The prestigious Naval Club in Mayfair opened its doors once again on Wednesday 24th June for this month’s Propeller Club luncheon, with over 30 members and guests turning out for the event.
The Guest Speaker for the afternoon was Nick Harvey, Campaigns Manager at the charity Seafarers UK, who spoke about the work Seafarers UK does and the ’Opportunities at Sea’ theme for this year’s Seafarers Awareness Week, which ran from Saturday 20th to Sunday 28th June.
Giving an overview on the importance of the UK maritime industry, Nick said: “We all know there are many maritime job opportunities ashore, but the focus for this year is specifically the work available at sea. Out of the 1.5 million seafarers in the world, only around 70, 000 of them are British. Long gone are the days when most people in the UK had a family member or close relation who served at sea.
“If a maritime career is no longer appealing to most British teenagers, where will we find our pilots, harbour masters and ship inspectors in years to come? Seafarers UK believes that raising awareness of opportunities to work at sea is one of the answers, so that is what we set out to do with the Seafarers Awareness Week campaign this year.
“The first question was how do we get the message across to young people, their parents, teachers and careers advisors? We commissioned a series of short films showing young people embarking on their anticipated careers at sea, with the aim to highlight the diversity of maritime opportunities available. These films feature life on board a cruise ship, a work boat, a super yacht, a Royal Navy frigate and training for a deep sea merchant career.
“Seafarers UK is seeking funding to produce 1, 000 DVDs to be used by the Merchant Navy Training Board and other ‘Ambassadors’ who go into schools and colleges to give talks about careers at sea.”
Nick then went on to talk about Seafarers UK and how it has developed as a charity over the years.
“When Seafarers UK was formed in 1917 as King George’s Fund for Sailors, our Royal Charter incorporated an object to promote employment opportunities at sea, across the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleet – and we’re still doing that as we approach our Centenary in 2017.
“Our Seafarers UK Trustees recently agreed to give £1.17million to the Nautilus Welfare Fund to extend its Mariners’ Park care and rest home for ex-seafarers. It seems fitting for 2017 as we celebrate our Centenary that a new wing will be added to the Trinity House Hub.”
Nick concluded his speech by talking about the next Seafarers UK campaign to raise awareness of the UK’s dependence on merchant seafarers, which will take place on Merchant Navy Day, Thursday 3rd September, and see more than 400 local authorities asked to arrange for the Red Ensign to be flown on public buildings and landmark flagstaffs.
Delighted with the success of his Guest Speaker, President of Propeller Club, Ian Millen said: “We have been privileged to have Nick Harvey come along and educate us about the work that Seafarers UK are doing on behalf of seafarers in the UK and beyond.
“They are a charity who do sterling work across the whole of the maritime sector. The most encouraging thing that we saw was the real strong effort that is going into preparing the next generation of seafarers who will then be able to go out and do the jobs that we all know are interesting, exciting and rewarding.
“In sum, we’ve been very honoured to have an insight into the work Seafarers UK do and we will continue to support them any way we can.”
The Propeller Club will be hosting a reception for members and invited guests to mark the beginning of London International Shipping Week on Monday 7th September 2015.