Life at sea can be tough, and for those who are new to the merchant navy, it can be even tougher. The long hours, the hard work, and the isolation from friends and family can be a shock to the system, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Here are 10 tips for surviving your first seaman work contract:
- Get to know your shipmates – The people you work with will become your second family, so it’s important to get to know them and build relationships. This will make the hard times at sea more bearable. You’ll also find that your shipmates are a great source of information and advice.
- Learn the ropes – There’s a lot to learn onboard a ship, from safety procedures to the operation of the vessel. It’s important to take the time to learn as much as you can so that you can be safe and effective in your role. You can ask your shipmates for help, or make use of the resources available from your shipping company.
- Stick to a routine – A set routine will help you to stay sane during long periods at sea. Whether it’s working out in the gym, reading during your downtime, or just sticking to a regular sleep schedule, having a routine will help you to stay focused and maintain your mental health. You may have to adjust your routine when you enter port, but it’s important to get back into it as soon as possible.
- Stay in touch with loved ones – Being away from home can be tough, but there are ways to stay in touch with your loved ones. Make sure to call or video chat when you can, and send regular updates via email or social media. This will help you to feel connected to your loved ones and will make the time go by faster.
- Get enough rest – Working long hours can be exhausting, so it’s important to get enough rest when you can. This means making use of your downtime to sleep and also taking advantage of any opportunity to grab a quick nap. You’ll perform better if you’re well-rested, and you’ll be less likely to make mistakes.
- Eat healthy – It can be tempting to indulge in junk food when you’re at sea, but it’s important to eat healthy meals to stay energized and focused. There are usually good eating options onboard ships, so take advantage of them. You can also bring your own healthy snacks from home to help you stay on track.
- Stay fit – It’s important to stay fit and active onboard ship, as this will help you to stay healthy and cope with the physical demands of the job. There are usually gyms onboard, or you can make use of any available space to do your own workouts. You should also make sure to take part in the safety drills, as these will help you to stay fit and prepared for any emergency.
- Be aware of your mental health – It’s easy to feel isolated and lonely at sea, and this can lead to problems with mental health. If you’re feeling down, make sure to reach out to your shipmates or your loved ones for support. There are also usually counseling services available from your shipping company.
- Follow the rules – There are rules and regulations in place onboard ships for a reason, so make sure to follow them. This includes following the safety procedures, not consuming alcohol while on duty, and respecting the hierarchy onboard. Breaking the rules can lead to serious consequences, so it’s not worth it.
- Enjoy the experience – Being at sea can be tough, but it can also be an amazing experience. Make sure to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way, and create some great memories. You’ll never forget your time onboard ship, so make sure to enjoy it.
The most important thing to remember is to stay safe and follow the rules. If you do this, you’ll be sure to have a successful and enjoyable first seaman work contract.
Do you have any other advice for surviving your first seaman work contract? Let us know in the comments below!