Local not-for-profit organisation and maritime cluster, Isle of Man Maritime, has launched a new social media initiative which aims to raise awareness and appreciation for seafarers across the globe.
Launched this week, the aptly named social media campaign, ‘Splash for Seafarers’, hopes to raise crucial funds for ISWAN's work to assist seafarers and their families all over the world. ISWAN has experienced a dramatic surge in demand as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected seafarers worldwide, with its 24-hour helpline recording over 470 COVID-19 related cases affecting more than 7,000 seafarers.
General Manager of Isle of Man Maritime, John Garland, said: 'During a conversation with our Company Secretary, Lesley-Anne Walker (Chairman of the Isle of Man Superyacht Forum and Head of Marketing at Sentient International) we were discussing the success of various fundraising initiatives that came about during COVID-19 showing support to the NHS and other key workers. We started to think about what Isle of Man Maritime could do to help raise awareness for global seafarers as key workers, as we felt that they were somewhat out of sight, out of mind.
'Lesley came up with the idea of ‘Splash for Seafarers’ with the aim to thank Seafarers for the work they are doing in keeping vital supply chains moving as well as to highlight the pressures that they remain under and the stress of being stuck at sea for weeks and sometimes months beyond their normal period of service can have on mental health and wellbeing. Of course, it isn’t just Seafarers involved in commercial shipping that are affected either, there are also those working on board yachts, cruise ships, rescue vessels, offshore rigs and fishing vessels, each playing a vital role within the maritime sector. The strain both on the Seafarers and their families must be enormous, so we want to do our bit to increase awareness of their efforts and to thank them for their work and sacrifices.'
The Executive Committee of Isle of Man Maritime together with some of its members have shown their support by contributing clips and photos for a video which has been used to launch the campaign this week.
Describing the campaign, Lesley Walker said: 'The idea behind the campaign is simple. To record a short video or take a photo of yourself or your family members making a ‘splash’. Be it in a paddling pool, diving into the sea, jumping in a puddle or having family members or colleagues throw buckets of water at you – we want people to get creative.
'Then, make a donation (whether it be £4, £40 or £400) and upload your video or photo to your preferred social media channel(s) with a link to the campaign’s JustGiving page and using the hashtag #Splash4Seafarers; tag 4 people or organisations to challenge them to get involved and hit POST to spread the word.
'We are hoping that many more global maritime centres and businesses will get on board with the campaign by showing their support and helping us to raise crucial funds to keep this much needed service of ISWAN available to those Seafarers that need their help.'
ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and the helpline team speaks a number of different languages. Seafarers and their families can contact the helpline via a range of channels including telephone, e-mail, WhatsApp and Live Chat, and speak confidentially to a trained helpline officer.
Commenting on the campaign, ISWAN’s Executive Director, Roger Harris, said: 'We’re delighted Isle of Man Maritime has chosen to support our vital services for seafarers with this fundraiser. The sharp increase in seafarers contacting our organisation in need of financial aid and emotional support demonstrates the impact of the pandemic on the world’s seafarers, and we must ensure we can continue to provide this 24–hour support to seafarers in need. The campaign will help us raise essential funds to continue our work and also highlight the vital role of seafarers, who we all rely on so heavily.'
Thanks to the generosity of its members and committee, Isle of Man Maritime have already started the fundraising ball rolling with a donation of £400. It is hoped that this figure will soon increase as the campaign spreads and their message is heard.
Watch the campaign launch video here: