Seaman Interview Questions & Answers for Deck Crew Jobs

Jul 08, 2021 · 20 mins read ·

Job Seeker Tips
AI image of a young man in a seafarer job interview

Do you like going to job interviews? Surely there can’t be many of us who actually enjoy going to an office and having questions put to us in order to assess our abilities! It can be intimidating and unless you’re full of confidence it can be nerve-wracking too. Especially if you’re just starting out in your career in seafarer jobs.

But one thing that can help you ace a seafarer job interview is to be prepared. And a big part of that is knowing what seamen questions and answers you might come up against.

You also need to be on time, dressed appropriately, have done some research into the shipping company you’re applying for jobs at sea with, and come armed with some questions of your own to ask the interviewer.

a sign on a window saying 'be curious'

Read more: 9 Mistakes to Avoid When Interviewing for Seafarer Jobs

And one thing to keep in mind is that you need to maintain the same level of professionalism whether your job interview is in person in an office, or over a video call such as Zoom or Skype. If you want to nail that interview and be the one selected for those merchant ship jobs, you need to impress the interviewer from the start!

If that all sounds easier said than done, don’t worry. That’s where Martide can help!

We work closely with established shipping companies and manning agents which puts us in the perfect position to know just what it is that maritime recruitment agencies and employers in the industry are looking for when it comes to finding the right crew to fill their cargo ship jobs.

And we also know what sort of questions they will be asking anyone who is applying for deck crew jobs on ships too!

If you’re applying for entry level cargo ship jobs and you’ve only a few seaman job interviews under your belt so far, this information could be invaluable.

So keep reading and we’ll let you into a few secrets!

Seaman interview questions and answers for deck crew jobs

Of course ship interview questions and answers will depend on which position you are applying for. The questions asked at an interview for Ordinary Seaman jobs will be different to the questions asked at an interview for Bosun jobs.

Question marks spray painted on trees in a wood

So bear in mind that this article is not an exact science, but it will give you some useful insight into the kinds of questions asked at a seafarer job interview for deck crew.

Read more: Seaman Interview Questions and Answers for Engineering Jobs

First off, here are a few things you need to know when you have an interview for a seafarer job lined up:

  • The employer/shipping company or the manning agency will very likely have already checked out your online seafarer profile (for example, if you applied for a job at sea through Martide) or your seaman resume.
  • They will also have checked that your documents are all valid and in order.
  • If you’re interviewing directly with an employer they might have also requested that the manning agency that you deal with provides a reference check on you.
  • You should have also already taken the CES (Crew Evaluation System) test as they will want you to have done this and they’ll also want to know what your score was.
white fuzzy digits spelling out 100 percent

But what about the actual seaman questions and answers you might find thrown your way?

Let’s take a look at some typical interview questions for deck crew applying for seafarer jobs.

General ship interview questions and answers for deck crew

Love speaking English, don’t have any strong thoughts on it, or absolutely hate thing is for certain and that is if you’re not a native speaker, an interviewer is usually going to want to assess your level of English. They might not ask you any specific language-related questions, but they will be keeping an ear out for how well you can communicate.

Read more: How to Communicate Better When Working in Seafarer Jobs

An interviewer is probably also going to ask you how many contracts you have worked in your current seafarer rank or in the position you’re applying for.

Don’t panic if you’re a Deck Cadet or if you’re applying for entry level cargo ship jobs, as employers and manning agents know what level of experience and amount of seatime to expect.

However this is a good way for them to gauge exactly how much actual work experience you have to your name.

an aerial view of a container ship

An interviewer will probably touch upon subjects such as whether you have had, or been involved in, any accidents or incidents at sea, as well upon any issues surrounding alcohol abuse.

Your availability is another important factor - normally an employer will be looking to line you up to embark on a specific crew change date and the dates will need to align. Your best bet here is to be completely honest, even if you’re not sure the dates will work for you.

