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Wellness at Sea Conference 2018

Following on from the success of the inaugural Wellness at Sea Conference, held in January 2017 in Singapore, Sailors’ Society delivered its second Wellness at Sea Conference on16 March 2018, London.

Held at 99 City Road Conference Centre, the event addressed crew wellness as an holistic approach and how this impacts on the health of the ship and, ultimately, on the health of the ship owners balance sheet.

Presentations from academics and industry experts looked in depth at all aspects of crew wellness, including physical, emotional, intellectual and social. Delegates also heard the results of recent research and held focused discussions around the impact of ship operations on crew morale and retention.

You can find out more about Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme which includes a land-based coaching course, an e-learning platform and a free app for seafarers, at

Download the presentations here

What the delegates say…

Find out why WASC is a must attend event.

View the Agenda   

“This lively and interactive conference is a must-attend event for ship owners and those concerned with the recruitment and retention of crews.”

Stuart Rivers, CEO, Sailors’ Society

Delegate Pass includes

  • Presentations from industry experts and academics
  • Breakout discussions
  • Networking opportunities
  • Live polls
  • Coffee breaks and buffet lunch
  • Drinks reception and canapés

Meet the steering group

A steering group of industry specialists has been recruited to help shape and advise on the content of the event, as well as to influence the speaker programme.

View the Agenda   


Session Speaker(s)
08:30 Breakfast and registration

Chair's remarks


Keynote address

Healthy seafarer, healthy ship, healthy balance sheet.

In his keynote address, Paddy Rodgers will give his view on Wellness at Sea and what this means to the maritime world. He will set the scene for a day which will look at all aspects of crew wellness and explore how the ship owner can take positive steps towards achieving a healthy crew, healthy ship and healthy balance sheet.


Wellness at Sea programme overview

How a seafarer experiences life at sea, how he or she reacts to an incident are related to him or her as an organised whole, a multi-dimensional human being. Training of seafarers has traditionally been one-dimensional, focusing merely on the ‘occupational’ aspect of their role. Competent seafarers have always been defined as people who have good navigational or engineering skills. However, these skills are often lacking in dealing with the realities and complexities of life at sea. Wellness at Sea was developed in response to a call from within the industry to address this often overlooked skill set. In this session, Johan Smith gives an overview of Sailors’ Society’s programme.

10:00 Wellness in depth: Introduction and live poll

Physical wellness

Seafarer health, the root causes of common illness and injury and how to prevent them.

Dr. Lefkowitz will review findings from the recent Seafarer Wellness Survey. The data provides a window into the working lives of seafarers, from work hazards to work culture, informing opportunities for wellness and disease prevention in this essential yet understudied global workforce.


Emotional wellness

Mental health at sea

Despite having attracted less attention than physical health, working at sea may also have negative effects on seafarers' mental health and well-being. Neil Ellis, a Research Associate at the Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC), looks at the nature of mental health issues at sea, and presents evidence that such issues are becoming an increasing issue. The causes of poor mental health (for example, loneliness and isolation) are then explored, as well as the possible consequences of such for both the seafarer and ship owner/manager (i.e. poor performance and high crew turn over). Neil then makes the case for why investing in seafarers' mental health makes good business sense, with some practical suggestions as to how ship owners and managers can both guard against and address mental health problems.

10:50 Networking and coffee break

Social wellness

Managing conflicts, cultural differences and the generation gap

Shipping is probably the most global industry in the world. Our success relies heavily on the relationships on board, among people who frequently share very different cultures. In addition to cultural differences there is now, more than ever, an additional difference to manage – the generation gap. Is this gap dangerous? Or maybe it can add strength to the team on board.


Intellectual wellness

Raising standards above and beyond the MLC, 2006.

This session will explore the MLC, 2006 from three different perspectives – the regulators, the insurers and the seafarers – and discuss what the industry can do to raise standards above and beyond the convention.

