Pioneering yachtswoman Clare Francis joins Maritime Media Awards 2016 to champion ‘women in maritime’

The shortlist for the 2016 Maritime Media Awards has been revealed today ahead of the October celebration which will this year champion the importance of women in maritime.

The national event will be attended by leading lights and dignitaries from the maritime sector including Clare Francis MBE, one of the first women to sail the Trans-Atlantic single handed, and senior Royal Navy Officer Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE.

Hosted by the Maritime Foundation the annual awards honour work which deepens understanding of maritime issues and particularly Britain’s dependence on the sea.

It includes the coveted Desmond Wettern Award for Best Maritime Journalist. Additional Awards will be handed out for Best writer/author, Best Film/Television documentary and Best Digital Media contributions. The awards evening is set to take place at the Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London, on Tuesday, October 25.

Maritime Foundation and judging panel chairman Julian Parker OBE said this year’s shortlist (see notes to editors) showcases outstanding contributions from across the maritime community over the last 12 months.

“The key theme for this year’s media awards is women in maritime,” he said. “We will be using this platform to raise greater awareness of the remarkable work being carried out by women in maritime across the globe within ships, on shore, in ports, in finance and business.

“In the Royal Navy some 30pc of all ship’s crews are female with new provision to include billets on submarines. When it comes to research in areas such as marine biology, environmental studies, and oceanography we are also witnessing increasing impact from women producing highly valuable work. It is a subject which we believe needs greater recognition and understanding.”

The Maritime Foundation is a charity promoting Britain’s interests across the entire maritime sector. Its purpose is to inform and raise public and parliamentary awareness of the importance of Britain’s maritime industries, commerce and defence. It takes action through education, training and research, as well as the annual awards.

“Immediately before the EU referendum the Maritime Foundation held a high level briefing to consider some of the detailed issues facing fisheries, shipping and defence,” he said. “Britain’s dependence on the seas can be easily overlooked. However, the maritime services sector for example is estimated to be worth circa £13billion to the UK economy. The key to raising public awareness about the importance of the sea and global interrelated maritime issues is through media exposure.

“This places a serious responsibility on media personnel to look wider than internal affairs. The Maritime Foundation presents the Maritime Media Awards to give recognition to those journalists, writers, programme makers and social media users, who step outside the theatre of domestic politics and expose the facts about the UK’s dependence on the sea for its economic prosperity and security. As a Foundation we are encouraged to see growing recognition that Britain’s economic recovery will largely depend on re-establishing itself as a major global exporting nation through looking to the sea. However, if we are to truly succeed on this front we must ensure Britain remains a proud and progressive seafaring nation at its very core.”

“This year the Maritime Media Awards is set to be a multi-cultural and multi-layered event with a greater number of international entries than ever before. As ever we have been highly encouraged by the breadth of topics covered as well as the intellectual rigour, detailed study and imagination from our applicants.

“The awards are a charitable event which aim to provide recognition to those people who have prominently promoted maritime themes. It is an ideal opportunity to meet other media colleagues and also discover the new subjects and innovative communication methods available in this fast moving digital era.”

The judging committee includes a panel of 17 eminent maritime personalities. Places are still available for the 2016 Maritime Media Awards and dinner reservation forms can be found via the following web address: or by contacting event organiser Sophie Brown via email

Reception will be held in the Waterloo Room at 18.30 followed by dinner at 19.15 and the presentation of the Awards in the Nash Room. Proceedings will end at around 22.30.

Notes to editors:

Nomination for this year’s Maritime Media Awards 2016 are listed at

Award categories:

  • Desmond Wettern Media Award – for best journalistic contribution.
  • Mountbatten Award – for best literary contribution.
  • Donald Gosling Award – for best television and film contribution.
  • The First Sea Lord’s Digital Media Award – for the team or person who has made the most constructive contribution to generating awareness of current maritime issues specifically produced and uploaded through digital media outlets.
  • Maritime Fellowship Award – to honour an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to stimulating public engagement in maritime issues.
  • Desmond Wettern Fleet Award – handed to the HM ship, submarine, Naval Air Squadron or Royal Marine Unit that is judged to have made the best contribution to a positive image of the Royal Navy.

The Maritime Foundation

  • The Maritime Foundation is a not for profit organisation promoting Britain’s interests across the entire maritime sector. Its purpose is to inform and raise public and parliamentary awareness of the importance of Britain’s maritime industries, commerce and defence through education, training and research, as well as through the Foundation’s annual Maritime Media Awards.
  • The Maritime Media Awards were established in 1995, in memory of Desmond Wettern, former naval correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. The Desmond Wettern Media Award was initiated to give recognition to those journalists who do most to create public awareness of maritime matters. The Awards have since grown into a national event
  • Across the decades there have been many notable and worthy winners. An early recipient was renowned maritime journalist Michael Grey back in 1998. Captain Richard Woodman was honoured in 2011 for his landmark series of books charting A History of the British Merchant Navy. Other notable winners have been Professor Nicholas Rogers for his authoritative book The Command of the Ocean and Professor Callum Roberts for his campaigning thesis on Sea of Life. More recently Dan Snow was commended for his outstanding television series Empire of the Seas and Rose George for her illuminating book Deep Sea and Foreign Going.