Common Questions Seafarers Are Tired of Answering
Last updated on March 10th, 2023 at 11:10 am
It is not an easy task to be a seafarer. They have to work tirelessly on board for many months facing all the challenges that the sea presents. Sometimes even risk their health and lives by working in a hazardous environment. They even have to compromise their social and family life by sailing onboard. Hence it is natural for any seafarer to become frustrated and exhausted onboard after a certain point in his/her contract.
Therefore, most seafarers are the happiest on the day they sign off from a vessel. You can easily distinguish the seafarers who are about to sign off from the vessel in the next port. They are the ones with broad smiles and gleaming faces. Cracking jokes and sharing laughs with every single crew member that they talk to. It is indeed one of the happiest moments of every seafarer’s contract onboard.
Once these seafarers reach home after completing their long contracts onboard. They finally get time to relax and enjoy their lives with friends and family. However, life onshore is also not that easy and stress-free for these seafarers. Since merchant navy is still a relatively unknown profession in our country. Hence many people have their own doubts about it. And seafarers have to clear all these doubts which are just common misconceptions shared by most people. They have to answer a long list of absurd questions every time they visit their relatives and even friends. In this blog, we list some of the most common questions asked to seafarers that they are absolutely tired of answering.
1. When will you join back?
The first question that most seafarers face as soon as they get back to their homes is when are they going to join back. This is also the most frustrating question that seafarers have to answer throughout their life irrespective of their rank. When you return to your hometown after months of hard work and shedding your sweat and blood onboard the ship, the last thing that you want to hear is, when are you going back?
Even though most seafarers’ blood boils on hearing this question, still they fake a smile and try to answer it without offending the other person. To all the non-seafarers or aspiring seafarers reading this blog, please be a little considerate and try to avoid asking such questions to active seafarers.
2. Do you stay onboard ships for the entire duration of your contract?
Another very common question asked to seafarers is where do they stay for the entire duration of their contracts? Well, just to let you guys know all ships have an accommodation space. Which has occupational facilities for the entire crew onboard. Although the accommodation space is not the most luxurious, it is quite comfortable. You can compare it to a really good 3-star hotel. You get all the basic amenities that you need such as laundry rooms for washing clothes, the rooms have their own attached washrooms. Many rooms even have refrigerators and television screens with sound systems installed.
Apart from all this, there is a gym, where you can work out as well as play games such as table tennis and darts, etc., there are smoke rooms/recreation rooms for ratings and officers where they can watch movies, play cards, etc., then there are separate mess rooms for ratings and officers where they dine and eat their meals. Seafarers get everything that they need in order to live comfortably onboard, therefore, yes, they do indeed stay onboard for the entire duration of their contract.
3. Do you party a lot and consume alcohol onboard?
One of the most common misconceptions associated with the shipping industry is that seafarers party and drink a lot of alcohol. This is completely untrue and has absolutely no facts and logic behind it. The work culture onboard is really professional. Seafarers have such busy and hectic schedules that there is hardly any time to party and enjoy. The only time when seafarers party is on special occasions such as Holi, Diwali, etc., or when they get a long voyage.
Parties onboard are more common on bulk carriers and containers where the workload is a bit less compared to tankers. As far as consumption of alcohol is concerned, most companies these days have a ZERO alcohol policy. This means that consumption of alcohol is not tolerated onboard ships in these companies.
4. Do You Guys Eat Fish Everyday Onboard?
This is another misconception that most people share in our country. People think that we survive by catching fish and eating it every day. This makes no sense at all; this just shows how uninformed and unaware the masses are about the maritime sector. All ships have a certified cook and steward onboard. They have adequate training to cook proper meals for the entire ship’s crew even with the most limited resources. However, onboard there is no shortage of food provision. Therefore, different variety of meals are prepared and every once in a while, the menu is changed.
5. Don’t You Guys Get Bored Onboard?
This is another question that seafarers have to answer a lot of time. Although, it is somewhat true sometimes, especially during long voyages the daily onboard schedule can get a bit monotonous and boring. However, most of the time as mentioned earlier, the work schedule is so busy and hectic that there is no time for getting bored. Apart from the daily work schedule, there are a number of recreational activities that seafarers can do in order to kill time. Some of them are playing table tennis, darts, cricket/volleyball on the deck, watching movies together in the smoking room, etc.
There are so many misconceptions and myths associated with the shipping industry that seafarers keep getting asked absurd questions that make no sense at all. In this blog, we have tried to cover some of the most common repetitive questions that most seafarers have to face throughout their life. We hope that in the future awareness about the Indian maritime sector increases and seafarers are given the respect that they deserve.