- Operations - ISWAN begin new research project

By Conor Feasey

ISWAN begin new research project

Crew will take part in innovative on-board research using wearable and mobile technology to track the impact of social interaction on their well-being…

The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has initiated a new research project in a bid to improve the health and well-being of crew by promoting increased quality social interaction and rest time. 

“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,” says Georgia Allen, ISWAN’s Projects and Relationships Manager. “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.”

The research partners for ISWAN’s Social Interaction Matters (SIM) Project reflect the diverse range of industries within the maritime sector. They include Savannah, Y.CO, AIDA Cruises, V.Ships, another unnamed yacht management company, and a 74-metre private yacht.

Collaborating with these partners, ISWAN aims to assess the effectiveness of its current guidance and recommendations in fostering crew cohesion and enhancing overall health and well-being on board. This marks the first inclusion of the cruise and superyacht industries in the SIM Project, adding a new dimension to the research.

“ISWAN’s strategy is not only to highlight crew welfare issues, but to provide the sector with actionable, preventative solutions,” adds Allen. “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.”

Funded by the Trinity House Maritime Charity Department for Transport (DfT) Fund and sponsored by Seaspan Corporation, each vessel involved in the SIM Project will appoint two Social Ambassadors – one on board and one shoreside. These ambassadors will facilitate social activities, encourage crew engagement, and collaborate directly with ISWAN’s SIM Project team. Participating crew members will answer a daily wellbeing-related question via their phones and wear Fitbit devices to monitor the impact of social activities and other key influencers on their overall health.

To use the latest technology that meets the needs of the project and seafarers, ISWAN has partnered with PsyFyi and its data-collection platform, SeaQ. This collaboration aims to significantly enhance the project's data-collection methods, providing more robust insights into crew wellbeing in turn.

“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,” explains Claire Georgeson, Founder of PsyFyi.

“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 commence with V.Ships and AIDA Cruises in July, with additional partners joining in the following months. SuperyachtNews will provide ongoing updates on the project's progress.

FEADSHIP 2015 2015 Delivered
83.50m 12.50m 4.15m 2305
CG DESIGNSDe Voogt Naval Architects

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