Mental Health Awareness Week 15-21 May 2023: Dee Caffari MBE to host first Crew Welfare round table for UKSA to encourage industry change
UKSA has announced yachtswoman Dee Caffari MBE as its host for its first Crew Welfare round table during this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week, with a view to effecting positive change for seafarers.
Together with The Seafarers’ Charity, UKSA, is bringing together 21 industry experts, for a discussion on crew welfare, to ensure the safety, working and living conditions on board each vessel are of an acceptable standard.
Dee Caffari, the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in both directions, was announced in 2022 as UKSA’s first Youth and Mental Health Ambassador and will lead the discussions in London.
Tim Clarke, managing director of Quay Crew advised “Our recent research shows there is an abundance of problems leading to welfare issues for those working at sea in yachting. We are looking forward to being part of this discussion so we can create a roadmap on how we can support crew with the causes and consequences of mental health problems. This is something the industry needs to get behind.”
Amy Sweeting, director of development and fundraising at UKSA, said: “We know there is still an issue on the welfare for those working on superyachts and on workboats, and while there are various organisations offering support, we constantly receive feedback that there remains an issue with no solution. We’re partnering with The Seafarers’ Charity to bring together industry leaders to discuss how we can move forward, what research and support already exists and what is needed to ensure crew welfare is a priority.”
‘The Welfare of Superyacht Crew’ report produced by ISWAN in 2018 is the last recorded research into the subject and concluded that more immediate, step-change improvements were needed. These included improving new recruits onboarding, a focus on support helplines for use globally and access to local facilities when in port. Improvements in the following areas were also noted; more rest time, more rotational positions, a review of grievance procedures to offer an alternative model not dependent on chain of command, cabin improvements and crew facilities.
As a provider of life-enhancing water-based adventures, education and world-leading maritime training for careers at sea for over 35 years, UKSA has a large focus on seeking to improve the mental health of young people. It has further cemented its commitment to the cause with an approach which positions its students’ wellbeing on a par with achieving their qualifications.
Last year, the charity launched a mental health first aid course which all Isle of Wight businesses and employees can benefit from and was nominated at the IW Chamber Business Awards. UKSA has now trained 29 of its staff as Mental Health First Aiders and delivers Mental Health Awareness Training for Seafarers to all of its students on careers courses.