SeaFit Programme

Seafit Programme

SeaFit Programme3

The SeaFit Programme is a joint initiative from the Seafarers Hospital Society and the Fishermen’s Mission, working in partnership to deliver sustainable improvements in the health and wellbeing of fishermen and their families around the UK. Funded by Seafarers UK, the SeaFit Programme started in July 2018 and will run until the end of 2020.

The Programme covers numerous aspects of mental and physical health and wellbeing and provides a range of services direct to the community completely free of charge. This includes:

  • Health checks at the harbourside
  • Healthy Lifestyle Advisors in the community
  • Dental checks with some initial treatment
  • Access to mental health and wellbeing support to complement Big White Wall
  • Development of a network of physiotherapists trained to meet the specific needs of fishermen, initially in Cornwall and Devon

arrow To download a report of the first year, click here

Health checks

The first SeaFit health check event took place in Peterhead from 2nd – 4th October 2018 and was an outstanding success. The event brought together a wide range of health and wellbeing experts to provide advice, support and treatment at or near the harbourside. Over the course of three days we saw many local fishermen and their families, undertaking 59 health checks and 21 dental checks.

The second was in three locations in Northern Ireland: Ardglass for two days in March 2019, followed by one day in Portavogie and two days in Kilkeel in April 2019. Altogether we reached over 150 fishermen in the three ports, with blood pressure and diabetes checks, Carbon Monoxide and skin cancer tests, physiotherapy, oral health checks and eye tests as well as information, support and guidance on many aspects of physical and mental health and wellbeing.

We are currently planning our next SeaFit health check event. Watch this space for details.

Healthy Lifestyle Advisors

Our aim is to build a team of Healthy Lifestyle Advisors to work with fishermen and their families in various locations around the UK. Work has started in two key communities, East Riding and Newlyn.

East Riding

The first Healthtrainer project was launched in East Riding on the Yorkshire coast, on 24th October. Targeting the fishing communities of Bridlington and the surrounding area, the trainers are working with fishermen and their families to improve their overall health and wellbeing and connect them to local health and wellbeing services. The service is delivered on behalf of SeaFit by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Living Seas Programme and Humber NHS Teaching Foundation Trust. This follows a successful two-year pilot which was part-funded by the Society.

In their first 3 months the team have engaged with nearly 100 local fishermen and families and are beginning to make a real impact. Skipper John White is a case in point. With support from the Healthtrainers he has improved his diet and lost over a stone in weight. He says he feels much better and is encouraging his crew to get checked too.

To find out more call the Healthtrainer service on 0800 9117752 or email

arrow Click here to find out more about the launch of the East Riding (Holderness) project

Skipper John White

Skipper John White


A similar scheme is now up and running in Newlyn.  Our Healthy Lifestyle Advisor, Hazel Smith, is based at Harbourside Physiotherapy, and works with fishermen and their families in and around the harbour. She offers advice and support on a variety of health issues, including stopping smoking, healthy eating and weight management, physical activity, alcohol, drugs, sexual health and cancers. She also undertakes free NHS Health Checks and refers on to other specialist services.

To find out more about any aspect of the Healthy Lifestyle Advice service call Hazel on 07753 460 957 or email:

Free dental checks and initial treatment

We are working with community dental providers Dentaid and Smile Together to deliver free dental checks and some initial treatment to fishermen and their families. A number of successful events have taken place around the country and more are planned for the coming year. Wherever possible, dental checks will also be included in the health checks events.

arrow Click here to find out more 

Mental health and wellbeing support

We are exploring a variety of ways of providing mental health and wellbeing support to fishermen and their families to complement the online service already available free to working fishermen and merchant seafarers through Big White Wall. The first service to get off the ground is in Newlyn, provided by Ceri Summers of Fairwinds, through the Harbourside Physiotherapy Clinic.

To find out more or to book an appointment to see Ceri call 01736 366 224 or email

Network of physiotherapists

Cornwall & Devon

Harbourside Physiotherapy Clinic has been providing free physiotherapy to fishermen with funding from the Society for many years. The knowledge and expertise they have built up about the impact of fishing on physical health is unprecedented. We are working with Harbourside to create a network of physiotherapists in Cornwall and parts of Devon who have practices close to the harbour. They will be trained and supported to provide a holistic and preventative approach to physiotherapy services for local fishermen.

Eight physiotherapy clinics have signed up to the scheme so far. They are:

Newlyn Harbourside Physiotherapy 01736 366224 Newlyn
Falmouth Falmouth Physiotherapy 01326 312156 Falmouth
Mevagissey Cornwall Physio 07824 700934 St Austell
Sandy Hill Physical Therapy Centre 01726 676567 St Austell
Looe Cardew Physiotherapy & Performance 07843 249664 Seaton
Plymouth Fay Pedler Physiotherapy 01752 664519 Plymouth
Andrew Higgins & Associates 01752 294714 Plymouth
Brixham Tidal Physiotherapy 07983 313344 Brixham
Padstow North Cornwall Physiotherapy 01208 816666 Wadebridge
Newquay JB Physio 07930 424841 St Column Major
Other areas 

A number of physiotherapists outside Devon and Cornwall have also shown interest in joining the network and we now have four new network members – one in N Ireland and three in Scotland.

They are:

Kilkeel Mourne Physiotherapy 02843 767336 or 07736 004773 Christine Burns
Oban Ruth Sunderland Physiotherapy 07806 569859 Ruth Sunderland
Peterhead Peterhead Physiotherapy 01779 474381 or 07814 545430 Alex McLean
Tarbert Body & Sole 07799 334665 Jessica Little

To find out more about the physio network, call Lysanne Wilson, SHS Health Development Manager on 020 8858 3898 or email:

For information about any other aspect of the SeaFit Programme call Carol Elliott, Project Delivery Manager on 07486 319 621 or email: