Working at sea can be appealing, and there are many reasons that people consider it as a career. You might be tempted by the chance to see more of the world while working, earning money and climbing up the career ladder. You might imagine a job at sea to be adventurous and exciting, perhaps even a little dangerous. Some people choose careers at sea because of the generally high pay, the chance for job flexibility and long holidays and others like the idea of having plenty of responsibility early in their career, without having to spend years doing the boring jobs first. Careers at sea can have excellent long-term prospects, good recognition at home and abroad and give you the chance to pick up plenty of transferable skills which could be useful if you ever wanted to move to a land-based career later on.
There’s not just one way to work at sea either. You don’t have to be a sailor or work in the military. You could work on a cruise ship, as a captain, deckhand or officer, or as an entertainer, chef or customer assistant. You could work in offshore engineering or as a fisherman. You might prefer a job in conservation or the protection of our seas. There’s plenty of options, and wherever your skills and interests lie, there could be a career at sea that suits you.
But, not everyone is suited to life at sea. It’s important to remember that taking on this kind of career is a commitment. It means time away from home and the life that you are used to. There’s no commute. You can’t just change your mind and go home. If you are sick, you can take a day off work, but you still can’t go back. Your ship or boat becomes your home. Your crewmates become your friends and family. This can be fantastic, and many people love this kind of life. But it’s not for everyone. Here are some of the things to ask yourself before you think about setting sail.
Do You Get Seasick?
The first question that you might ask yourself is how you are with travel? Do you get travel sick at home? Are you sick in cars? Do you feel nauseous on the bus or plane? Does your stomach turn at a little turbulence when you fly? Chances are, if you are travel sick on land, you will experience some level of seasickness on a boat. But, that doesn’t have to stop you, as long as you are aware and prepared.
People that suffer from seasickness might be better suited to a job on a huge boat, like a cruise liner. The larger the ship, the less you will feel the movements, and the less of an effect they’ll have on you. Wherever you work, if you do expect to be ill, get medication for motion sickness, look at pressure bands for your wrists, and take a look at some home remedies for sickness.
Can You Handle Long Periods Away from Home?
It’s hard to know how well you will cope away from home until you’ve done it. But, if you find that you miss your friends and family on a two week holiday, you might find that it’s worse when you are away for months at a time. But you might not. Many people find that the initial homesickness dims when they settle into their new working routine and get used to a new way of life. If you are worried about working away for a long time, work on your confidence and independence by putting yourself in new situations at home, and pack some home comforts.
If you were involved in an accident and needed to take time off and use maritime accident attorneys who get results, you still might not be able to get home straight away. It’s worth thinking about how you’d cope away from home, and your support network, when things go wrong, not just when everything is running smoothly.
Are You Good at Keeping in Touch?
Some people want a life at sea to get away from home. They don’t want to keep in touch. They are looking for a fresh start and eager to leave the past behind. But that isn’t true for most people.
When you are working at sea, you won’t have time to text your friends or chat on social media as much as you might be used to. If you want to keep in touch, you’ll need to make an effort with regular calls and emails. Your friends and family might not be able to predict your schedule, so this will very much be up to you.
Do You Like Water?
So many people look at careers at sea without actually thinking about the water. They consider their job and where it might take them, but they don’t think about how they will be surrounded by water all of the time. Do you like water? Do you find it peaceful? Do you like to swim?
Are You Fit?
Most careers at sea require at least some level of physical fitness and stamina. If you aren’t fit right now, are you happy to put some effort in? Will you be able to carry on training on board? Do you have the commitment and determination to stay fit and look after your health?
Are You Ready for Long Hours?
Many sea-based careers mean long contracts, so being away from home for long periods, and also long shifts. You could work up to 12 hour days, and even on a week on, week off pattern. If you want to work at sea, make sure you are prepared for long days and unusual shift patterns.
Can You Live in Small Spaces?
Even if you work on a massive ship, crew cabins are often very small. You might even have to share with other members of the team. Are you good at living in small spaces, or sharing your private space with others?