Crew on vessels from the shipping, cruise and superyacht industries will take part in innovative onboard research using wearable and mobile technology to track the impact of social interaction on their wellbeing.

The research is carried out by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) with the support of its research partners AIDA Cruises, MY Savannah, V.Ships, Y.CO, another yacht management company, and a 74m private superyacht.

Each vessel taking part in ISWAN’s social interaction matters (SIM) project will have two “social ambassadors,” as they are called, one on board and one shoreside to facilitate social activities, encourage crew to engage, and work directly with ISWAN’s SIM Project team.

All participating crew will use their phones to answer one wellbeing-related question each day, and will wear Fitbit devices to track the impact of social activities and other key influencers on their overall health.

The research will kick off with V.Ships and AIDA Cruises in July with the rest launching over the coming months.

The project will help ISWAN to develop the guidance and recommendations, “a valuable and inclusive health and wellbeing tool for the shipping industry and for all the seafarers.”

Georgia Allen, ISWAN’s projects and relationships manager, said: “ISWAN and the SIM Project team are incredibly thankful to all for recognising the value in this research and the future benefits to all those who live and work at sea, and for being brave enough to take the plunge and sign up.

“We hope the resulting refreshed guidance and recommendations, which have been evaluated for their effectiveness in real time, will be taken forwards as a long-term, collaborative, valuable tool for the sector to improve the health and wellbeing of seafarers worldwide.”