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WELLNESS COLUMN

Navigation in the Holiday Season celebrated before the date allow for the memory of having watched the excitement of the moment already played out on the kids/loved ones faces. This memory is worth making in advance and it can be sustaining through the loss of contact.

3. Navigating the Blues

1. Navigating Connection & Gratitude - Thank a Mariner Through Christmas at Sea/Gift Giving Programs For those at home making the holidays special in the absence of their sailor and for those at sea during the season there are Christmas at Sea/Gift Giving Programs. In 1898 the Seaman’s Church Institute in New York distributed hand-knit hats, mittens, and scarves for those who were miles from home during the holidays. Today this program has morphed into the distribution of over 71,000 gifts to sailors out of North America for the holidays. They contain letters of thanks, along with hand-made hats, scarves and other knit goods, all made and packed by volunteers. Most of the time ships pick-up these packages 6 Marine Log // December 2017

at a local Seafarers Mission while in port between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Captains/Management can call in advance with the number of boxes needed and volunteers often carry them to the ship, or ship’s crew can pick them up. There are many ways to participate in these programs locally, and nationally giving everyone a great way to connect with mariners during times of separation (and all year

The world runs on the backs of seafarers who take goods and military cargo across this world long). This long upheld tradition is one of the ways that a mariner can get recognition and gratitude for the work that they do and the service they provide.

2. Navigating Separation Celebrate Early Twenty-five years of living with a mariner has taught me that special occasion dates matter very little. The rotation is the rotation and birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and all other manner of special occasion are celebrated whenever, wherever. One thing I have learned is to celebrate earlier rather than after the date of the occasion. Christmas presents, birthday and other festivities

Emily Reiblein

Crowley Maritime Corporation, Labor Relations-Union Wellness Programs/ Operations Integrity

Shutterstock/Elena Shashkina

A

ll sorts of navigation will go on this holiday season. We will inevitably navigate parties, presents, vacations, family road trips and the list goes on. As we navigate on land, we need to take a moment to recognize the scope and scale of what our commercial sailors navigate while at sea. The world runs on the backs of seafarers who take goods and military cargo across the blue, gray, and brown waters of this world. Their cargo keeps homes warm, brings relief to victims, provide us all with clothes, food and fuel. Estimates are that there may be upwards of 75,000 seafarers navigating the seas this season. The following will help navigate the season of separation for seafarers and their families, and show gratitude for these men and women who make our season warm and bright.

Contrary to popular belief, the holiday season does not see a spike in suicides. This does not mean holiday blues are not on the up-tick though. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64 % of us report loneliness, frustration, feelings of loss, etc. around the holidays. A little extra support and enrichment, perhaps a hug (or two) may be needed onboard a vessel. In the United States, members of the North American Maritime Ministry Association (those who also support the gift giving programs) are at the ready to respond in over 50 locations across North America and in Canada, along with similar services internationally. Chaplains can be contacted in most ports and can help support any number of needs from providing a holiday service onboard a vessel, to one-on-one support or counseling. Many of them are trained in suicide prevention and intervention should the need arise (despite the statistics). While these programs are faithbased, they minister to any and all seafarers and their families no matter what their denomination. Additionally, these Centers usually accommodate rides to local shopping locations, a cold or hot drink, free Wi-Fi, and computer access for sailors in need and can mail presents or wages home for mariners. Missions are always looking for volunteers to work the phones, drive a sailor and deliver packages and a hug (or at least a hand shake) around the holidays. As we navigate this season, take a moment to remember that expressions of gratitude can heal many a lonely heart and can connect us with each other over seas of separation. Reaching out in the absence of a loved one to help others of a similar cloth, and cultivating sustaining moments can help brighten the navigation of the season.

Marine Log December 2017  
Marine Log December 2017