Best Tips for A Successful Career in Merchant Navy
Joining Merchant Navy is a dream for many young boys/girls in our country. They want to be a part of an adventurous profession rather than working in regular 9 – 5 jobs. However, presently working in the shipping industry is far from adventurous. Instead, it is becoming more challenging and stressful with time. Most people who dream about pursuing a career at sea do not have the slightest idea regarding the work culture onboard.
Most of them are driven by fantasies of earning high salaries in US Dollars and traveling the world. It is not really their fault, to begin with. This is the picture that most maritime colleges are showing to their students. In order to lure them into this profession. However, only when these people join a vessel do they come to know about the other harsh side of pursuing a career in Merchant navy.
Although the majority of people are able to adjust to the work culture onboard. However, after a couple of months, there are a few who are not able to cope with the stress, loneliness, and heavy workload onboard due to which they quit sailing as a career early. Most of them have the same reason for quitting this profession. That it was completely opposite and different than what they had anticipated. Therefore, it is really important to educate all the young aspiring seafarers about the environment and the nature of work onboard. Instead of painting a fairytale for them, they should be shown the real picture early on. So that they do not regret their decision of pursuing Merchant navy as their career later on.
In this blog, we are going to list some ways which can help you not only to survive but thrive in this profession. The points mentioned below are really basic and something which we have been schooled about since our childhood. Yet, it is really important to keep the below-mentioned points in mind if you want to pursue a successful career at sea.
Take Initiative to Learn
When you go onboard your first vessel as a deck cadet, trainee marine engineer, or any other rank, your most important job is to observe and learn as much as you can from your senior officers. Try to take an initiative in getting involved with the jobs of your senior officers. When you start developing your skills and knowledge on board, you will start earning the respect of your senior officers. Always look for opportunities to get involved in critical shipboard operations. When your seniors will note that you are taking an active initiative to learn new things they will entrust you with more responsibilities. This will only help you to grow into an efficient officer in the future.
Discipline Is the Key
The work schedule onboard is really hectic and stressful. You have to be a good multitasker in order to keep up with the workload on your shoulders. Hence, being disciplined is really important while working onboard. Complete your work in an organised manner. Plan the tasks that you want to complete on a particular day. And never leave any task pending for the next day. On the next day, you will be given more work. Now you will have to complete the previous day’s pending work along with the work assigned to you that day. This way you are going to end up making a mess of your job as you have a lot to complete in a relatively small amount of time. Hence, being organised and disciplined is the key onboard.
Develop a Cordial Relationship with Coworkers
It is really important to develop a good relationship with your coworkers and seniors onboard. As you have to sail with the same people for many months, hence it becomes really important to share a good bond with everyone present onboard the ship. Greet all your seniors politely and treat all the crew members with respect. Try to engage yourself in some recreational activity with other crew members in your free time. Play table tennis, make someone your workout partner in the gym, play cards and other board games, etc. This will help you to develop your bond and relationship with other officers and crew members onboard.
The never-ending cycle of courses and exams is a part of every seafarer’s life. Hence, it is really important to study regularly and be up to date with all the relevant refresher courses in order to earn faster promotions. There are seafarers who become a Captain/Chief Engineer at a really young age of around 30 – 35 years. Then there are some who earn that same position at the age of 45 – 50 years. It all depends on how quickly you clear your examinations and complete the required sea time. Hence study regularly and keep up to date with all your refresher courses.
Keep Your Vacations Short
Seafarers should try to complete as much sea time as possible in the initial stage of their careers in order to get promoted faster. Especially Deck cadets who have to complete a minimum of 18 months of sea time should aim at completing the required sea time as early as possible. Similarly, 3rd Officers/4th Engineers who need to complete 36 months of sea time before appearing for the Chief Mate/2nd Engineer’s license should try to keep their vacations short and complete their sea time quickly. This way they can become eligible to appear for the exams at an early age and hence get promoted faster.
Merchant navy is a profession that gives you a lot financially, but at the same time, it demands a lot mentally, physically, and emotionally. Seafarers rightfully earn every dollar that gets paid to them by the company. There are no handovers in this profession.
Above we have mentioned some tips which can help you in your pursuit of a successful career in Merchant Navy. However, at the end of the day knowledge without execution is worthless. Therefore, it all depends on how much you are willing to compromise for your personal success and financial gains.