+91 (079) 40031333 info@westlineshipping.in

Life on Board

The life aboard a merchant ship is really a unique and unforgettable experience, very difficult to compare to a land job.

Few jobs offer the chance to see so many places in the world, exotic views and meet so many people from so different countries. Obviously, after such experience, you´ll become a well-rounded and worldly person, and get a better understanding about global problems, people from around the world and their culture and way of life.

Nevertheless, it must be considered that this activity connotes some problems and difficulties, to which applicants must pay attention, and requires doubtless a genuine interest.

In this way, if one gets sea-sick on board, a career in the merchant navy wouldn´t be a good option. Applicants have to be calm and composed persons and not disposed to panic in the case of engine failure, adverse climatological conditions or even severe storms. Likewise, working days are very extensive (8-14 hours a day and 7 days a week) and shifts can be irregular. Finally, this sort of job means long periods in extreme confinement and away from home, friends and relationships.

These conditions can be really stressing.

In order to prevent possible doubts and uncertainties, we are going to expose some essential aspects of the life on board.

The daily routine onboard a Merchant Vessel

Working and living on a Merchant Vessel comes with its own set of unique pros and cons. This is of utmost importance for taking into consideration if a person is interested in the labor sector on-board the Merchant Ship.

The Crew Cabins

The crew cabins are cozy little chambers with an attached bathroom with bedding options offered in bunk style. The bedding, sheets, pillows is given to the crew member by the shipping company.

Limitations imposed on the privacy factor for any crew member is a common practice. However, a private cabin is provided to crew members higher up in the rank. A recruit who recently joined the team needs to share a cabin with others.

The relationship between the roommates and the interactions between the crew mates is of utmost importance. The confined space leads to frequent instances of heated arguments and personal differences. These incidents need to be sorted out as soon as it arises as proper coordination between crew members is crucial for maintaining the delicate balance within the ship so that it’s running and is operational at all times.

International working ambiance

The crew members not only belong to different races but also from various nations. No matter what their mother tongue is, the Merchant Navy demands that personnel and crew members should communicate in fluent English.

Expenses on-board

Except for the currency you spend when you visit the land after docking, whatever you do, eat or use aboard the ship, it is free of cost.

Recreational Drug Abuse

The Merchant Navy is known for its strong stance against the abuse of both prescription and recreational drugs. Such behavior is not tolerated while onboard the ship. If personnel is found to be using drugs, he/she will be discharged dishonorably and handed over to the local authorities stripped of all his/her ranks.

Time Off

It is a term that is used in the Merchant Navy when the ship anchors down on some port, and the crew can go ashore to visit the country. Every crew member of a ship is given special passes to go ashore except for some countries like the United States where it is essential to get a visit visa for setting foot on their land.

General Emergency/Safety Drills and Training

The crew members of the Merchant Navy are bound to take part in safety and emergency training exercises. The drills are compulsory and are included in the routine of the crew on a monthly or weekly basis as per the rules set by national and international governing bodies and organizations.

Contacting with land

While on board a ship, the personnel can enjoy all of the facilities free of any cost all except for communications. Except for traditional communication channel, i.e., the email, telephone, fax, telex services are far more expensive out in the sea, than on the land.

The Internet and the e-mail are not always available to the member of the crew as per their wish and convenience.

Personalized Aspect of Working Onboard

For the proper operation of a Merchant Vessel, cooperation among the members of the crew that is in-sync with that of the commanding officers is of the utmost importance. Cooperation can only be seen in a team when the personal issues within the members of the team are resolved professionally. Maintaining a healthy and productive relationship with each other within the vessel is as important as keeping the machinery aboard the ship in perfect order.

Documents required to work as a member of the crew aboard a Merchant Vessel

It depends on the country from which the company hails from and the country from which the team member belongs to. A ship that is operating in and around the United States of America and Canada, it is necessary for the crew member to have a VISA (except for a citizen of Canada or the United States) that can be acquired from any consulates of the United States of America. Applying for VISA is advised to be done only after the shipping company has sent you the contract for your appointment. Other than that, a valid passport and your birth certificate should be with you at all times.

Expenses On-Board

Depending on the contract and the company, the ticket for the flight could be paid for by the employment agency or the shipping company.

In most of the case, the new employee is made to pay these expenses from their own pockets.

Efficient Hierarchy within the ship

Absolute discipline and order is a must within the work and life aboard a merchant ship. It is also the crucial factor that dictates the safety of the members on board the ship along with the efficient operation of the vessel itself.

The Master or Captain of the ship is the person that presides over the rank who is responsible for the whole ship and its crew. He/she is the supreme authority, and every member of the crew should obey the orders coming from the rank with diligence.

Skip to toolbar