The Seattle Seafarers Center plays a vital role in caring for seafarers visiting Puget Sound. Seafarers often go unnoticed, and our goal is to help crews know they are seen and cared for. We strive to welcome all seafarers we meet, elevate their dignity, provide them practical services, and improve mental health at sea.
Seafarers work long hours in rough and isolating conditions, and are at a high risk for burnout, depression, anxiety, and suicide. Seafarers may be away from home for more than nine months at a time, and that can be especially difficult around the holidays when they are unable to celebrate with family.
Every winter, the Seattle Seafarers Center packs over 1,000 "ditty bag" gifts to give to seafarers in Puget Sound: these bags contain a hand-knit hat, essential toiletry items, and snacks/candy. These bags are one way we say thank you to the hardworking seafarers who make enormous sacrifices every day in order to transport 90% of the world's traded goods.
On Giving Tuesday, the Seattle Seafarers Center invites you to make a financial donation to support our annual Ditty Bag Program and the many other ways we serve seafarers.
Thanks to the Archdiocese of Seattle, the first $5,000 in gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar. And if your employer has a matching program, your donation could be tripled!
Your gift makes it possible for our staff and volunteers to visit over 450 cargo ships each year in the ports of Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma, providing practical and spiritual care to 12,000 crewmembers. Our trained ship visitors and chaplains offer a listening ear to seafarers, connect them with mental health resources, and provide communication tools so they can stay in contact with family and friends back home. We also transport crew to the city, so they can spend much-needed time off their ship sightseeing or shopping for personal necessities.
The Seattle Seafarers Center has had a presence at the Port of Seattle since 1971. Today’s center is an ecumenical partnership between the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, the Archdiocese of Seattle, and the Northwest Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The Center is also part of a global ministry encompassing over 100 international centers and is affiliated with two international seafarer ministries: the Anglican Communion's Mission to Seafarers and the Roman Catholic’s Stella Maris. The Center is also affiliated with the North American Maritime Ministry Association.
Partnering with Discovery Health, over 6,000 seafarers received free, onboard vaccinations during the pandemic.
We are grateful to all our dedicated partners, sponsors, donors, and volunteers for making this vital mission possible. Thank you all!