Qualities of a Seafarer

Qualities of a Seafarer

1. Seafarers are very adaptable

adaptable seafarer

Adaptability is a quality that does not mean becoming a different person when you come across new situations. Rather, it is staying your authentic self while making a conscious choice to tweak a few things to adapt with the current situation. All seafarer Just like how a chameleon only changes its colour when required, and adapts to the environment it is in. But once the purpose is fulfilled it changes back to its own original self. Seafarer qualities

The seafaring community works in an environment that breaks all cultural boundaries and brings people from different nationalities together. To work as a well-oiled machine. As the whole crew present onboard is responsible for the vessel’s proper functionality, seafarers need to adapt to every situation they come across. So as to assure that there are no breakdowns in the process. 

Many of us would not even consider a career option if it involved being surrounded by people of different nationalities while being thousands of miles away from our families. It can even make many feel uneasy, out of place, and scare a few altogether. 

By the time a seafarer moves up from the rank of a cadet, he/she has already gained experience of working with a few nationalities, when working for international companies. But for seafarers, rather than a choice, adaptability is a way of life. Not just helping them have a smooth sail while getting along with their fellow seafarers but also increasing their efficiency at work.

2. Seafarers Are Punctual

punctuality of seafarers

Seafarers work all round the clock and keep a track of every second. They have the responsibility of handling cargo worth millions of dollars, and a delay of any kind can result in the delay of the whole ship. A minute too late can cost them a loss of lakhs. Therefore, punctuality is a virtue that every mariner possesses. Punctuality makes you reliable and dependable and can become the key factor when aiming to earn the confidence of your fellow mates.

Be it reporting to watch duty, seafarers are always on time. They strictly follow the allotted timelines and stick to their monotonous routine all to deliver the important cargo on time and with utmost safety.

3. Seafarers Are Hard-working

qualities of a good seafarer hard working

Hard-working is a word that can easily be used to describe every seafarer. Working on a ship can be physically as well as mentally draining. 

4. Seafarers Are Disciplined

qualities of a good seafarer disciplined

Working at sea requires strict discipline because when emergencies struck, a haphazard working environment can put everyone at risk. When there’s discipline on board, the line of command is crystal clear and all orders relay quickly across the whole crew. The sea, is unpredictable therefore, one can never be too prepared when on a ship. 

Following a certain code of conduct when conducting duties and commands help create an honest and organized framework. Discipline is required not only during working hours but also during spare time on ships.

5. Mentally Strong

seafarers are mentally strong

Life at sea has often been described as challenging by all those who work on board. Long working hours, while being miles away from family can be as taxing on the mind as it is on the body. Therefore a seafarer is required to be head-strong. While a few may already have this virtue, each seafarer eventually develops a strong mind while working on the ship.

The mental strength of a seafarer exceeds all expectations. These hardships can only be put in words by those who’ve lived through all those situations and hardships while being able to rely on the little emotional support that they were able to get from their loved ones. While they were present on the other side of the globe, living in a different time zone. 

These are the people who know that difficult times arrive but ultimately every cloud has a silver lining. 

6. Safety Conscious

Seafarers are safety conscious

Although working at sea has its perks, it doesn’t overshadow the fact that it is one of the most hostile environments to work in. A ship is a huge machine with a number of enclosed spaces. These areas, due to being enclosed sections, lack proper ventilation. At times there are still remains of poisonous gases, hazardous chemicals, and inflammable substances, left behind in these enclosures. Hence, strict safety measures are followed, which include wearing proper safety gear. It is necessary that seafarers follow all safety measures due to the limited medical support present on board.

Even when working on deck, engine room, etc. one is always surrounded by machinery and equipment. Therefore, seafarers are always alert and follow proper safety measures at all times. 

7. Responsibility Seeker 

Seafarers are responsibility seekers

The limited no. of people on ships, substantially increases the work-load that gets divided among all the shipmates. Therefore, the scenario gives rise to many opportunities where the crew members take up a responsibility not originally assigned to them. 

That is the reason why mariners are observed to be responsibility seekers. While there may be a few who wouldn’t want to complete their own tasks. But when it comes to seafarers who are dedicated to achieving greater things in their career, a responsibility looks like a step further to advance in their career.

8. Jack of All Trades

Jack of all trades…Master of none. (Doing the jobs I don't have the skills  to do) | Being Brave! a first time headteachers blog.

The crew on board any ship is a small group of 20-22 seafarers. Therefore being a small group of people, often requires the crew to take up each other’s duties and responsibilities. The number of tasks onboard are many therefore a single person is often given multiple jobs. 

For example-

A Chief Officer has to carry out watch-keeping, execute cargo planning, manage finances on board, and supervise the trainees. Not only this, he /she is also the medical officer of the ship, along with being the captain’s stand-in. In the same way officers and crew of every rank have multiple jobs allotted to them, which makes them a jack of all trades.

9. Risk Takers

Risk takers

During any process, difficulties arise. But when running a multi-million dollar ship, any failures in machinery cannot cause the ship to halt, as that could incur substantial losses. Some operational failures might also lead to personal injuries. Therefore when problems arise on ship, the crew is required to become proactive. They are required to take charge of the situation and come up with the best possible solution within the shortest period of time. 

At times the solutions can be risky and quite dangerous. For example- Climbing a – feet pipe to fix a leakage in the ceiling.

Apart from this seafarers also have to travel through dangerous waters deeply infiltrated by piracy. During times of war, merchant navy ships might be assigned the duty of transporting goods and essential items. 

10. Strong Decision Makers

Strong decision makers

A ship is no place for someone who takes hours to make a decision. One is required to be quick on their feet at all times. They should be able to think immediately and act without any supervision. Seafarers are a combination of quick-thinkers and strong decision-makers. While it is important for them to quickly come at a decision, it is even more important for them to be able to justify and strongly stand by the decision taken.

11. Leadership


Leadership is one of the key elements when it comes to carrying out safe operations at sea. Handling the machinery can be tricky, but data shows that the root cause of the biggest disasters in history has always been – human error.

The ship itself is manned, not by a huge group of people, but by a small crew of essential members. Henceforth, it is the leadership that makes all the difference. It is a skill-focused at handling and dealing with people, all done in order to bring out the best in everyone. Therefore, increasing the productivity of the team as a whole.

All these qualities are less of a choice and more of the key elements that make a ‘seafarer’. All these are so ingrained into their daily work, that it becomes a way of life for them. Seafarers are infamous for having a public image of being carefree people, who live life to the fullest, travelling all round the world. 

The world often fails to see the hardships behind the smiles they so frequently adorn. Life on ship teaches them how to make the most of the free time they get. Therefore, they believe in living life to the fullest. They are completely aware of the importance of the work they do, which gives rise to a sense of pride that they strongly uphold. 

They are an essential workforce, with a virtuous set of qualities that the whole world can learn from.

What Makes Seafarers Happy On Board

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Being at sea for months, managing heavy equipment and working in poor conditions for long hours can be very stressful. Coupled with social isolation, seafarers are found to be at risk of mental health issues. And hence, understanding their psychological makeup is very important. 

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