Seafarers Mental Health And Wellbeing

Welcome to your Annual Mental Health And Wellbeing Competency Assurance Training, or ACAT as it is better known.

This course was designed to ensure crew are aware of the risks involved with poor mental health and wellbeing.

The  Mental Health And Wellbeing Course is designed to educate on how to become more aware and understand how to improve Mental Health And Wellbeing throughout day to day life as a seafarer.

The course takes about 2 hours learning, Plus 30mins of exercises which will help in the understanding of Mental Health

The course modules are:

  1.  Introduction
  2. Recognising Stress and Anxiety
  3. Real Time Pressure
  4. Self Help
  5. Making Life At Sea Enjoyable
  6. Physical Wellbeing

Ship Management of this process is simple, as each Crew/Guest/Contractors/Visitors completes the course it will show next to their name.

The cost of the Seafarer Mental Health And Wellbeing ACAT is £500 (+ VAT if applicable) per hull, per year. The number of officers that can complete the course is unlimited.

To buy for your hull(s), Please see Buying Options

Please note: All topics MUST be completed in order. If you attempt a different topic, you will see a blank page. Once completed you can go back at any time and view all previous topics.


  • The most important word that we can associate with “Sleep” is “Recovery”. No sleep = No recovery. This doesn’t just mean recovery from feeling tired… this also means recovery from a stressful day, recovery from learning, recovery from being frightened, recovery from panic… any emotions that you feel on a regular basis can all be solved with a good portion of sleep.
  • Lack of sleep makes it difficult for your brain cells to communicate with each other. On the worse end of the scale, lack of sleep can lead to memory loss and affect your vision… however this doesn’t usually happen unless your already a sufferer of insomnia or have recently had an accident that makes it painful to sleep.
  • It’s extremely important to tell someone if your suffering from sleep, because no matter how well you eat or how much exercise you do, if your not getting the right amount of “recovery”, non of that will matter.


  • It is scientifically proven that those who exercise more experience less stress. When out at sea, people tend to smoke more, drink more and do less exercise.
  • People that exercise more are able to keep their weight under control, digestion improves, blood sugar levels are keep to a suitable balance, SLEEP IMPROVES and so does concentration and self confidence.
  • Clearly, exercise is a no brainier because of the benefits you get from it, therefore exercise should be done on a regular basis. If you don’t currently do much exercise or any at all, them this is something new you should try by getting out of your comfort zone. Start with something small and work your way up. You may even fin a new “Flow Activity” here.


  • A poor diet can lead to energy imbalance, and what do we need energy for? Exercise, Daily work…
  • One of the most important parts of our body that requires energy is our brain. Without energy to feed our brain, we would constantly end up tired, exhausted, stressed, unable to think properly, etc…
  • We might even think were eating healthy, but if you don’t have a solid routine and miss out some of your daily meals like breakfast, then this can slowly have an impact on our mental and physical wellbeing.

Positive Awareness

  • Positive awareness is more of a skill which with practice over time can make life at sea very enjoyable. Earlier you were tasked to write down the benefits of being out at sea. Your positive awareness skills will be dictated based on how large you where able to make this list.
  • The purpose of positive awareness is to appreciate the things around you that you wouldn’t usually think to appreciate, for example;
    • Appreciating the views you get on board that you will not be able to find anywhere else in the world whilst on land.
    • Appreciate the fact that every single day can be so different to the last.
    • Appreciate the fact you would have had the chance to travel to more places during your time onboard than other people would ever get to travel in their lifetime!
  • The next thing to do is be able to apply positive awareness when it counts. This takes practice and everyone does it differently, knowing when to appreciate moments is key, and don’t try to force it. In turn, you will always be looking forward to the next positive moment.


How would you describe the following image:

A: The glass is half full!

B: The glass is half empty!

If you answered “The glass is half empty”, This means you instinctiveley go towards negative thinking.

If you answered “The glass is half full”, you naturaly lean towards possitive thinking!

