Top 10 Personal Protective Equipment for Seafarers

1. PPE for Seafarers

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a critical defense for individuals working on board ships and in various settings. Its primary goal is to reduce the exposure to potential risks, minimizing the likelihood of injuries and illnesses during maritime activities.

Personal protective equipment should always be maintained in good condition and should always be checked so that it does not cause any harm while working on board. Correct PPE should be used for specific purposes and you should know the proper procedure for donning the equipment. 

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Deck Dreamer package

2. Top 10 PPE for seafarers

2.1. Head Protection–Helmet

the image of a helmet

Helmets protect our heads from falling objects, crushing, sideways blows, and chemical splashes.

It’s uncomfortable and hot. It messes up my hair. It isn’t cool.” These are some of the reasons why personnel on board give on not wearing helmets which is also a cause of various accidents happening on board a vessel.

Check to be made before donning of helmet:

  • Before using helmets to do any work, you should remember that the helmets should not have any sign of damage, cracks, or excessive discoloration. If so you should avoid using those kinds of helmets.
  • Helmets should not be exposed to hazardous liquids or solvents.
  • You should not apply any type of paint on helmets.
  • You should not try to make any design alteration i.e. drilling the hole for ventilation.

Wearing of helmet:

  • Wear helmets correctly.
  • Inner suspension should be properly fitted and adjusted according to individual size.
  • Personnel should use a chinstrap and the helmet should be firmly fastened.
Image showing parts of the helmet

Replace if damaged or expiry (usually 5 years) as per manufacturer’s instructions

2.2. Foot Protection Shoes

Safety shoes

These safety footwear items safeguard our feet against potential injuries and accidents. Foot protection shoes or safety shoes should always be kept in proper condition These safety shoes must cover the foot up to the ankle. Safety shoes typically have a steel toe cap, to protect our toe from injury such as crushing, etc. It protects the toe from various sharp objects, and chemicals and is resistant to slipping on oil or other wet surfaces.

Safety shoes should even be worn inside the accommodation while working. While working with chemicals, oil or wet areas rubber safety shoes should be worn.

Flip-flops and slippers are not to be worn by the personnel in the accommodation except in bathrooms.

Sandles with proper ankle support should be used.

2.3. Boiler Suit

Boiler suits are protective outfits for workers in risky environments, shielding against chemicals and oils. They come in different styles, mostly made of cotton. Equipped with reflective tape, they improve low-light visibility, reducing accident risks. Don’t use suits with paint, solvents, grease, or cargo stains to stay safe.

Image showing Boiler suit  

Hand gloves are designed to protect the hand from various types of injuries such as cuts, abrasions, extreme temperatures, skin irritation, allergies, etc.

2.4. Hand Protection– Gloves 

Leather Gloves

These gloves are used on board while doing various works that include handling rough and sharps objects such as Mooring, Chipping, Painting, and Tank entries, etc.

leather gloves

Rubber Gloves

Since we all know that rubber is a non-conductor of electricity therefore rubber gloves are used while working on electrical circuits and equipment, that involve the risk of electric shock. 

rubber gloves

Synthetic or PVC long-sleeved gloves

Engaging in tasks that involve the handling of chemicals, solvents, acids, and various substances carries inherent risks that may lead to harm, including burns and skin irritation we use synthetic or PVC long-sleeved gloves.

Synthetic or PVC long-sleeved gloves

Leather with long-sleeved gauntlets

When engaging in hot work activities like welding or gas cutting, a critical safety measure involves the utilization of protective gear, notably leather attire coupled with long-sleeved gauntlets. 

Leather with long-sleeved gauntlets

2.5. Eye protection

The utilization of eye and face protection serves as a crucial safety measure, aiming to safeguard our eyes and face from various potential hazards. This protective gear is designed to effectively prevent the entry of foreign materials such as dust particles, debris, and rust particles, as well as shield against splashes from corrosive substances like acids, paints, or harmful solvents. By creating a barrier between the eyes and these potential threats, this safety equipment plays a vital role in maintaining ocular health and minimizing the risk of injuries or irritations caused by exposure to hazardous materials in diverse work environments.

Safety Glasses

These types of glasses are not similar to ordinary glasses these are box-shaped glasses that are specially designed to prevent any type of debris, rust particles, and splashes from entering the eyes. These reduce the exposure to various eye hazards.

Face Shield

Face shields play a pivotal role in providing comprehensive protection to multiple facial features, including the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, particularly in environments where welding or tasks involving hazardous substances are undertaken.

In welding scenarios, where sparks and radiant energy are prevalent, face shields act as a critical line of defense for the eyes, shielding them from harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation.

Furthermore, when working with substances that pose potential hazards to the skin and may cause irritation, face shields become an indispensable component of personal protective equipment.

face shield

Tinted Glasses

Tinted glasses are worn to shield our eyes from intense light, such as reflections off calm seas or icebergs in cold regions and glare from a ship. They also protect against harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.

tinted glasses

2.6. Ear Protection- Earplugs/Earmuffs

When individuals work in areas with high levels of noise for extended periods, it poses a risk to their hearing health. Prolonged exposure to loud sounds can lead to hearing damage or loss over time.

Earmuffs are like padded headphones designed to cover the ears completely.

Earplugs, on the other hand, are small devices inserted into the ear canal to block or reduce the entry of sound.


When you’re working in a place, it’s important to recognize certain signs around you. Being able to identify and understand these placards helps you stay safe and know what to do in different situations at your workplace.

Safety sign showing high noise area

2.7. Inflatable jackets

Inflatable life jacket

Inflatable life jackets are a type of personal flotation device (PFD) designed to provide buoyancy and help keep a person afloat in water. We use these life jackets during work which involves the risk of falling overboard we are working overside, preparing gangways, reading draft marks, etc.

These inflatable life jackets are certified as per SOLAS.

These inflatable life jackets have to be maintained as per manufacturers’ instructions.     

2.8. Respiratory Protection


We use facemasks to prevent dust, rust particles, and debris from entering our respiratory organs. These types of equipment need to be maintained per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Facemarks and respirators need not be used while working in enclosed areas.

3. Conclusion

In conclusion, personal protective equipment stands as the final and critical defense against the diverse array of risks encountered by individuals working on board. Its proper utilization not only protects the health and well-being of maritime professionals but also ensures the efficient and safe execution of tasks in the challenging and dynamic maritime environment.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 What does PPE stand for?

Ans. PPE stands for personal protective equipment that is used to protect our body parts while working with machines and equipment.

Q2 What is a PPE kit?

Ans. Protective gear is designed to safeguard the health of workers by minimizing exposure to a biological agent. PPE kit gives overall protection to the wearer.

Q3 Components of PPE?

Ans. Components of PPE are goggles, face shields, masks, gloves, coveralls/gowns (with or without aprons), head covers, and shoe covers.

Q4 Why PPE is important?

Ans. PPE protects healthcare workers from virulent pathogens by preventing exposure to bodily fluids and respiratory droplets that can be harmful and hazardous.

Q5 What are the 10 examples of PPE?

Ans. PPE includes gloves, gowns, shoe covers, head covers, masks, respirators, eye protection, face shields, goggles, and various other equipment.

Q6 How do you maintain PPE?

Ans. PPE must be properly looked at and stored when not in use, for example in a clean and dry area. PPE must be kept clean and in good condition.

Disclaimer :- The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Merchant Navy Decoded. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided and disclaim any responsibility for it. Data and visuals used are sourced from publicly available information and may not be authenticated by any regulatory body. Reviews and comments appearing on our blogs represent the opinions of individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of Merchant Navy Decoded. We are not responsible for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on these reviews or comments.

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