Since the boom of the seafaring industry, many young teenagers are now considering a career at sea ships. A seaman’s lifestyle shown in social media draws their attention to it. For others, it’s a dream. To a few, it’s a family tradition. But for some, a career at sea is their way to alleviate their life from poverty.
Whatever reason that drives you to pursuing a career at sea ships, that same reason will be needed during your hardest times on board. So before jumping on board the wagon and joining the crew, take these seven tips and ponder them at heart. It will save you (and your parents) tons of heartaches and frustrations
1. Unforgiving Seas
“A calm sea never make a great sailor,” goes the age old saying. When Mother Nature throws her tantrums, She doesn’t care whether you are a small ship or a big one, or what kind of nationality you are. She whips everything that comes in her path sometimes for weeks. Eating, walking, and sleeping is a great challenge for the crew. Imagine yourself riding a roller coaster except that you are not strapped to your seat. You must be ready to accept this if you plan on getting a career at sea. But know this, ships are built for the worst weather. The question is, “Are you?”
2. Loneliness and Boredom
Taking a career at sea exposes you to lots of loneliness and boredom. Not all ships have internet. And not all ships with internet have strong connections. When you are in the middle of the Pacific for one month and all you see is a vast water and the faces of your 20 crewmates, boredom might creep into your mind and destroys the sanity in you. There are cadets who underestimate this upon taking a career at sea. Are you emotionally and mentally prepared if you receive a bad news from home during the time when your ship is about to sail 30 days until the next port and you missed your family so much?
3. Politics On Board
Politics exists when there are two or more people gathered in one area. This is a reality in your career at sea. There are people out there who loves talking behind your back and destroying your name because you did something (not necessarily heroic) that jacks up your career. But even if you never do anything, some people always has something to say against you when you are not around. Yes they exist. So, are you gonna be the victim or the bully? Be neither. It doesn’t help you in getting a good career at sea.
4. Trust Issues
Remember that your work will take you far away from home. In taking a career at sea, you will be earning lots of money but you will be far from people important to you. You will be separated from your wife, husband or lover not just for a week but sometimes for nine to twelve months. It’s a test of loyalty. When you see pictures of your better half hanging with her friends and there’s that same person beside him or her again, are you ready not to freak out in the middle of the sea? Their are true stories at sea similar to this that destroyed a seafarer. Will it break you, or will it make you?
5. Everyday Monday
Having a career at sea means you have to work all throughout your contract. If you think working at sea is just looking at the ocean and going out for a shoreleave as what you always see on social media, then get ready to be shocked. Duty may call you anytime of the day or night including midnights. It doesn’t care if you have enough rest especially if the job is to be finished asap. Don’t expect a white collar job on board. There are times you won’t have sleep for two days.
6. Occupational Hazards
Safety is paramount. But even if everyone diligently follows the safety rules, it doesn’t mean that accidents and disasters won’t happen. Accidents could happen anytime to anybody without any warning. What would you do if your ship caught fire in the middle of the Pacific? Will you be prepared for the worst case scenario when you have to abandon the ship during night time in freezing temperatures plus a rough sea? Contemplate on this before deciding to have a career at sea.
7. Hostage, Hijacks and Piracy
This might be the hottest issue in the Maritime Industry for years now. Piracy may be declining but it doesn’t mean they are totally getting off the hook. Maybe they’re just waiting for opportunities. But there are still reports coming out about ships being hijacked and the crew being held hostage. Now this might look a one in a million chance that you can be one of those hostages but since you are a seaman, there is a very small chance that it could happen to you. The question is, are you and your family ready? What will you do if faced with such circumstances. Will these news still convince you to choose a career at sea?
When the going gets tough on board, your deepest “Why” will be your best weapon to hold on. All of those are part of the package in taking a career at sea. Every seafarer who has been sailing for quite some time knows this as I myself does. It’s not easy to be a seaman. For first timers, there will be moments that you will ask yourself if this profession is really the right one for you. You will imagine things that you should have done instead of taking a career at sea. But if your “Why” in choosing a career at sea is strong, deep and grounded, you will stay on course no matter what.
May the winds be on your favor.