[Edit: my patterns for woolly hats are here and here.] [Edit 2, 9th Jan 2009: the society's website has moved domains and completely scrambled all the links. The address I sent hats to is currently here, but in case the website moves again, it was Sailors' Society, 350 Shirley Road, Southampton, Hampshire, SO15 3HY. They got them, because they sent me a nice letter.]
3rd-9th February is the Sailors' Society Woolly Hat Week. From their website:
"Seafaring is one of the world's most dangerous professions, and 95% of the world's trade is transported by sea. ... The Woolly Hat Campaign provides seafarers arriving in the UK, often ill-prepared for our weather, with hand-knitted hats to keep themselves warm during the many months they are at sea. "Some hat patterns are provided, but a woolly hat is a woolly hat, so it's hardly necessary.
The Sailors' Society is a religious charity, but as far as I can tell from their site they do not evangelise or use any religious tests, and their religion is a motivation rather than a goal of their work.
I do have a bit of a problem of conscience with helping a religious body to advertise itself to cold and lonely seafarers. I'm happy to endorse their work, but I'm not at all happy about giving any appearance of endorsing the assertions that go with it, which I happen to find unconvincing.
However, the Sailor's Society has an established network of people who distribute hats in winter, and it's the kind of thing I'd like to do. And on the whole, I'm usually against examining too closely people's motivations for doing a thing which is good in itself. So I think I may knit them a hat or two.
The address to send hats to is at the bottom of the pattern but it is the same address as here.
"They who go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep ...
... They mount up to the heaven, they go down agan to the depths:
their soul is melted because of trouble."