A life spent working in jobs at sea may not be the easiest career path to take and the working environment can definitely pose some challenges, but few seamen and women would argue that working in seafarer jobs isn't rewarding.
Of course, depending on your personality type, long months spent at sea and away from home may feel isolating but most of those working in cargo ship jobs and on other vessels would agree that the benefits of life on the ocean wave far outweigh any perceived drawbacks.
There’s no denying that working in maritime jobs is not always a piece of cake - for example long hours, living in close quarters to others, harsh weather conditions and manual labor are part and parcel of the job. But in this blog post we are going to focus on the positives of working in jobs at sea. And the good news is - there are many!
Just some of the benefits of working in jobs at sea
At Martide we like to look on the brighter side of life and while there are issues that need to be addressed in the maritime industry, just like in any sector, we think positive vibes are the way forward. So if you’ve ever wondered what is a seafarer’s job, looked at what are some examples of maritime jobs, and considered if working in cargo ship jobs is for you, why not read on as we uncover some of the benefits.
A sense of freedom
First of all, if the thought of being tied to a desk for the rest of your working life fills you with a sense of dread, then you may well be suited to working in seafarer jobs. You will get to experience the true thrill of adventure, the mind-opening joy of travel, the feeling of being at one with Mother Nature - and yes, sometimes battling with Mother Nature!
The same can’t be said for working in an office, that’s for sure…
Of course the question “what is a seafarer’s job?” can’t be easily answered with one quick definition. If you like the thought of traveling the world and not being stuck in an office or warehouse but are more interested in subjects such as engineering, you will be mostly based in the engine room of a vessel. Meanwhile, other seafarer ranks will spend more of their time on deck.
To find out more about what are some examples of maritime jobs, take a look at this blog post: Your Guide to Different Types of Seafarer Jobs.
A close knit community
Another big plus of working in container and cargo ship jobs is the feeling of belonging to a close-knit community which naturally develops over the time you spend on board. While it would be naive to suggest that absolutely everyone in the crew is going to get along like the proverbial house on fire, it would be true to say that many firm friendships are made while working in seafarer jobs.
Read more: How to Deal with a Negative Crewmate
This is partly because no matter how much you share the ins and outs of your working life with your friends and family ashore, only someone else working in chief marine engineer jobs, oiler jobs, shipfitter jobs, ship electrician jobs, able seaman jobs or second officer jobs can truly understand the life you lead.
And while seafarers do have to deal with the occasional bout of loneliness knowing that their friends and family are thousands of miles away, a surrogate family of other seafarers will be there to have your back and offer support and understanding.
And it can be those friendships that make all the difference. People you may have never crossed paths with before could become friends for life - all thanks to both of you both choosing to work in seafarer jobs.
The opportunity to spend time with, and get to know, seafarers of different ages, backgrounds, races and beliefs can be a genuinely enriching experience. Making the effort to overcome language barriers and socialize with your fellow shipmates can be one of the most rewarding aspects of life on a container ship.
Grow your skills
Of course chilling out, playing cards or watching movies with your buddies on board is only one part of working in jobs at sea but on a professional level, the satisfaction gained from seeing your knowledge and skills grow will be immense.
One of the other great things about working in seafarer jobs is the opportunity to work your way up through the seafarer ranks. After all, every chief officer, chief engineer and even master was a cadet at one point in their career at sea!
Some shipping companies will offer the opportunity for on the job maritime training and education but regardless, you will find that, particularly at the start of your career you will have ample opportunity for picking up new skills as you work.
Make the most of your time at sea to learn from those around you, especially crewmates who are already in one of the higher seafarer ranks to you.
You could also use any downtime while you’re in between shifts or watches to study. From learning navigation at sea to trigonometry in marine engineering to coding and programming to solving navigation math problems, the scope for adding new accomplishments to your maritime resume through working in jobs at sea is wide and varied.
And while you’re onboard and not going anywhere for a couple of months it means you have the perfect excuse to focus on you and the things you want to learn - even if they aren’t related to your profession.
Or perhaps you’d prefer to brush up on your tech skills and become more involved in that area. After all, like the majority of industries, the shipping sector is not immune to the onslaught of technology either.
And of course, the more accomplished and well rounded your seafarer resume is, the more likely it is you will be able to move up the seafarer ranks and achieve promotion. Maybe your interest in mathematics for marine engineers will help you climb the career ladder in the top paying maritime jobs.
Learn more about what makes you special
To sum it up, most seafarers would willingly admit that it takes a certain type of personality to be able to cope with both life at sea and working in cargo ship jobs. Nobody is saying that cadets can’t miss their friends back home or that for a marine engineer, family life has to be shoved to one side for months at a time.
But the ability to stay upbeat and resilient during a contract will most definitely stand you in good stead. At the end of the day, the question “what is a seafarer’s job?” can be summed up as "a truly unique, character building experience."
Martide helps you find jobs at sea
Are you looking for your next contract? At Martide we are currently recruiting and have hot vacancies for seamen for some of the shipping industry's most prestigious clients.
You can find our shipping vacancies on our website's maritime jobs board or for even more convenience, you should download our free mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play for anytime, anywhere careers in seafarer jobs at your fingertips!
This post was originally published on April 1st 2019 and updated on September 3rd 2020.