The Swedish Mercantile Marine Foundation was formed on 5 May 1972. The main task was to manage the legacy of the old Seaman’s Houses and to give financial support to seamen and seamen’s widows in need. During the first few decades the number of recipients decreased steadily, but in recent years the curve has flattened out. The Mercantile Marine Foundation also supports research and education and awards scholarships to students.
It has become most renowned for the annual prize-giving days when creative sailors are given awards for ingenious inventions that help work onboard ships.