About ISSC


The International Sailors' Society’s presence in Canada began in 1907 when the Rev. J. Wheeler of the British Sailors’ Society in London arrived to work with loggers and sailors in Vancouver.  On July 26th, 1949 the Society became an autonomous body under Dominion Charter.

For many years the Society operated its own seafarers’ centres in ports across Canada, providing ship visiting, accommodation, canteen services, library and writing facilities, social programmes, compassionate care and spiritual counselling to visiting seafarers.

However, by the 1970s, for a variety of reasons, there was a gradual closing of ISSC branches and the Society became a support agency providing annual grants to other seafarer centres.  When new facilities were needed, particularly in smaller ports, the Society was able to offer advice, encouragement and financial assistance.

The Society’s purpose is to ensure that a safe and welcoming environment is available to seafarers visiting Canadian ports.  To meet this commitment the Society seeks to sustain and augment the financial base which provides the income for its Grants Programme.  In recent years the Society has organised a series of fundraising activities, the proceeds from which have been used to augment our Grants Programme.

Over the past 35 years ISSC has contributed over $800,000 to fifteen centres, which help maintain the high quality of services provided by their dedicated staff and volunteers.

ISSC is a registered Canadian charity.  If you are interested in supporting the work of the Society through a donation, bequest or fundraising event, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or by phone at 604-681-2351.

Supporting the well-being of seafarers in Canada


The International Sailors Society Canada (ISSC) is a registered charity that contributes to seafarer centres and organizations in Canada that provide welfare support to merchant seafarers.   Through the facilities and services offered by the centres, ships arriving in port are visited by chaplains who reach out to thousands of seafarers each year to enhance their well-being.   The support provided by the chaplains and volunteers helps to relieve the feeling of loneliness, isolation and sometimes distress, and provides assistance where possible.

Merchant seafarers are at the very heart of our work and are an essential link in our supply chain.

We seek to provide higher standards in provision of seafarers’ welfare, and to relieve distress and financial hardship wherever it occurs. We strive to ensure that multinational merchant seafarers are treated fairly, positively and with respect and are not just the invisible and largely forgotten community that people mostly take for granted but upon whom we all unconsciously rely for so much of our daily life. We offer support to their family and relatives when disaster, piracy or personal tragedy occurs.

We aim to bridge that gap and make them feel welcome and valued. The men and women who make up the maritime industry make huge sacrifices to provide the peoples of the world with the modern way of life to which we have become accustomed.

The ISSC is affiliated with the Sailors' Society in the UK and several other branches worldwide.



Board of Directors


Chairman                Kevin Obermeyer   
Vice Chair Dave Charlton
Treasurer Donna Spalding
Secretary David Jarrett
Director John Darbyshire
Director Tim Ellis
Director Bonnie Gee
Director Thomas Gregoire
Director Lanna Hodgson
Director Yoss Leclerc
Director Dena Rantz
Director Richard Smith
Director Peter Swanson
Director John Young
Honoury Director George Adams
Honoury Director Phil Richardson
Honoury Director Peter Bernard
Honoury Director Terry Blaker