Container ship Atlantic Star approaching Liverpool. Image courtesy of Phillip Parker Seafarers UK is a charity that helps people in the maritime community by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families. The charity does this by giving grants to projects and organisations that make a real difference to people’s lives, across the Merchant Navy, Fishing Fleets, Royal Navy and Royal Marines. In 2016 Seafarers UK gave grants totalling £2.5million to more than 70 maritime welfare charities. This year, Seafarers UK is celebrating its 100 year anniversary. To mark this centenary the charity is holding a number of centenary celebration dinners around the country. The first dinner is in Liverpool this week, followed by events in London, Bristol and Glasgow. We often take for granted the importance of seafarers and the dependence we have on them. As an ‘island nation’ we depend on our seafarers to defend our shores, trade with other countries and import 95% of the things we take for granted in our daily lives. The job of a seafarer is therefore vital, but also demanding and hazardous with a much greater chance of injury than many other professions. A large number of those serving will be facing problems of different kinds; long periods of separation from family, extended periods of duty, fatigue, and working heavy machinery whilst being exposed to harsh weather. The funding provided by Seafarers UK enables seafarers access to advice, adapt to life on shore, re-train and find new employment. It also improves their quality of life by helping to provide the essentials of daily living that a small pension (or none) cannot cover. 24-30 June 2017 will mark Seafarers Awareness Week – the annual campaign to put the spotlight on our seafarers and maritime sector and their continued vital importance to the UK. Keep an eye on our website nearer the time for events and activities in Merseyside Maritime Museum that week. For more information on Seafarers UK and Seafarers Awareness Week, visit the Seafarers Awareness website.