Members of the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS) are once again opening up their Sovereign Harbour-based training vessel East Sussex 1 to the public, over this weekend (24-25 June).
Following a successful three days alongside Sovereign Harbour's Waterfront over the early may Bank Holiday, which attracted several new recruits to the Eastbourne-based MVS Unit, the sea training charity's volunteers are getting ready to launch Seafarers Awareness Week locally by once more inviting the public on board.
National charity Seafarers UK (formerly known as the King George's Fund for Sailors) coordinates and promotes Seafarers Awareness Week in June each year, to coincide with the International Maritime Organization’s ‘Day of the Seafarer’. Each year Seafarers Awareness Week has a fresh theme and this year the focus is on UK maritime employment opportunities, including shore-based jobs.
The MVS Unit's head of engineering, Ian Lloyd, served in the Merchant Navy as an electrical officer for much of his career. He says, “One of the MVS's charitable objectives is to educate the general public in all things maritime so we are happy to support Seafarers Awareness Week. Nowadays the shipping industry and seafarers are usually out of sight and out of mind and we want to remind people how much they depend on seafarers.”
Tim Dixon is a Scout Leader as well as an MVS volunteer and he points out that the MVS's Youth Sea Experience programme also encourages young people to take an interest in the sea, boating and, in some cases, careers at sea. This year's programme includes Scouts, Nautical Training Corps, Bexhill Sailing Cub Cadets and Sea Cadets.
The head of the local MVS Unit, David Hughes, says, “If you are in the Sovereign Harbour area over the weekend, please do come aboard and look over our ex-Royal Navy harbour launch which we have converted into an effective and well equipped training vessel. And we happy to tell you more about both Seafarers UK and the MVS. Children are also very welcome on board, if they bring a grown-up with them, and have their picture taken 'driving' the ship.”
He adds, “Although we are well into our youth sea experience programme we could still take out one or two more youth groups in late July, and also during the Autumn half term, and would welcome enquiries from leaders, either through our website or by telephone 01323 768908.”