An employer or manning agency won’t be happy if you waste their time by telling them you can make a certain date when in reality you can’t. In fact, they probably won’t bother considering you for another position in the future. Time is of the essence in shipping!

Read more: Seaman Interview Questions and Answers for Cadets

And, just like any job interview, in a seafarer job interview, your interviewer will probably also ask you why you want to leave your previous employer. Whatever you do, and whatever the reason, the crucial thing to remember here is to not talk badly about your previous company - trust us, this NEVER impresses a potential employer!

Nautical seaman interview questions and answers for deck crew

An interviewer is also likely to ask you some general questions about the types of vessels you have crewed on, the trading areas you’ve worked in, and whether you have dry dock, new building and PSC (Port State Control) experience.

A vessel in a dry dock

You will also be asked about the different cargo types you’ve worked with and how you handle them. For example, the interviewer might want to talk about loading, stability, dangerous and reefer cargo, loading software you’ve used and ballast water management.

When it comes to deck maintenance, a potential employer will also be interested in your PMS (Planned Maintenance System) experience and if you have worked with cranes. They will also want to know about your risk assessment abilities and safety awareness.

Ship interview questions about seafarer codes and conventions

More seaman questions and answers that will very likely arise will be whether or not you have your PSC (Proficiency in Survival Craft) certificate.

The interviewer is also probably going to quiz you on your knowledge of the ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility) Code, the ISM (International Safety Management) Code, and the MLC (Maritime Labor Convention).

In interviews for seafarers jobs it is highly likely that you will also be asked about how well you know international conventions such as MARPOL (Prevention of Pollution from Ships),  SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), and STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) amongst others.

Your personality plays a part in winning seafarer jobs too

Your interviewer is also going to be looking at your personality while you’re talking to them. He or she will want to see whether you’re nervous, confident, seem distracted, enthusiastic or any other emotion that will give them a good (or bad) feeling about how well you will integrate with the crew onboard and perform your job at sea.

bored looking man gazing out of an office window

Some interviewers may also dig a little deeper by asking you questions about the nationalities you have worked with in the past, and how you got on with them.

It goes without saying that the way you act in a seafarer job interview is important. And that applies to both real life interviews and when you attend an interview over the phone or on a video call.

It’s only natural that you might be nervous, especially if you’re applying for entry level ship jobs at the start of your maritime career and you don’t have much interview experience yet, but the trick is to fake it until you make it: act confident even if you don’t feel like it!

However, don’t go overboard and act so big headed that you end up coming across like a great big show off!

Finally, even though the majority of seafarers jobs are contracts, an interviewer may well want to know what expectations you have when working with their company and they might also ask you about your future plans.

After all, if it turns out that you’re a great fit for their crew and you like working for the company, it’s a win-win situation all round!


How Martide can help you find seafarer jobs

Martide makes finding jobs on ships easier than ever before. We’re always looking for seamen and women of all ranks and levels of experience to work with our clients.

Take a look at our seafarer job vacancies here and see if there’s a job at sea that’s right for you.

Once you’ve created an account with Martide, it’s quick and easy to create your seafarer profile - think of this as your online resume for a seaman - and then apply for any of our jobs in just a couple of clicks.

Our employers and manning agents can also get in touch with you directly if they think you would be a good fit for one of their maritime job vacancies. Then all you’ll need to do is impress them with your seaman interview questions and answers insider knowledge to win the contract!

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You should download the Martide seafarer job app too: It's totally free and it makes applying for jobs on ships really easy, no matter where in the world you are.

Download the app now from Google Play or the iOS App Store and we hope to see you onboard soon!

Eve Church

Eve Church

Eve is Martide's content writer, publishing regular posts on everything from our maritime recruitment and crew planning software to life at sea. Eve has been writing professionally for more than two decades, crafting everything from SEO-focused blog posts and website landing pages to magazine articles and corporate whitepapers.


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