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Yacht crew mental health helpline goes live

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The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has opened its portal to support yacht crew juggling the challenges of working away from home for long periods and living in close quarters with co-workers.

Yacht Crew Help is a free, confidential, multilingual helpline for professional yacht crew and is available 24 hours a day. ISWAN has managed a similar site for commercial mariners for several years.

In a 2018 survey of superyacht crew, ISWAN found that 82% of superyacht crew experienced low crew morale sometimes, often or always, and 55% of female respondents found accessing mental health care to be an occasional or regular challenge.

Prompted by these findings, ISWAN set up a steering group of representatives from across the

superyacht industry and collaborated to develop Yacht Crew Help. The helpline is run by ISWAN, a charity which promotes the welfare of seafarers working in all sectors of the maritime industry. The helpline officers are trained in counselling skills, suicide risk assessment and providing emotional support to crew all over the world, and the team is connected

with a wide range of organizations to help yacht crew find further support.

“Although the superyacht industry can be glamorous, the demands on crew are very high and living in your workplace away from loved ones can be tough,” said ISWAN Executive Director Roger Harris. “With Yacht Crew Help, we want to make sure that men and women working on superyachts can easily access the support available to them worldwide whenever they need it – free of charge, day or night. We are incredibly grateful to all of our partners for helping us develop a service tailored to professional yacht crew and their specific needs.”

“The most valuable component of the superyacht industry are the crews,” said Capt. Brendan O’Shannassy, president of the International Superyacht Society’s Captain’s Committee and a key member of the Yacht Crew Help steering group. “Yacht Crew Help will be key to educating and supporting yacht crew as they strive to deliver the excellence demanded by the industry. ISWAN are a highly credible non-commercial entity to provide this support without crew having any concern of commercial compromise when raising personal concerns.”

Crew members, whether they are currently on board or ashore, can contact Yacht Crew Help in three ways:

A range of information, guidance and resources on issues affecting yacht crew is available on the website, including mental health and wellbeing, bullying and harassment, sexual assault, substance misuse and employment concerns.

Yacht Crew Help would not be possible without the support and guidance of Y.CO, Bond Technology Management & Consultancy, Burgess, MYBA, LYBRA, the Professional Yachting Association, Nautilus International, wilsonhalligan, MHG Insurance Brokers, United Advisers Marine, Yotspot, AYSS, Yachting Matters, Superyacht Charities, Impact Crew, the International Superyacht Society, and Superyacht Services Guide.

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