A seafarers life on board may not be the easiest lifestyle or working environment, but few mariners would argue that it’s not a rewarding one. Of course, long weeks or months spent at sea and away from home may feel somewhat isolating but most would agree that the benefits of life on the ocean wave far outweigh any perceived drawbacks.
There’s no denying that working in the maritime industry is not always a piece of cake: long hours, living in close quarters and manual labor are part and parcel of the job. But in this life at sea article we’d like to focus on the positives! On the flip side, you get to experience the thrill of adventure, the mind-opening joy of travel, and the feeling of being at one with Mother Nature. The same can’t be said for working in an office, that’s for sure!
Another big plus of life at sea is the sense of belonging to a close-knit community which naturally develops over the time you spend on board. While it would be naive to suggest that absolutely everyone in the crew is going to get along like the proverbial house on fire, it would be true to say that firm friendships are made during voyages. And while seafarers do have to deal with the occasional bout of loneliness knowing that their friends and family are thousands of miles away, a surrogate family of other mariners will be there to offer support and understanding.
And it can be those friendships that make all the difference. People you may have never crossed paths with before could become friends for life. Opportunities abound to spend time with, and get to know, seafarers of different ages, backgrounds, races and beliefs. Making the effort to overcome language barriers and socialize with your fellow shipmates can be one of the most rewarding aspects of life at sea.
Of course hanging out, playing cards or watching movies with your buddies on board is only one part of a seaman’s life and on a professional level, the satisfaction gained from seeing one’s knowledge and skills grow will be immense. Yes the working hours can be long and some daily tasks may feel repetitive but many vessels and ship operators will offer the opportunity for on the job training and education. From learning navigation at sea to trigonometry in marine engineering to coding and programming to solving navigation math problems - the scope for adding new accomplishments to your CV is wide and varied.
And of course, the more accomplished and well rounded your resume, the more likely it is you will be able to move up the ranks and achieve promotion. Maybe your interest in mathematics for marine engineers will help you climb the maritime career ladder. Or perhaps you’d prefer to brush up on your tech skills and become more involved in that area. After all, like the majority of industries, the shipping sector is not immune to the onslaught of technology either.