Leisure and entertainment facilities at Sea

It must be remembered that seafarers will, during any particular voyage, spend

most of their time at sea rather than in port and that the shipowner or ship manager has a clear responsibility to make adequate provision for the welfare needs of the crew onboard.

The following facilities should, when possible, be provided onboard:


●    television and radio;

●    video films for recreational use and for vocational training;

●    sports equipment and access to a swimming pool;

●    a library of books; and

●    facilities for recreational handicrafts.


The charges for seafarers’ communication with their families, by mail or by

telecommunication facilities should be reasonable in amount, and every effort should be made to ensure that seafarers are granted shore leave whenever possible. It is also recommended that companies should consider allowing seafarers’ spouses or friends to visit the ship in port, and for spouses to be allowed to make occasional voyages with their partners. Most shipowners and managers take an active interest in making sure that these

recommendations are fully implemented onboard the ships they operate, as they appreciate the need for seafarers to be able to relax properly during off-duty periods and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Many owners have also made arrangements with port welfare services to provide for their ships copies of newspapers from the seafarer’s home country, facilities to exchange library books or video films on a regular basis or for seafarers to make use of Internet/e-mail connections.


Exercise & Sports for Seafarers

Physical exercise is of extreme importance for well-being. A seafarer could put other at risk in the working situation, even though he has not noticed any health danger signals. Keeping fit makes this less likely and exercise will enable the human body to deal better with illness. The benefits of physical fitness to seafarers are enormous. Fit and healthy people carry our daily tasks with vigour, alertness and without excessive fatigue. Moderate activity also strengthens the immune system and reduces the risk of many diseases, even problems such as depression.

The question we have to ask ourselves is: How? How is it possible to promote

sports and exercise for seafarers? A lot of people engaged in welfare activities for seafarers see this as an almost impossible task today: the fast turnaround of the ships, the reduced size of the crews, combined with the heavy workload onboard, restrict the crew’s possibilities of both exercising onboard and going ashore to take part in activities.

Sporting activities help to build up good camaraderie among crewmembers.

Playing together in a sports team can be a means of helping to build up
teamwork on the ship. This spirit of togetherness can build a person’s self esteem.

An afternoon on the sports field gives opportunities for good cross-cultural contacts. Sometimes, it provides a wonderful opportunity to bridge the gap between men who come from countries who are at war. Anyone who takes part in a sports afternoon or evening soon learns the importance of tolerance when mixing with such an international group.

Many seafarers, who have very little money to spend ashore because they want to send as much money as possible to their families, can have very little leisure time. After sports they can go back to their ships with good memories and they have spent very little money.

If crew leave their ship for a game of football or other sport, this provides them with an

opportunity to meet and get know the chaplains, welfare staff and volunteers.
They discover so many things about the port such as the location of the seamen’s
clubs and the services they offer - the bus services and many other things.


Prize-giving Ceremonies - Trophies and Prizes

This is a very important part of sports arrangements. We should not forget that the social part is the one most important for the well-being of the seamen after the ship has left the port. They have been active in their favourite sport, but they have also met new friends in a good and memorable get together.

Trophies and other tokens of appreciation are very popular to bring back to the ship. These can be donated by the shipping-related companies, and local support by the provision of trophies is very important.