Setting you on course
for a brighter future


Today’s Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation started life in 1827 as The Merchants’ Seamen’s Orphan Asylum, which was tasked not only with providing board and lodging for the orphans of British Merchant Navy seamen but also, and pertinently, with sufficient education to enable them to obtain employment.

It is now a British national children’s educational charity, which provides funding for the needy British children of Merchant Navy seafarers, professional sea-going fishermen and RNLI lifeboat crew members, who have served or are serving at sea and who are unable to meet their children’s educational needs. Our Patron HM the late Queen and our President HRH the late Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT, OM.

We help our beneficiaries, or ‘Foundationers’ as we call them, by providing support that ‘enables education’ – which could be anything from school fees, textbooks or uniform, right through to computers, internet access or even shoe repairs!

To find out more about our work, and how we might be able to help you or someone you know, please get in touch today or click here to view our case studies.

Celebrating 190 years of British social history

For centuries, the RMNEF has played a vital role in the prosperity of the UK. Our archives provide a fascinating snapshot of the previous 190 years of British social history, preserving it for future generations. Watch the video below to find out more.


“Everything we do is focused on changing young people’s lives by enabling their education.”
Commander Charles Heron-Watson, Secretary

Please read the case studies below to find out how we have directly supported our Foundationers.

Cathryn's Story

Tom's Story

Emily's story

A New Royal Patron

Following the thorough analysis of over one thousand organisations, His Majesty confirmed he would be delighted to accept the Patronage of the Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation.  Click here for the full story.

Working with Maritime Organisations

If you are a maritime charity or maritime employment agency and could help us to identify suitable Foundationers, please click here for more information.

Registered Charity Number 1153323
Copyright © 2024 RMNEF

Website designed by Shine Creative