How To Overcome Fatigue On Ships?

In this article we will learn about fatigue management and how to overcome fatigue on ships and related marine sector jobs. As we know, literally every profession that is being practiced today comes with an inherent set of problems, shortcomings or weaknesses. Fatigue is one such problem that is found to exist in every profession. The nature of fatigue and its consequences may vary but the fact of these problems may vary but the fact is that fatigue exists and hence fatigue management needs to be given a serious consideration.

Fatigue Management In Marine Sector

Fatigue on ships is a common phenomenon which may be caused due to stress or excessive workload. The profession as a mariner put in simple words is a profession of a transporter. Lives and goods of others are entrusted with a mariner for transportation.

At times the goods that are being transported can be dangerous and even a minor accident can result into a major accident. It is important to understand the reasons or causes that lead to fatigue on ships in order to know how to overcome fatigue in the first place:

The environment that one experiences while on board is absolutely different from what exists on ground. The alternatives that are available for fighting stress are limited while on board. Before the discussing mitigation of fatigue while on board it is important to understand the various factors that lead to fatigue. The factors that lead to stress are:

  • An illness or ailment
  • Excessive alcohol, drugs or caffeine
  • Excessive noise
  • Excessive workload
  • Improper diet
  • Lack of sleep
  • Monotonous work
  • Poor design of the ship
  • Poor quality of sleep
  • Poor ventilation
  • Stress

To deal with a problem effectively it is important to recognize its symptoms. It is not necessary that all symptoms may be experienced; even experiencing a single symptom can be indicator of fatigue. The most common symptoms of fatigue are:

  • Cramps or pain in legs
  • Delayed response
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of synchronization between the body and the mind
  • Persistent and frequent headaches
  • Poor decision making ability
  • Poor memory
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Sudden sweating

How To Manage Fatigue?

As mentioned above the environment on board is very different from the environment that is experienced while on ground. It is obvious that all methods that can be adopted to counter stress and fatigue cannot be adopted while at sea. The various methods that can be adopted for mitigating fatigue can be discussed under the following titles:

fatigue management

fatigue management

Self Help:

It is important to observe a simple life style. Limited amount of alcohol, keeping away from drugs, regular exercise, healthy eating habits are some of the steps that a mariner can take on his own to deal with fatigue. It is important to resort to company and nourish inter personal relationships while on sail.

Steps that can be taken by the Management:

The management of the shipping company is not only responsible for the physical health of its crew members but also responsible for their mental health. The shipping company should ensure:

  • Stress free designs that have adequate provision for lightning and ventilation
  • Job rotation ensuring that all staff members get adequate sleep
  • Providing shore leave and recreation facilities while on board
  • It is important that crew members be allowed to communicate with the family as often as desired
  • Provide adequate and comfortable accommodation, mess rooms, rest rooms
  • Deal effectively with noise, heat, humidity and other factors like vibration
  • Sufficient and quality food for the crew members

It has been noted that more than 51% of marine accidents occur due to human error. Human error is attributed to stress and fatigue as a cause of collisions is normally under reported. I am sure after knowing the steps of how to overcome fatigue, you would be in much better position to handle fatigue and stress on board ships.

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