The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has worked with experts across the yachting industry to produce Personal safety precautions for job-seeking yacht crew, which aims to empower crew by providing the guidance and tools necessary to make informed, aware, boundaried and safe decisions about their next role.
The resource was developed in direct response to an increase in calls and messages to ISWAN’s free, confidential, 24-hour helpline, Yacht Crew Help, from crew who had experienced serious personal safety issues including bullying, harassment and sexual violence whilst working on board yachts. Many crew had secured their roles through unregulated means such as social media and crewing websites, and many were part of what is sometimes termed the ‘nautical hitchhiker’ community. In 2022, almost a quarter (24.3%) of yacht crew who contacted Yacht Crew Help about mental health challenges (16.6% of all issues) also raised an experience of some form of abuse.
A number of organisations provided invaluable knowledge and expertise in the development of the resource. Nautilus International, Bond TM, MHG Insurance, Safer Waves, Sailing Safely for Women (SSW), Salute Her, Wilsonhalligan and Yachts Mermaids were key partners who contributed to ensure the guidance is accurate, comprehensive and inclusive, and addresses the key personal safety issues facing crew working or volunteering on board yachts.
The resource also addresses personal safety while on board and what to do in the case of an incident, and provides a list of organisations which offer support to crew.
ISWAN’s Projects and Relationships Manager Georgia Allen said: ‘I am so proud to see this resource published because of what it represents – a coming together of those in the industry who recognise the seriousness of these issues and want to see long-term change