100 years, the SSBA has supported many people who have, at some point in their lives, been unable to support themselves or their families in times of need. Whether through death, illness, redundancy, financial hardship, or where they are just unable to financially support their own or dependent’s ambitions for training and advancement. They are a charity that gives funding and grants to people with current or past links to the shore-side maritime sector in Scotland.

7. The Watch Ashore

The Watch Ashore is a not-for-profit social organisation that provide support and friendship, to partners and families of Merchant Navy personnel. In 1933 the Watch Ashore lobbied for reforms and today, in 2015 the reforms we are lobbying for are remarkably similar – better conditions for the Merchant Navy, better safety, better training.

8. Apostleship of the Sea

The Apostleship of the Sea is a Catholic charity supporting seafarers worldwide. We provide practical and pastoral care to all seafarers, regardless of nationality, belief or race. Our port chaplains and volunteer ship visitors welcome seafarers, offer welfare services and advice, practical help, care and friendship. The Apostleship of the Sea in Great Britain is part of an international network known to the maritime world as Stella Maris, working in 334 ports with 227 port chaplains in 59 countries.

9. Merchant Navy Welfare Board

As the umbrella charity for the maritime charity sector, we promote co-operation between organisations that provide welfare services to merchant seafarers and their dependents within the UK.

10. Merchant Navy fund

Did you know that there is a network of maritime organisations available to help UK Merchant Navy seafarers and their families? Thanks to our long history as a maritime nation, there are established charities to help almost everyone in need, whether for support, advice or financial grants. The Merchant Navy Fund has been set up by two long-established charities and thus there will be no additional administrative charges.
We pledge that all the money raised for the Merchant Navy Fund will be used exclusively in support of charities caring for UK Merchant Navy seafarers and their families.


If you, or anyone you know, needs help then don’t be afraid to get in touch with one of these charities. It could be just what they need to get back on their feet again. Most charities have social media accounts such as Facebook – why not follow ones of interest to you such as the Scottish Nautical Welfare Society Facebook page ?