A Holiday Initiative


Thank  you to all 2020 contributors! With your help we delivered 2080 Christmas-at-Sea satchels to seafarers during the Christmas Season of 2020.

Some 400,000 seafarers are currently affected by the crew change crisis. Due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, they had to extend their contracts and now many have been on sea without shore leave for over a year! You may listen to this report from the well-regarded Marketplace radio program about the situation that these "invisible essential workers" face.

This is why we invite you, your school group, business or congregation to bring joy to seafarers who will not be home with their loved ones for Christmas. Through gangway  hand-ups, 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. The Christmas-at-Sea satchels should be comparable for each member of the crew. And, 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.

We need to receive your filled satchels no later than Friday, December 3, 2021.  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

Christmas At Sea is supported by

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

Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (MEBA)

Seafarers International Union (SIU)

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