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About the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society

Since 1839, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society has provided financial assistance to fishermen and mariners and their dependants who have suffered hardship, misfortune or poverty, as a result of an accident, illness, disability, unemployment or retirement.

As a maritime charity, our goal is to make a tangible difference to people’s lives when it’s needed most. In 2014-15 alone, we:

  • Made regular and one-off grants in 2,252 cases amounting to £1.4 million
  • Handled 612 new applications for assistance
  • Took on 102 new regular beneficiaries

The people we help are mainly retired or permanently disabled seafarers and their widows/partners. Beneficiaries are typically aged 50 and above (although of course we consider enquiries from people of all ages) and have backgrounds in the fishing industry and Merchant Navy. Their sea service may have included time in the Royal Navy as well.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society helps by providing:

Donate Via Text

Send ‘SMSY11 £10’* to 70070 *Donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10

Cards & Gifts

Buying Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society greeting cards can be a great way of supporting us. We have a full range of charity cards and gifts!

Shop Now

Support Us

If it wasn’t for our supporters, we could not provide seafarers and their families with the essential help they need.

Donate Now

A message from Commodore Malcolm Williams, the Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society:

“For over 175 years, our aim has been the same – to relieve distress among the seafaring and ex-seafaring community.

Thankfully, shipwrecks are fewer these days but they still occur, bringing tragedy in their wake, and then there are those who have left the sea, through accident, ill health, for compassionate reasons, or on retirement, and their dependants, who are living on meagre incomes and can find themselves in financial difficulties and in need of assistance.

Please feel free to contact us (link to Contact Us) should you require further information about any aspect of our work. Your support is much appreciated. Thank you.”

How Are We Able to Do All This?

We rely on the support of the public and other grant making charities in order to continue helping individuals in crisis.

Our main sources of income are:

  • Legacies – have you considered including the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society in your Will?
  • Our annual Christmas card appeal (link to Charity Cards and Gifts page), which is our main fundraising campaign. Cards are available to buy from October to December
  • Investments
  • Grants, principally from partner charities Seafarers UK and Trinity House (link to external sites, to open in new windows)
  • Donations, whether made online, by cheque or in person. You may have seen our large red collecting mines on the seafront! Donate now > (link to Donations page)
  • Supporter fundraising events – visit the Fundraising page for ideas! (link to Fundraising page)

We are also a member of The Merchant Navy Welfare Board and cooperate closely with other member charities to ensure that resources are distributed as fairly as possible where there is the greatest need.