Before I started handling public relations for Seafarers' House in Fort Lauderdale, I really didn't give much thought about how of the goods I rely on each day make it to our shores. I bet you haven't given much thought as to how those oranges in your fruit bowl or how that chocolate you are hiding from the kids in your desk drawer arrived. And, if you are like me, you likely haven't considered how tough the life of a mariner can be -- spending months at a time at sea without family, friends and the comfort of their own bed.
The Seafarers' House has spent the past 26 years catering to the needs of mariners who arrive at Port Everglades every day - seven days a week. They serve an estimated 150,000 mariners each year. Many of them who come to port don’t have visas. Without them, they can’t leave the ship. Imagine being in port for 10 days with nowhere to go and nothing to do! That’s where Seafarers’ House comes in, they will come aboard, they will bring items back to the ship, conduct religious services, and provide other much needed assistance.
I went on board a ship that had come to Port Everglades after a 20-day voyage across the Atlantic and only four of the 19 men had visas. Seafarers’ House was providing the men – all Filipinos – with whatever assistance they could.
As the organization prepares for its 26th anniversary celebration, Maritime Executive sat down with the organization's executive director and port chaplain to learn more about the organization's mission.
Garton-Miller Media is a full-service, South Florida-based public relations firm. Founder Susan R. Miller has 30 years of experience as a writer, journalist and PR professional.