New dental health service for fishermen

We are delighted to announce that our Smiles at Sea initiative with Smile Together has been shortlisted for the Third Sector Business Charity Awards in the Project of the Year category. To find out more click here 

Free dental checks for fishermen and their families

Dental health is just as important as physical and mental health but when you’re out at sea it’s often not a priority. And if you can’t get to see a dentist or you neglect your teeth it can lead to significant problems later on.

That’s why the Seafarers Hospital Society has partnered with the Fishermen’s Mission and community dental providers Smile Together and Dentaid, to take dental health services into the fishing community. We’re providing free dental checks and follow-up treatment for fishermen and their families at a variety of harbourside locations. We’re using state of the art mobile dental units, staffed by dentists, dental nurses and drivers, to provide high quality dental care where it’s needed.

And this is now part of the SeaFit Programme.

Where have we been?

So far we’ve visited 11 different fishing communities in the South West of England, one in Yorkshire and one in the North East of Scotland.

Cornwall and Devon

At the end of June 2018 we spent two weeks with Smile Together treating fishermen and their families in 7 locations:

  • Newlyn
  • Hayle
  • Newquay
  • Padstow
  • Mevagissey
  • Looe
  • Brixham

arrow Click here to download the full report for 2018 

In September 2019 we returned to the South West with an expanded tour, visiting 10 fishing ports and partnering with numerous local health care providers. In total we saw 173 fishermen and their families over the course of the 3-week tour. Everyone had a check-up, and there were 40 fillings, 9 extractions and 81 referrals for further treatment locally. And it was all free.

The extra ports visited were:

  • Ilfracombe
  • Newlyn
  • Plymouth

arrow Click here to download the full report for 2019


At the beginning of July 2018 we spent a day in Poole harbour with Dentaid and returned in July 2019.

arrow Click here to find out more


At the beginning of October 2018 we provided free dental health checks and initial treatment to fishermen and their families in Peterhead as part at the first health check event for SeaFit. Dentaid were our partners this time. Over the course of three days they treated 21 patients. Everyone had a full oral health check plus advice on how to clean their teeth, there were 16 scale and polish treatments, four extractions and three fillings.


Free dental checks for fishermen and their families were provided by Dentaid in Bridlington at the beginning of March 2019. Working from their mobile clinic down at the harbour, Dentaid treated seven grateful patients in just over six hours. Everyone had a check-up and oral health screening, including checks for oral cancer. And there was a significant amount of work to be done with 17 extractions, four fillings and three scale and polish.

The checks in Bridlington were so popular that not everyone could be seen in one day. So we arranged for a local dental surgery, Bridlington Dental Studio, to step in. At the end of June they ran two extra clinics on the quayside and provided free dental assessment and treatment for another 12 fishermen and family members.


From December 2018 to June 2019 we piloted a monthly dental clinic for fishermen working out of Troon. We are now reviewing the results.

When and where next?

We’ll be rolling out free dental checks in more locations over the coming months. Watch this space for details.

To find out more about SeaFit’s work on dental health, call Carol Elliott on 07486 319 621 or email: