Like many industries (the technology sector with its recent demand for top talent in coding, development and Artificial Intelligence springs to mind) the maritime industry is facing a serious skills gap and therefore a challenge in fulfilling crewing positions.

And with 90 percent of the world’s goods now being transported by sea, that means there is an even greater need for more ships to enter service. And the knock on effect of that is, of course, an even greater need for crew members. But the role of the seafarer has changed: our world is increasingly digitized and just as the tech sector is requiring more from its recruits than knowing the rudiments of IT and how to reboot a server, so too is the maritime industry expecting more from its people.

The seafarer’s skill set is changing

Not only are shipowners and managers expecting today’s seafarers to have competencies in traditional aspects of the job, but they are now requiring a greater level of technical know-how too. And this is what is leading to challenges within maritime recruitment.

Just like our offices, warehouses and factories, digital technology is invading life aboard our  ships, as well the the bases of the onshore support teams. Smart technologies are taking over our homes and workplaces and now smart ship technology is having a huge effect on seafarers and the responsibilities that their positions now entail.

Putting gaming skills to good use

One aspect of modern shipping that many new recruits may derive enjoyment from is the use of  computer games in teaching navigation skills. This is just one, thoroughly modern, way that digitization has affected the training of new seafarers. Learning to guide huge ships through hectic shipping channels and into bustling ports via a “game” may have the traditional seafarers of yore turning in their graves, but these days it provides valuable experience for future crew members.

Innovation is an advantage - not a burden

Technology isn’t going anywhere, in any working environment, and it is seen by many to be giving the maritime sector the shot of vitality it needs to retain its efficiency. But in order to keep up with the changes, the industry needs forward thinking, and more importantly, qualified seafarers to handle it. An example? Just think how much easier communication would be between crew and shore staff if they were using digital technology and software solutions to stay connected.

Many of us automatically fear the words ‘evolution’ or ‘change’. We like things to stay the way we’re used to. But by empowering seafarers with the digital skills they need to handle the technological aspects of their jobs, and automating boring tasks and allowing them to focus on the core of their role can only be a good thing - for both ship and crew. Shipowners and managers who embrace life in the digital age will find that efficiency - and their bottom line - is improved when they harness the power of technology.

At Martide, we love technology! Talk to us today about our maritime software solutions that will help your vessel run more smoothly.