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There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.

Joseph Conrad

Raising awareness and support for those who live their lives on the sea, it’s time to learn about and celebrate International Day of the Seafarer.

History of International Day of the Seafarer

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is a specialized agency of the United Nations, founded the International Day of the Seafarer, the first of which occurred in 2011.

The day was started with the purpose of urging people to support and promote seafarers and sailors as people who are essential to the industry of global trade and transport. It is meant to be a reminder that many of the items and products that people use on a daily basis have arrived to them because of the work of sailors and seafarers.

Its origins come from the year prior, in 2010, when a resolution was adopted by the Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

Following its adoption, the International Day of the Seafarer was included in the United Nations list of Annual Observances. This day is set aside for the discussion of topics such as the rights, health and safety of sailors and seafarers.

Each year the theme for the International Day of the Seafarer changes, with past themes including, “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future”; “Faces of the Sea” and “A fair future for Seafarers”.

How to Celebrate International Day of the Seafarer

Try out some of these ways to celebrate and observe the International Day of the Seafarer:

Thank a Seafarer or Sailor

Whether it’s a sailor who serves in the navy or a person who works on the docks or as a seafarer in the shipping industry, this is a great time to let them know how much they are appreciated and give them a hearty “thank you!”

Don’t know any personally? It’s easy to put a message or meme on social media with recognition of International Day of the Seafarer to raise awareness and promote the observance of the day.

Get Educated About Seafarers

Learning more about the work and plight of sailors and seafarers is a good way to observe International Day of the Seafarer. Get more information by visiting the International Maritime Organization’s website (supported by the United Nations).

It’s possible to learn about International Maritime Organization publications, meetings, news magazines, resources, awareness bulletins and the IMO Knowledge Center. Topics range from the health and safety of sailors to facts and figures related to seafarers; from legal affairs to technical cooperation; or from which states are members to the marine environment.

Hold an International Day of the Seafarer Event

Planning an event promoting and encouraging others to observe and honor sailors and seafarers on this day could be a fun way to celebrate! It could simply be a small gathering for friends, family or coworkers. Or it might turn into a larger community event, at the library or a school, where the public is invited.

As part of the event, host a knowledgeable speaker who can bring an educational element to the day. But also, it would be great to offer fun and interesting entertainment for seafarers, their families, and others who want to support them. Whatever is done, be sure to encourage a memorable experience for International Day of the Seafarer!

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