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Ditty Bags

During the holidays, the Center provides every seafarer with a ditty bag. Throughout the year, there are many opportunities to participate in the ditty bag project. If you knit or sew, we welcome your hand crafted bags and hats. If you shop, we welcome your offerings of basic toiletries. If you are interested in organizing a ditty bag stuffing party, we can help you plan that. Finally, every November we hold a ditty bag stuffing party. Come join the fun as we finish preparing these great gifts for people.

What is a ditty bag?


Do you use a small travel bag to hold important essentials when you take a trip? If so, you already use a ditty bag, or something like one! At the Seattle Seafarers Center, we provide about 1,000 ditty bags to merchant seafarers with bags full of all kinds of basic necessities each year.

What goes into a ditty bag?

At a minimum, all bags should include the following:

  • an adult-sized knit hat

  • full size (please no travel size) bottle of shampoo and/or body wash

  • full size toothpaste

  • toothbrush (individually wrapped)

  • deodorant

  • shaving cream

  • 1-2 razors

You can optionally include additional items such as:

  • candy or snacks (ex. individually wrapped chocolate, nuts, or trail mix)

  • deck of cards or other small games

  • notepad and pen/pencil

  • hand or body lotion

  • socks or gloves

  • a hand-written card

  • something else special !


We also accept donations of sanitary products to include in ditty bags specifically for women. You can find a list of products here: Items for Female Seafarers.

How can you contribute?

  • Knit hats: You can find several suggested patterns here. Hats should be adult-sized.

  • Sew ditty bags: Find the instructions here

  • Sew sanitary pad pouches or cloth pads for women: See patterns here

  • Purchase supplies to donate (see list of items above). Dollar Tree and Costco are great places to shop!

  • Contribute money that is used to buy more supplies. You can purchase gift cards (ex. to Dollar Tree, Target, etc.), or donate via check or PayPal (see our donations page)

  • Come to our Ditty Bag Stuffing Day on November 18, 2023 at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in West Seattle. See more details here

  • Organize a donation drive or stuffing event for your community or workplace. Contact to learn more!

How and when should I deliver donations?

Please contact our office via email ( or phone (206-935-3439) to arrange a pick-up or drop-off of donations.


We request that donations are delivered by November 8, 2023, so we can prepare for our Ditty Bag Stuffing Day the following week. However, we accept donations at any time of the year, so don't fret if you miss the date!

Our address is 1011 SW Klickitat Way, Suite 209, Seattle, WA 98134.

Interested in learning more?


Check out this YouTube video from King County Maritime about the ditty bag program.

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