18Nov2017Headlines:

Life On A Ship: The Inside Story

For most people outside the maritime world, there are two opposite views about life on a ship for mariners and seamen. Some believe that the life is ultra luxurious with loads of money and global travelling, while the other school of thought believes that it is a very boring and work immersed life with no entertainment or lighter moments. So why not learn about life on a ship from first-hand experience of someone rather than relying on assumptions.

Job on Ship

Job on Ship

This article has been uploaded on behalf of Puneet who is works as Chief Officer and mostly sails on tanker ships and OBOs. We took a personal interview to find out what his experiences were and how he found life on a ship so that aspiring candidates and even the general public could know better about it. We are not presenting this write up in a boring interview question-answer session but have used the facts collected during the conversation to write this article.

Enjoying in Kitchen

Enjoying in Kitchen

I would also like to state that the title part saying “the inside story” does not intend to mean that it reveals some dark secrets or any breaking news type stuff. Seamen are just men (and women) like the rest of us, so their job roles have to be understood in the right perspective which is not only good from the general knowledge perspective of the people on land, but mainly for candidates who want to join the marine jobs but because of lack of any previous family background at sea or any proper guidance are either lured by myths or just over discouraged.

It is certainly true that life on a ship is not easy and involves a lot of hard work and dedication. The actual work performed by any seaman depends on his or her rank and duties allocated. If you are surprised to find the mention of “her” let me tell you that women are playing important roles in shipping these days right from female marines to being engineers and navigating officers. We also carried a recent story at this website about “Radhika Menon” who had the honor to become the first female captain.

Gym on Ship

Gym on Ship

The nature of work changes as you progress in your rank and becomes less demanding physically but more responsibility and mental challenges as you progress. The Chief Engineer and the Ship Captain or Master are at the helm of affairs in their departments and the Master is infact the overall boss and representative of the shipping company and his word is literally the law of the ship.

Mostly due to commercial pressures, the ship and her staff hardly take a break and operations are carried out continuously unless there are instructions to anchor the ship for a certain period of time due to some reasons or the vessel is undergoing dry dock operations.

Yet life on ship is not “all work and no play” types but there are plenty opportunities for recreation, sight-seeing and entertainment as well. Most of the ships have indoor games such as table tennis, chess, foosball, and darts. There is gym equipment in most ships where the sailors can do exercise. Of course given the tough physical routine, this is hardly a requirement especially at lower ranks but sometimes the senior people could need these to keep themselves fit and keep their mind, brain and nerves under control.

Tennis on Ship

Tennis on Ship

Given below are some pictures which show how mariners are enjoying themselves in some of the lighter moments at sea. This does not seem much different from what other professionals or executives could do on land.

So to summarize it all, life on a ship is not so easy yet at the same time it cannot be said to be an alien’s life.

Music on Ship

Music on Ship

Communication was certainly a problem in the days of the yore, when only dit-dah type signals were sent by marine radio officers but with the advent of satellite phones and the use of computers on ships and the availability of internet the barriers of communication have broken down to a great degree. Of course the physical presence cannot be fully compensated for the family of a seafarer via such means; still it does make a lot of difference.

Acknowledgement: On behalf of entire team of Marine Knowledge, we would like to thank Puneet for sharing this valuable insight and personal pictures which made it possible to write this story

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