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Health and safety

UK maritime pilots get a safe health haven with dedicated wellbeing support scheme

14 February 2024

UK maritime pilots now have access to their own dedicated mental health and wellbeing support thanks to a partnership between Sailors' Society and the UK Maritime Pilots' Association (UKMPA).

The global maritime charity was approached by UKMPA with concerns around the mental health and wellbeing of the UK's maritime pilots, who ensure safe transit in and out of ports and waterways during what is a high-risk point of a ship's passage.

The result is a partnership, also funded by the Department for Transport Maritime Safety Fund and Trinity House, that builds on a Sailors' Society's Wellness at Sea programme. The Society has targeted specific support in the areas identified by UKMPA as crucial for pilots' wellbeing – providing a dedicated helpline, peer support and coaching.

The UKMPA, which represents 500 members nationally, supported one of its members, Captain James Musgrove, in his endeavours to bring this unique scheme, which they are calling Campaign Safe Haven, to its members.

UKMPA Chair, Captain Hywel Pugh, said: 'James' ability and foresight has brought a well-needed support scheme into place. Campaign Safe Haven is there for our maritime professionals to reach out and find mental health and wellbeing support. It has been a much-needed resource for our members, and without James' passion and support from Sailors' Society, none of this would be possible. Our immense thanks go to Sailors' Society, Trinity House and all that support this project.'

The confidential helpline being provided as part of the pilot support will allow all pilots to talk through specific concerns and worries related to their role in a one-to-one call with trained staff. The bespoke Peer-to-Peer groups will allow pilots to connect with each other and provide a space to offer support and guidance, while the coaching sessions will allow for discussions and training around mental health and wellbeing.