Yacht crew recruitment agency, WilsonHalligan recently hosted the Crew wellness Stew lounge, in partnership with Yacht Crew Help – An international seafarers assistance network. The organisation is working to improve the lives and wellness of crew and their families.

Yacht Crew Help

In 2018 ISWAN conducted a 50 question survey to 452 yacht crew, and the results revealed concerning figures around how many crew members have experienced low morale on board, at least one episode of work experienced stress, mental health issues, discrimination and bullying on board. From this, ISWAN released that there was a need to improve the knowledge around how to deal with mental health on board for new recruits. This is also a place where current crew members and those who are leaving the industry can find support.

As a result, they started Yacht Crew Help – a 24/7 helpline, which is free, confidential, and manned by trained professionals. Yacht Crew Help is there to assist with any issues that may effect a crew members life at sea; For instance, bullying, substance misuse, job concerns. The list goes on – you name it, they can help.

How can crew contact Yacht Crew Help?

  1. If you require Yacht Crew Help Support, contact help@yachtcrewhelp.org, or phone +44 203 713 7273
  2. The 24/7 helpline will is a listening service, from which a trained professional will speak with you and access what action they feel is required next.
  3. From this, Yacht Crew Help may then signpost you to other avenues of support.
  4. The most important thing is – The conversation doesn’t end when the phone is down! Yacht Crew Help will continue to follow up with crew until a resolution is found on both ends.
  5. Download the Yacht Crew Help guides for free, here.

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The Stew Lounge – Crew Wellness

“We all have our good days, and we all have our bad days” – Yacht Crew Help”

Often in the yachting industry, there is a stigma around opening up about mental health. It’s commonly felt that you shouldn’t speak out about your mental well-being on board. However, it’s important to know we are all prone to experiencing mental health problems at some point in our life, and hiding or ignoring these will only make it worse.

Crew members across all departments (interior, galley, deck, and engineering) will suffer from stress, anxiety, and loneliness in one form, or another.Whether this is through burnout and fatigue, crew tension, or another area, it’s important to recognise negative changes in yourself and other crew members. But, it’s even more important to act on these when they are recognisable, rather than ignore them. If you notice a change in a crewmate’s behaviours, find a time to pull them aside and ask them how they are and if they feel ok. Crew are often reluctant to reach out and speak to others for help because it’s deemed as being weak – This is especially the case with the junior crew.

5 Mental Health behavioural changes to recognise on board:

  • Low mood
  • Bad sleep
  • Appetite changes
  • Feeling more irritable
  • Feeling isolated on board

5 pieces of advice on how to help improve mental wellbeing on board:

  • Practicing good sleep hygiene
  • Be aware of the effects of drinking, drugs and caffeine
  • Regular exercise
  • Take the time to relax when you can
  • Take time to connect with crew on board – Social interaction matters!

How can HOD encourage junior crew to come to them for support?

Professional and personal boundaries are key as a HOD. You want your crew to respect your rules but come to you for support if ever they need to. Mental health first aid training is recently new in the industry, and although it’s not mandatory (as of yet), we believe it’s a step in the right direction.

Furthermore, on the topic of Mental health courses for yacht crew, we previously spoke to Emma, current yacht crew and founder of SEAS THE MIND – A revolutionary mental health course for yacht crew.


Mental Health First Aid, MHFA is an educational course that teaches people how to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health issue. In the same way, as we learn physical first aid for STCW95, Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill-health. It’s a practical resource for crew to tackle, recognise and fortify their own and others’ mental health on board. Taking MHFA into crew messes and onboard is an opportunity to reduce depression and anxiety risks in seafarers, which may also reduce risks of injury and illness, and drastically improve crew retention. Mel and Emma were responsible for adapting the Mental Health First Aid course for the yachting industry, making it a global resource and training program for seafarers to tackle, recognise and fortify individuals in their own and others’ mental health onboard. Option available are:

Learning takes place through a mix of presentations, group discussions, and workshop activities. This is ideal for all crew

members, but crucial for HOD’S who find themselves in charge of teams of people. A half-day course that raises awareness of mental health and is delivered either face-to-face or 

You can find more information on SEAS THE MIND, or get in touch here

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