When you’re at sea, no two days are the same. There are so many factors that can play a part in shaping not just a voyage, but any given day on the ocean. The wind, the state of the sea, the weather, currents, and even the type of ship all play a role in deciding what specific challenges you’ll have to rise up and meet. It therefore stands to reason that the only way a seafarer can possibly be prepared for anything their vessel or the elements has to throw at them is through rigorous training. After all, safety is always paramount on board and preparation is everything when it comes to taking care of every situation, as well as ensuring your safety, that of your fellow crew members, and the cargo.

That’s not to say that ships aren’t one of the most reliable forms of travel and transportation - they are. But added to the weather and vessel factor, you also have the human aspect to take into consideration. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that accidents can, and do, happen - in every industry, not just the maritime one. It’s also unfortunate that most accidents that happen - whether on board a vessel or on a factory floor - are due to human error. And it goes without saying that an accident that happens at sea can be catastrophic. Seafarer training, therefore, is something that needs to be taken incredibly seriously if voyages are to be commercially successful and the people who are crewing the vessel are to be kept safe and sound at all times.

Anyone wanting to enter the profession and who plans on looking for cargo ship job vacancies in the future will need to be trained to perform their on board duties and also undertake personal safety training. The very first step to take is to attend a maritime academy. These schools focus on the maritime profession and are a first port of call, so to speak, for a budding seafarer who is interested in pursuing maritime career opportunities. Training at a nautical institute is vocational and a mariner-to-be will need to pass seaman courses and can then consider pursuing higher education in the field.

When choosing a specific area within the field to study, bear in mind that requirements for seafarers will vary from job to job. However all crew must be qualified and certified for the positions they are hired for and trained for the tasks they are to perform. The training will also need to conform to International Maritime Organisation standards. In addition, all seafarers must be in possession of the correct medical certificate to work at sea before they can start work on a vessel. To be qualified to carry out some duties, certain members of the crew will also need to hold a Certificate of Competency (CoC) or Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC).

From a ship manager or owner’s point of view, when it comes to maritime employment, you will need to adhere to the STCW’s (Standards in Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) international regulations if you are recruiting for shipping jobs on commercial vessels. Something else to take into consideration from an employer’s point of view is that you may well be hiring crew members who hail from different countries. Keep in mind that standards of training can vary depending on where a seafarer received their maritime training. Although under the IMO STCW Convention, mariners are obligated to possess certain minimum requirements with regards to training and all countries must meet or exceed those requirements.

Finally, it would be prudent to mention that thanks to the shipping sector starting to adopt new and innovative technologies the future is likely to look a little different. This makes it possible that maritime career pathways may change too with more emphasis being placed on training in disciplines such as coding and even Artificial Intelligence. Something that, no doubt the next tech savvy generation of potential seafarers will take confidently in their stride! And as to whether shipping companies need to start re-training existing crew members to be more technically minded is perhaps a pertinent question!

There are some truly exciting jobs in shipping companies and at Martide we help qualified seafarers find everything from entry level maritime jobs to top paying maritime jobs. Our  candidates are all trained and certified, so if you’re an employer why not take a look at our efficient crewing solution and see how we can help you find, evaluate and manage both new recruits and your current crew.