The Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) has launched a campaign to support the physical health of maritime workers while at sea and on land. Starting tomorrow, Friday 25th June, on the IMO’s Day of the Seafarer, and running to the end of July, the campaign reflects the IMO’s theme of ‘A Fair Future for Seafarers’. The aim is to draw attention to the intense physical demands of working in the maritime industry and the need to address the toll it can take on seafarers’ bodies.
Sandra Welch, Chief Executive Officer of SHS said, “We know from our partners that physical injury on the job is very common, as are longstanding aches and pains. So it’s important that we establish easily accessible ways for seafarers and fishers to find help and treatment for their physical health. Whether this means funding physiotherapy sessions, offering support when someone is trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, providing information about exercises that can be done every day while at sea, or paying out grants for disability aids or equipment. We can do all that but we must also make physical health a priority within the industry.”
With the hashtag #HealthyLivesAtSea and a campaign slogan that urges seafarers and fishers to “listen to your body”, SHS hopes to encourage seafarers and fishers working in the United Kingdom to reach out for the help they need.
Together with long-time partner and physiotherapy provider ConnectHealth, the Society has made several physiotherapy exercise videos available to seafarers that can be performed onboard or at home. They also have a longstanding programme, conducted in partnership with the Physiotherapy Network, to provide free, fast track physiotherapy for working seafarers.
The Society has also recently confirmed continued funding for the SeaFit programme, a joint initiative with The Fishermen’s Mission, offering free physiotherapy, NHS Health checks at harbourside, as well as healthy lifestyle advisors direct to the community.
Sandra emphasised, ““While our campaign is aimed at ensuring that seafarers and fishers are aware of ways we can help and empower them, we also want to use this moment to raise awareness amongst the wider industry and the general public. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the public the realities of life at sea including the isolation and its effects on seafarers’ mental health. But more work needs to be done to highlight the accompanying issues of physical health and the toll taken on the seafarers who are working so hard to ensure that supply chains of food, medicine and global trade remain open.”