A 185 year old tradition active in 800 ports worldwide was late in reaching Florida. In 1988, a seminary intern from Spain joined forces with a Coral Gables Attorney and the Episcopal Bishop of Southeast Florida to start new chaplaincy, amid rapid maritime industrial growth in South Florida.
Seafarers' House began in 1989 with four telephones and a 400 square foot hospitality center located in Port Everglades. Today, our 4,200 square foot facility hosts over 100,000 crew visits each year, more than any other agency in North America. During the busy winter cruise season, over 1,500 phone calls are placed worldwide in a single day.
Most cargo and some crew companies fly "flags of convenience" to improve their tax position and labor costs. Most crew now come from countries where unemployment is high. They work long hours for what our society considers low wages, getting paid in U.S. currency. These hardworking men and women leave
their families behind for up to a year at a time in order
to support them.
Besides being so far
from home, seafarers are nearly invisible to the societies that they serve. This sometimes leaves them vulnerable to exploitation.
Our Chaplain is great with these special problems.