Innovative onboard research to improve crew health and wellbeing through social interaction


Crew on vessels from the shipping, cruise and superyacht industries will take part in innovative onboard research using wearable and mobile technology to track the impact of social interaction on their wellbeing.

The research is part of a long-term initiative by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) to improve the health and wellbeing of seafarers by promoting increased quality social interaction and rest time.

The research partners for ISWAN’s Social Interaction Matters (SIM) Project represent the diversity of industries across the maritime sector, and ISWAN is delighted to confirm them as: AIDA Cruises, MY Savannah, V.Ships, Y.CO, another yacht management company, and a 74m private superyacht.

Working with these partners, ISWAN will evaluate the effectiveness of its existing guidance and recommendations in bringing crew together and improving overall health and wellbeing on board. This will be the first time that the cruise and superyacht industries are represented in the SIM Project, bringing an exciting new dimension to the research. This will also enable ISWAN to develop the guidance and recommendations to become a valuable and inclusive health and wellbeing tool for not just the shipping industry but for all seafarers working in across the maritime sector.

ISWAN’s Projects and Relationships Manager Georgia Allen said: ‘After many months of development, we are tremendously excited to be announcing the partners for this important next stage of the SIM Project. ISWAN and the SIM Project team are incredibly thankful to all for recognising the value in this research and the future benefits to all those who live and work at sea, and for being brave enough to take the plunge and sign up. We are excited to work with such diverse vessels and crew and are certain that the data and insights we will gather will be extremely interesting and useful.

‘ISWAN’s strategy is not only to highlight crew welfare issues, but to provide the sector with actionable, preventative solutions. We hope the resulting refreshed guidance and recommendations, which have been evaluated for their effectiveness in real time, will be taken forwards as a long-term, collaborative, valuable tool for the sector to improve the health and wellbeing of seafarers worldwide.’

Each vessel taking part in the SIM Project will have two Social Ambassadors – one on board and one shoreside – to facilitate social activities, encourage crew to engage, and work directly with ISWAN’s SIM Project team. All participating crew will use their phones to answer one wellbeing-related question each day, and will wear Fitbit devices to track the impact of social activities and other key influencers on their overall health.

As part of ISWAN’s long-term strategy to make better use of technology to meet the changing needs of seafarers, the team is excited to announce a new project partnership with PsyFyi and their innovative data-collection technology SeaQ, which will significantly strengthen the project’s previous data-collection methods.

PsyFyi’s Founder and CEO Claire Georgeson said: ‘We have always believed in the power of quantifiable data within the maritime sector which has been evidenced within systems on board to improve their efficiency and effectiveness, and we are delighted that data for the human element is now being recognised as being just as important.

‘We believe this project will show the industry how important social interaction is for seafarers, supporting theories with tangible data and opening a dialogue with the seafarers where they can contribute to solutions and best practice guidance for the industry which ISWAN has been advocating so passionately.’

The research will kick off with V.Ships and AIDA Cruises in July with the rest launching over the coming months. Regular project updates will be posted on ISWAN’s website here and on ISWAN’s social media, and readers can subscribe to the SIM Project mailing list for direct updates here.
ISWAN’s SIM Project is funded by the Trinity House Maritime Charity Department for Transport (DfT) Fund and sponsored by Seaspan Corporation.

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