IMPA spoke to the full-service implementation partner on how the company is helping to improve the overall well-being of seafarers
WellAtSea, which Seably AB acquired at the end of 2022, is an organisation that is much needed today. As the global Covid-19 pandemic illustrated, being confined to small living quarters can be mentally and physically challenging- this is especially true for seafarers working offshore or aboard vessels. It is these specific challenges that WellAtSea has set out to alleviate.
The firm acts as a turnkey implementation solution for crew well-being. It helps individuals and teams improve mental resiliency, physical health and socialisation through its digital health platform coupled with strategic community management. With offices in Denmark and the Philippines, it has a truly global remit within the maritime industry.
The WellAtSea program is designed to combat the onset of poor mental health and physical disease. For seafarers, the culture onboard plays a crucial role in their overall wellbeing. When teams do not get along, or someone feels isolated from the group, the impact on an individual’s state of mind is important and needs addressing
Gisa Paredes is the Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer of WellAtSea. In the last 15 years, she has grown her career in the health and wellness industry, gaining experience in medical solutions as well as online weight loss programs. She has a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology, is a certified Acudetox specialist, and is a licensed psychologist. It is fair to say Paredes is well-versed in raising health standards.
When asked what the company hopes to achieve, she said: “I would say the primary goals of WellAtSea are centred on making evidence-based health solutions accessible, preventing the onset of mental illness or physical disease, and promoting a culture of care in the industry. We are also empowering the seafarer to take responsibility for their own health and will continue to do so; that means building a community that breaks barriers across ranks, cultures and genders.”
Tackling the issues
There are a plethora of potential problems seafarers could face, and many arise because it is easy to slip into an unhealthy lifestyle when aboard a vessel. Where day-to-day operations are concerned, the most common issues contributing to a decline in health include lack of sleep and general fatigue, poor eating habits and lack of mobility. When this behaviour is repeated, it can lead to various musculoskeletal and mental disorders. All crew will know and understand being at sea for extended periods can be physically and mentally challenging. Still, not all will necessarily have the tools or knowledge to overcome it. This is where WellAtSea comes in,
with its wealth of omnichannel solutions.
The WellAtSea program is designed to combat the onset of poor mental health and physical disease. For seafarers, the culture onboard plays a crucial role in their overall wellbeing. When teams do not get along, or someone feels isolated from the group, the impact on an individual’s state of mind is important and needs addressing. In order to face these common problems, WellAtSea uses its gamified solution to engage seafarers in activities which they can do as a team. Crew can sync their fitness devices, such as mobile phones or smartwatches, to the platform to keep track of their health stats. There is even the option to log their daily nutrition intake. Crew members are also provided with exercise plans, educational videos
and podcasts to support their work-life journey.
Paredes said: “Through various behavioural activities that are introduced by our program, we help individuals build skills in emotional regulation, self-efficacy, and self-awareness. They learn more about how they communicate, offering support to each other, and of course- how they can also have fun.
“For every health behaviour a seafarer engages in, they can earn points and exchange these for rewards that will benefit themselves or their families back home. With the support of our team and our technology, we can now quantify employee engagement, measure impact, and extract relevant health data that can help us make informed decisions on crew welfare.”
The program is proving popular within the marine trade industry, with the likes of BW Group,
V Group, TORM, Thome Group, Berge Bulk, Norstar, Northern Marine, OjiOla, Terntank and IMEC just some of the organisations already using WellAtSea solutions to keep their crew safe.
But according to Paredes, WellAtSea is not content to rest on its laurels and has ambitions to grow further through this year and beyond. Seably’s investment in WellAtSea will allow the company to expand its offering, focusing on improving mental resilience and enhancing the physical state of the seafarer’s health. Paredes is keen to demonstrate that it does not employ a cookie-cutter, one size fits all approach- the WellAtSea program package offers an exclusive platform branded to an individual firm’s corporate identity. They are assigned a dedicated community coordinator, access to the content catalogue, flexibility to incorporate their own company initiatives, and regular reporting on their crew’s participation levels.
In 2023, we want to re-shape the meaning of prevention by utilising significant data to tell a better story around the work and life of seafarers. The company is investing its energy in ensuring that it can measure mental health states and capture what is relevant in real-time. This allows management teams to approach crews with better care through time and further training
Looking ahead, Paredes believes WellAtSea has a big role to play in the welfare of crew across the globe. She said: “In 2023, we want to re-shape the meaning of prevention by utilising significant data to tell a better story around the work and life of seafarers.” The company is investing its energy in ensuring that it can measure mental health states and capture what is relevant in real-time. This allows management teams to approach crews with better care through time and further training.
When asked what she would say to shipping companies or other organisations involved in marine trade who may be worried about keeping their employees physically and mentally safe at sea, Parades concluded: “It costs less to put a good crew wellness program in place than it does to pay for medical repatriation, injury, or sudden death. We estimate that the costs facing companies for illness, medical repatriation and Death of a Seafarer can range anywhere from 25,000 – 105,000 Euros. Organisations worried about their employees’ safety need to realise that for their business to thrive, the crew must be alive in mind, body, and spirit.
“WellAtSea can offer organisations the support they need while considering the company’s processes and overall work culture. We can discuss any concerns and see how we can address them together.”