Things that Budding Seafarers Should Know

Seafarers at work

For many individuals, a career as a seafarer is their path to a lifelong career filled with rewarding opportunities and the prospect of new experiences. An estimated 1.8 million people worldwide depend on the shipping and maritime industries for their livelihoods, and the number of these individuals continues to rise.

However, before embarking on your grand adventure aboard one of today’s great sailing vessels, there are many things you’ll need to account for. Foremost is homesickness. Seafarers are away from their homes and families for years, and this takes a toll on meaningful relationships. Seafarers must also make specific preparations before leaving on their voyage. What follows are some of the most important ones.

Attend the Required Training

Being a seafarer is not a job for just anyone; prospective seafarers do not just show up at the nearest port and wait to be brought aboard. Instead, they must undergo rigorous training, usually conducted by government-accredited training centers and under the supervision of the state’s employment agencies. This ensures that they have the required skills and training to respond appropriately to any situation while at sea. Upon completion of their training, neophyte seafarers usually depend on the services of a seafarer manning agency in the Philippines to find them a berth and a crew to work with.

Acquire Life Insurance

Paper family of four under a Life Insurance paper cutout umbrella

Buying a life insurance plan will help you mitigate the risk of being at sea. This is especially crucial for seafarers, as their selected career can expose them to harsh weather conditions and other health hazards. While every effort has been made to reduce these risks in recent years, seafaring is still seen as one of the world’s more hazardous professions. As a result, seafarers, especially those with families and young children, are encouraged to procure life insurance plans before embarking. Insurance premiums for seafarers can be slightly higher for seafarers, compared to other professions. This is because of all the hazards associated with the job. However, the peace of mind that life insurance brings can be invaluable to seafarers and their families.

Research Local Customs and Laws

While aboard the ships they serve on, seafarers frequently visit other port cities in many countries. To combat the boredom and monotony of being aboard all the time, they are encouraged to disembark and see the sights. However, before they do, seafarers familiarize themselves with standard practices and customs. They should have at least a basic knowledge of standard rules and laws at their various ports of call. Doing this will prevent any untoward incidents and ensure the safety of the seafarer and their vessel.

Seafarers are not expected to become experts in the law of every country they visit. Instead, they should educate themselves on common cultural practices and act accordingly. For example, it is prohibited in many Muslim cultures to approach women and engage them in direct conversation, even if that conversation is about something as prosaic as asking for directions or the time of day. Not knowing this could give offense and create a cause for conflict that could have been prevented.

Becoming a seafarer certainly has its share of rewards, and a career as one is both challenging and exciting. Bear these things in mind, and you’ll be on your way to many adventures on the world’s oceans.

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