11:50 Q&A
12:00 Breakout 1
12:20 Lunch and networking break
13:05 Feedback on breakout discussion
13:15 Efficiency and the bottom line: Introduction and live poll

Good ship leadership

Good ship leadership is key to the success of shipping companies. For the demanding and difficult working environment on board the vessels every reputable shipping company should take great care of its most valuable, economic resource they have - the crew. Shipping companies should make every effort to cover all areas of crew ‘wellness’ (physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual). No one area of wellness is more important than the other, rather that all areas should be addressed for a seafarer to be fully fit and well. Shipping companies’ culture and values built around their people (on board and ashore), with the ultimate goal to serve humanity ensure a happy, healthy and safe working environment, where people ashore and onboard are eager to work, all contribute towards the company’s overall growth and wealth. Join this session to learn how this works in practice.


Emotional wellness versus loss prevention

Mental health and emotional wellness are subjects which receive ongoing interest in the maritime press and, sadly, it is not always for the best reasons. Ship owners and operators receive a multitude of loss prevention advice on how their ships can be safer and more technically efficient. However, it is often missed that the most valuable asset on board is the crew and as such their needs must be a priority. Is there more to be done in terms of loss prevention to enhance the emotional wellbeing of the crew? What can happen if you ignore these issues? What are the likely benefits for ship owners and operators? Let us discuss the possibilities.


The role of telemedicine in ship efficiency

The evidence of Future Care’s 18-years of bringing telemedicine to its clients is indisputable – telemedicine greatly contributes to increased seafarer wellness and overall ship efficiency. This result is not just brought about by minimising the negative effects of economic loss resulting from shore side medical treatment and related costs, including lost time. The positive effects of regularly scheduled virtual consultations on board ship, whether employed for physical or mental treatment, or wellness coaching, yield a more productive, efficient mariner and environment, which in turn increases shipboard efficiency. Telemedicine is good news indeed for seafarers and the entire maritime community.

14:20 Q&A
14:25 Breakout 2
14:45 Networking and coffee break
15:05 Feedback on breakout discussion

Communications: Intro and live poll

Intro and live poll.


Navigating everyday connectivities on board

Dr Rikke Jensen will draw on recent empirical findings emerging from a pilot study with seafarers on board container ships in European waters. This study was commissioned in order to offer a more nuanced understanding of how the multi-layered and digitally facilitated connections, relations and networks, enabled through increasingly connected ships, affect social isolation and cohesion of crews. In particular, the research explores the potential to better harness everyday uses of technology to increase cohesion and well-being amongst seafarers and their wider community. Through a number of creative engagements with seafarers, during long periods at sea, we explore how the reworking of sailor lives and living is producing feelings of distance and isolation, but also togetherness and community. The presentation will conclude with some early recommendations for employers and support organisations emerging from the research; recommendations about how best to use mobile and internet technology to increase cohesion and well-being among seafarers, which is central to crew retention, recruitment and to safe and efficient ship operations.


The future of on board communications – what can technology enable?

The advent of communications on board has the ability to dramatically transform life at sea; from an operational, safety and social well-being perspective. While, there has been a reluctance to embrace connectivity for seafarers, this trend is beginning to change. Connectivity for seafarers is about more than enabling access to social media, it is a vital tool that enables crew to problem solve, learn and continuously improve in their jobs. For ship-owners, it can reduce overall operating expenditure by ensuring the operational efficiency of the vessel, safeguarding its assets and the emotional and physical wellbeing of its crew. This session will explore how connectivity is truly redefining the maritime industry.


What can maritime learn from other industries?

There are many strong parallels between the aviation sector and the Maritime industry. Perhaps no more real than the fact that these two regions represent the last bastion of opportunity for connectivity. Connectivity is coming to the skies at an unparalleled levels with the roll-out of new European ground to air networks. Join this session and learn more about this dynamic and exciting development and its relevance to the maritime industry.




Chair's closing remarks


​A networking drinks reception will follow until 8pm

2017-03-28 08:30:00 2017-03-28 20:00:00 Europe/London Wellness at Sea Conference 2018 Following on from the success of the inaugural Wellness at Sea Conference, held in January 2017 in Singapore, Sailors’ Society will be delivering its second Wellness at Sea Conference in 2018. 99 City Road Conference Centre, Inmarsat, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1AX Sailors Society

Location - 99 City Road Conference Centre

99 City Road Conference Centre
99 City Road