Welfare Boards, like countries and ports, come in many different shapes and sizes. There are, however, two distinct types of Welfare Board as follows:
National Seafarers’ Welfare Boards (NSWB) – coordinates seafarers’ welfare within a state and, where appropriate, its dependencies. The role of a NSWB is to ensure that working, domiciled and visiting seafarers are provided with the highest standard of welfare provision within available resources. NSWBs are encouraged in States with significant ports and numerous associated local Welfare Boards exist or are planned to be created. In exceptional circumstances a National Welfare Board be a Port Welfare Board eat the same time e.g. Singapore.
Regional or Local Seafarers’ Welfare Boards (also known as Port Welfare Committees (PWC)) – coordinate seafarers’ welfare at a regional or local port level and, where they exist, are considered the ‘eyes and ears’ of their National Welfare Board. Often viewed as the NSWB local/regional welfare sub-committees, PWCs bring together representatives from the local maritime community to support and improve seafarers’ welfare facilities and services. PWCs ensure quality service provision across a region or major port area. Although a PWC can operate independently, the benefits of working collaboratively as part of a national structure are widely acknowledged. Where appropriate, PWCs encourage and promote the establishment of port levy schemes to help support and sustain the funding of welfare facilities and services such as seafarers’ centres and port transport.