Every day, up to seven container ships and bulk carriers berth at the Port of Seattle. The Center aims to visit every crew at least one time while they are alongside in Seattle. At one level, ship visiting is simple. We welcome seafarers to Seattle and provide pastoral presence, so that crews know they are seen and appreciated. Ship visiting can also be a profound experience, for both the visitor and the crew. Visitors and crews discover what it means to be both guest and host at the same time.
Ship visitors need a few basics before they begin visiting, including a valid TWIC card and some basic safety equipment. Before your first visit, we also ask new ship visitors to complete a basic course on seafarers welfare and safety and to complete a background check. When you are a new ship visitor, a seasoned member of the Center will accompany you on your first few visits. Once you are comfortable navigating visits, we will schedule you for regular visits based on your availability.
Ship Visiting Basics
Before you begin ship visiting:
Obtain a TWIC card: https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/programs/twic
Complete some basic ship visitor training: This has been created and is offered by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board. It is a good, basic overview and should be completed before your first ship visit. http://shipwelfarevisitor.com. Contact us for log-in information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Download two apps: Marine Traffic and ShipVisitor. Both are free and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google play stores. They are useful, especially after you begin visiting.
Marine Traffic gives you access to the location and basic information about every ship in the Puget Sound and around the world. (It even includes the current location of the Ever Given!)
The ShipVisitor app was created especially for maritime chaplaincy and has been an invaluable resource as various seafarer centers keep each other posted about ship visits. It is also a good way to see the kinds of things that happen on our visits. Contact us for log-in information (email@example.com).
Purchase steel toed boots and a pair of comfortable work gloves.
If you plan to drive one of the vehicles, complete a background check and provide a copy of your current driver's license to the Center (email/text is fine). (firstname.lastname@example.org)