A recent study examining the UK seafarer industry from tax year 2018, to tax year 2019, show that there were an estimated 25,750 UK seafarers active at sea in 2018. While that figure might seem high to some, it is in line with figures over recent years which, by the way have remained stable.

The study did, however, provide some important insight into the health of the seafaring industry. Let’s take a look at some of the data compiled by HRM Department For Transport.

Here are the recent statistics (1) on UK seafarers active at sea and non-UK seafarers qualified to work on UK registered vessels from tax year 2018, to tax year 2019:

  • 48% of the UK seafarers active at sea were officers (10,480 certificated and 1,460 uncertificated) with a further 1,760 officer cadets in training.
  • In 2018 the estimated total of the UK seafarers active at sea was 8% higher than the previous year.
  • 96% of certificated officers, 66% of uncertificated officers of UK seafarers active at sea are male.
  • 40,780 UK seafarers held certificates to work on UK vessels issued by the Maritime And Coastguard Agency.
  • 14,480 of the above 40,780 UK seafarers were UK nationals.

The majority of these UK seafarers are officers or cadets, and the total includes:

  • 10,480 certificated officers, with 84% of those holding certificates are active at sea.
  • 1,760 officer cadets currently in training.
  • 1,460 uncertificated officers and 12,050 ratings employed by companies that are members of the UK Chamber of Shipping.

While the overall trend over the past 15 years in UK seafaring industry has been a decrease in the number of UK seafarers, the estimated total in 2018 was actually 8% higher than in 2017. Experts suggest that this dramatic growth could be attributed to changes in membership of the Chamber of Shipping, while others believe that it could have been a result of the Brexit uncertainty. But, now that Brexit is official could we see those numbers climb even higher?

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  1. Data from HRM Department For Transport’s Statistical Release.