CORONAVIRUS – Support from the Society

We are working hard to support our seafarers during these difficult times and, as far as possible, it’s business as usual. We are working closely with our partners to ensure that grant applications are processed as quickly as possible. Apply as usual through third party caseworkers including SAIL, SSAFA, the Fishermen’s Mission and Nautilus.

Maritime Anchor Fund

If you are a working seafarer and you’re suffering financial hardship due to Covid-19, a new source of help is now available thanks to Seafarers UK. From 1 December 2020 any working seafarer based in the UK can apply to the Maritime Anchor Fund which is being administered through the Seafarers’ Advice and Information Line (SAIL). The fund includes financial support, benefits and debt advice from SAIL, access to free relationship counselling from Relate and mental health and wellbeing advice and support from Togetherall which is funded by the Society.

To find out more contact SAIL.

0800 160 1842

Nautilus Covid19  hardship grant

If you are a Nautilus member and are struggling to buy food and other essential items as a result of the Coronavirus, you can apply for a special fast-tracked hardship grant while you wait for your first benefit payment.

arrow Click here to find out more

The Seafarers Hospital Society makes grants to seafarers in need

Life can be unpredictable, no matter how carefully you plan. Sudden illness, unexpected changes in circumstances, the loss of someone you love – they can all cause financial problems as well as emotional distress.

At times like these a few hundred pounds can make all the difference. That’s where the Seafarers Hospital Society may be able to help.

In 2018 we gave grants worth £170,000 to nearly 400 seafarers and their families.

arrow See here how we’ve helped some of those in need.

Can I apply for a grant?

You can apply for a grant:

  • If you are a working or former merchant seafarer or fisherman
  • If you are no longer at sea you need to have had at least 7 years sea service, or service which was cut short because of accident or illness
  • If you are a close dependant of a working or former merchant seafarer or fisherman, such as a wife, husband, widow or widower, or child under 18

What sort of things can I apply for?

We look at each case individually and assess the overall situation. There are no rigid rules about what you can get a grant for, but typical examples include:

  • Disability aids or equipment, such as stair lifts, electrically powered vehicles (EPVs) including wheelchairs, riser/recliner chairs and adapted bathrooms
  • Household items, such as cookers, fridges, washing machines and beds
  • Help with priority debts such as gas, electricity, water, Council Tax and rent
  • Essential household maintenance such as window repairs, heating repairs, decorating and carpets
  • Urgent short-term living expenses
  • Respite breaks or convalescence arrow Find out more
  • Clothing
  • Help with funeral expenses

For further guidance on our criteria for awarding grants, see here

How does it work?

You or the people supporting you should contact the Society for help. If you already have a caseworker we will work with him or her. If you don’t have a caseworker, we will arrange for one to contact you and organise a visit. Then we work with the caseworker while he or she supports you through the application process.

Where do the caseworkers come from?

We work through caseworkers from other organisations such as the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, the Fishermen’s Mission, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) and Nautilus.

How do I apply?

Requests must be in writing, so you and your caseworker will need to fill in an application form, which you can download here or we can send you one if you prefer.

Do I have to fill in another form?

We often accept application forms from other organisations so if you’ve already filled in a form for another organisation, check with us before filling in ours. If we can use an existing form we’ll let you know and it will save you the extra time and effort.

I need help urgently. How long does it all take?

Each case is different so it’s impossible to say how long it will take. If it’s any reassurance, we deal with all applications as quickly as possible and urgent cases will be prioritised. The more information you can provide at the start of the process, the quicker it’s likely to be.

Will everyone know about it?

No. All requests for grants are confidential and all personal information is handled according to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, we may need to share details of your application with other agencies if we think they may be able to help. We would only do this with your permission.

Will I have to pay the grant back?


How do I find out more?

To find out more about grants to seafarers call us on 020 8858 3696, email or write to us at 29 King William Walk, Greenwich, London SE10 9HX.