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Charities launch first ever health manual for fishermen in Seafarers’ Awareness Week

The Seamen’s Hospital Society (SHS) and the Men’s Health Forum (MHF) have today joined forces to launch a new health booklet directed at fishermen working in the UK and timed to coincide with Seafarers’ Awareness Week.

Written in the style of Haynes car manuals, the Fisherman mini manual aims to provide men who work in the fishing industry with practical advice about their health and debunk some commonly-held myths.
Commercial fishing is a physically demanding and stressful job. Fishermen often work long hours in harsh conditions; their catches are unpredictable and so is their income. This, combined with the high risk of injury from accidents at work, can make it difficult for fishermen to stay in good health. And it’s prompted the Maritime Charities Funding Group (MCFG) to commission and fund the first ever health manual for fishermen.

Following today’s launch at the MNWB Seafarers’ Welfare Conference, Peter Coulson, SHS General Secretary, said: ‘Fisherman provides information from a male perspective in a well-respected and easy-to-follow format. It’s small, comprehensive and easy to use, with sections on accidents, drink and drugs, cancer, back care and coping with stress.’

‘It’s practical, with top tips and easy-to-follow exercises,’ he added. ‘It’s realistic and it’s fun, using humour to tackle potentially embarrassing issues such as impotence and alcohol.’

This is a collaborative initiative between SHS and MHF, with input from various fishing organisations, including: the Fishermen’s Mission, Seafish, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and fishermen themselves. It follows the success of a similar mini manual for farmers, which was highly commended by the British Medical Association (BMA).

Dr Ian Banks, MHF President and author of the booklet, said: ‘We recognise that men in this industry have particular health worries and often their own way of looking at things. Specific targeted information is what a lot of men tell us they like, so Fisherman is written in a way that fishermen can relate to and addresses issues that they might find difficult to talk about.’

Fisherman is being distributed around the UK via the Fishermen’s Mission, a number of specialist physiotherapy providers and a range of organisations in touch with fishing communities.

Speaking on behalf of the Fishermen’s Mission, spokesman Andrew Wright, said: ‘This is a welcome initiative and one we are very pleased to be able to support. Local missions are an important source of information and advice for fishermen and our staff will play a leading role in distributing this innovative booklet.’

Health professionals are another key audience. ‘As well as encouraging fishermen to look after their own health, we want to raise awareness amongst health professionals of the challenges in keeping healthy for those who work at sea’, explained Peter Coulson.

Copies of Fisherman can be obtained direct from SHS by calling 020 8858 3696 or downloaded from the SHS website




About SHS
• The Seamen’s Hospital Society (SHS) is a maritime welfare charity that has been caring for the health and welfare of seafarers since 1821
• Fisherman is part of a programme of work being co-ordinated by SHS to improve the health of seafarers. Other projects include promoting free, rapid-access physiotherapy for seafarers and sponsoring a dedicated health trainer to work with the fishing community in the Bridlington area

About Fisherman
• Funding for Fisherman was provided by the Maritime Charities Funding Group (MCFG). The MCFG is a coalition of six maritime charities working together to promote best practice and best use of resources among the maritime charities. The MCFG members are: the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, Nautilus International/Nautilus Welfare Fund, the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, Seafarers UK, the Seamen’s Hospital Society and Trinity House
• For a copy of Fisherman go to or contact SHS on 020 8858 3696

About the MHF
• The Men’s Health Forum is a charity that provides an independent and authoritative voice for male health in England and Wales and tackles the issues and inequalities affecting the health and well-being of men and boys
• To find out more about the MHF go to

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