A Holiday Initiative


Thank  you to all 2021 contributors! With your help we delivered 2,162 Christmas-at-Sea satchels to seafarers during the Christmas Season of 2021.

90% of global trade is transported on the high seas by crew members on containership who remain invisible to most people, yet our supply chains depend on their service. Because of COVID-19 related travel restrictions, seafarers have been stuck on sea on extended contracts with no shore leave. Others get vaccinated with help from our port chaplains to return home safely, especially if they hail from countries with high infection rates and little access to vaccines.  Seafarers are the “unseen essential workers” and are overworked, frustrated and lonely. Therefore, we invite you, your business, school group or congregation to bring joy to seafarers who will not be home with their loved ones for Christmas. Our port chaplains safely deliver the satchels filled with gifts to the ships for the holiday. Every crew member on a ship regardless of their faith or nationality will open their satchels, each containing: 


  • One Sweatshirt – hooded or unhooded (size M-L-XL)

  • Three Pairs of Socks – thermal or gym

  • One T- Shirt (size M-L-XL)

  • One Knitted Winter Cap (coordinating scarf optional; no pastels please) 

  • One Can of Nuts, Large Bar of Chocolate, or Health Snack Bar

  • A Holiday or Christmas Card from YOU!

You pick the colors, styles and brands, but please no substitutions from the list. For the safety of seafarers, please do not add fringes or pom-poms to the hats and scarves. The Christmas-at-Sea satchels should be comparable for each member of the crew. Please assemble each satchel with sweatshirts and T-shirts of the same size and label the satchel with a M, L, or XL on the back side.

What might otherwise have been another lonely night at sea during this pandemic becomes a joyous occasion, because complete strangers ashore have taken the time to share the spirit of Christmas with these otherwise invisible seafarers!

If it is more convenient, you may make a donation and have us purchase the items for you. Typically, a completely filled satchel costs about $35.

To order empty satchels and to coordinate delivery or pick up, please contact:


For Baltimore area:  Rev. K. Robert Schmitt, 410-746-0236,

For New England:  Ruth Setaro, 203-687-2177,

All other regions:   Jeni

Deadline and destination for filled satchels will be announced in the fall of 2022. 

Christmas At Sea is supported by

International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P)

Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (MEBA)

Seafarers International Union (SIU)


Why Christmas-at-Sea is mutually beneficial

by Pastor Sarah Hershberger

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