Seafarers Center offers local respite for mariners
The Port of Vancouver USA welcomes just over 390 vessels each year and the crews working these ships are often at sea for weeks or months at a time without the comforts of home. That is where the Fort Vancouver Seafarers Center comes in – with a mission “To provide the best care and respite possible for visiting Seafarers of the world”.
There are currently over 1.3 million seafarers aboard cargo and container ships across the globe. 3,000 of those mariners, all with specific clearances to leave international vessels, come through the Vancouver Seafarers Center each year. The organization offers an array of free amenities to mariners, including local shopping, tours & sightseeing, and opportunities to send their wages to family in their home countries. The facility also houses a library with books in multiple languages, a non-denominational chapel, a kitchen, games and comfortable areas to rest.
The organization runs entirely on the donations of both individual philanthropists, faith partners and local businesses. Kent Williams, Executive Director of the Seafarers Center, works continually throughout the year to fundraise.
Due to being located within a secured area, it’s difficult for the community to visit and see the benefits that the center brings to the mariners. This time of year, Kent is working to build up to 600 goody bags for their Christmas celebration. These will include a knit cap, socks, candy, mugs and small toiletries – just a few small things that can offer a little taste of home and comfort to those headed back out to sea.
“The mariners are unseen by the general population, and we are trying our best to support them when they visit the center,” said Kent.
The Port of Vancouver is proud to partner with the Seafarers Center each year. To learn more or support this organization, contact Kent at 360-694-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.