Flow Activities

  • Flow activities are activities that take up an extremely high amount of concentration, which in turn results in loosing a sense of time. Finding a Flow Activity you love doing can become a key element in making life at sea more enjoyable, without them, it can become very tough to enjoy life at sea.
  • Flow Activities could be anything from reading to doing a hard workout. If you can achieve a state of mind where you end up loosing track of time; this is said to be the most enjoyable/happy moments you will spend while working at sea.
  • Flow activities can also be done with other crew. Playing basketball is a popular activity which by following the description above, a lot of people would consider this one of their flow activities. You can use the gym, even playing games can be a flow activity!


  • What activities do you do that you would consider a Flow Activity? If you don’t have any, that’s not a problem. You just need to keep trying new things, eventually you will find something that works for you!

The Mission To Seafarers

We’re there to support seafarers when they need us most. Men and women who work at sea can be affected by any number of problems: money worries, mental health issues and loneliness, as well as piracy, shipwreck and abandonment. These issues can be made worse by a lack of facilities, with email only available to less than 25% of seafarers on board ships.

Many ports have inadequate facilities, and our Seafarers Centres give those at sea:

  • a chance to access wifi and SIM cards
  • a comfortable place to rest and relax
  • the chance to get food and toiletries, and transport to shops and local amenities

And it’s not just practical support the Mission offers. We know that seafarers need emotional and sometimes spiritual support too.

That’s why we have a large network of chaplains who come on board ships, giving seafarers a listening ear and prayer, if needed. They can also connect seafarers to other organisations or speak to them on their behalf.

Our mission is to care for the shipping industry’s most important asset: its people.

ISWAN 24hr Help Service

  • ISWAN is another service which offers help but is more focused on live chat and being able to contact someone directly at any time.
  • ISWAN has various different contact methods, including:
    • Email
    • Live Chat
    • Messaging Apps
    • Live calls
  • The bellow extract was taken from ISWAN’s about page which you can visit here:
  • The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) is a membership organisation which works to promote and support the welfare of seafarers all over the world.
  • Seafarers bring us 95% of the things we use every day and take care of us when we travel by sea, but their lives are often tough. They experience long periods away from family and friends with limited or no communication, fast turnaround of ships in ports with severely restricted shore leave, reduced crew numbers and increased workloads. Welfare services and facilities both on board and ashore can be a lifeline for seafarers.
  • Our free, 24-hour, multilingual helpline, SeafarerHelp, is one of the direct welfare services we provide to seafarers. Others include our relief funds for seafarers and their family members in need and a range of health information resources.
  • We work with companies, unions, governments, welfare organisations and ports for the implementation of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. We support those who establish and provide welfare facilities and services in port and on ships.
  • We are funded by membership subscriptions, grants from foundations, sponsorship and earned income. We are grateful to our main funders – the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, The TK Foundation, Seafarers UK and Trafigura Foundation – for their continued support.

Sharing With Your Crew

  • Hopefully you’ve had a look at some of the options available to you for Self Help in the previous slides, however there is something even closer to you that can help… your crew.
  • Talking with the people around you and taking part in team building activities such as:
    • Healthy competitions among your collegues.
    • Celebrating Achievents.
    • Show And Tell
  • If you find that you can’t talk to a member of crew… then write things down. This is effectively doing the exercise you did at the beginning of the course where you cross related your symptoms with the emotions that you felt at the time you had those symptoms. At the same time, you are learning from your emotions and how to Predict, Control and Avoid them in the future.

Getting Out Your Comfort Zone

  • Why is getting out your comfort zone important for mental health and wellbeing?
  • Surely getting out your comfort zone will create stress, wont it? Well for a little while, yes it will… but only if your not used to getting out your comfort zone in the first place or if your not used to trying new things.
  • Getting out your comfort zone by trying new things might create a little more stress for a short while, but if you start with little things that have almost no impact on stress, it can help you prepare for something bigger, for example; You don’t usually read, maybe you should try reading every once in a while.
  • Don’t forget that you can use technology too! For example, learning a new language by using free apps, Completing online courses, Arrange or book something for when you get home such as Rock climbing, Going to the movies with friends,