Supporting UK Merchant Navy seafarers and their families

The Seafarers’ Charity is once again calling on organisations and communities across the UK to pay tribute to the people behind the Merchant Navy Flag by flying the Red Ensign on Merchant Navy Day, Sunday 3rd September. This is a longstanding and continuing campaign to highlight the Merchant Navy and its significance in our history, and our future.

Merchant Navy Day 2023

This year’s Merchant Navy Day focus is a celebration of the people behind the flag; the men and women who serve, or have served, as merchant seafarers. Their bravery kept supply lines open during two World Wars, and today they play a vital role as keyworkers ensuring the delivery of food and fuel and other vital goods.

The Seafarers’ Charity is encouraging people to share their stories and photos on social media using the hashtag #MerchantNavyDay; either of their experiences as merchant seafarers, or of someone they know who has served in the Merchant Navy.

For anyone wanting to honour the hardworking individuals who serve in the Merchant Navy, one of the best ways you can help is by raising awareness of Merchant Navy Day by emailing your contacts or by using social media – and to help there’s a free Social Media Pack available on the charity’s website.

Merchant Navy Day is also an opportunity to support the Merchant Navy Fund, which provides grants to maritime charities to support past and current UK merchant seafarers and their families in hardship or need. Rising costs for food, rents and mortgages are pushing many into debt, including those who work at sea.

On this year’s Merchant Navy Day, I hope you will join me in paying tribute to the people behind our flag, our Merchant seafarers, past and present, especially as we commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest and deadliest battle of WW2. Over 26,000 Merchant and 23,000 Royal Navy seafarers lost their lives – we remember them and their ultimate sacrifice. Merchant Navy Day is a time to recognise and thank merchant seafarers of the past and of today who supply us with 95% of everything that we consume or export from our Island Nation.


Please raise the Red Ensign in recognition of the commitment and sacrifices of the people behind the flag. Without seafarers, we would be facing empty shelves in shops, chemists and supermarkets and Merchant Navy Day is our chance to show this vital workforce how we value them. If you can, please also donate to the Merchant Navy Fund. This fund has already provided over £750,000 in grant funding to maritime welfare charities supporting active and retired merchant seafarers, thanks to generous donors like you.