Last Updated on February 14, 2024
The allure of the open water is undeniable, and for those seeking adventure, the path of a sailor offers an incomparable experience. A sailor, by definition, operates or serves on a ship, navigating the vastness of the seas and oceans. This profession, steeped in history and romance, is about more than just sailing; it’s a commitment to a lifestyle shaped by both the unpredictability of nature and the camaraderie of life at sea. However, like any career, being a modern sailor has unique challenges and rewards.
As you contemplate embarking on this maritime journey or are simply exploring career options, it’s crucial to understand the realities of this profession. This article aims to provide a balanced view, helping you make an informed decision about your professional future as you consider the multifaceted aspects of working at sea.
A Deeper Dive into the Sailor’s World
Understanding the sailor’s role is critical to appreciating their world. Sailors are not just crew members on a vessel; they are skilled navigators adept at managing the complex machinery of modern ships and the age-old art of sea navigation. They are also guardians of maritime traditions, carrying forward the legacy of centuries. In this section, we explore the intricate details of a sailor’s daily life, the skills required to excel in this field, and the profound connection sailors have with the sea, offering a comprehensive look into what it truly means to be a sailor in the contemporary world.
Challenges of Being a Modern Sailor
No matter how thrilling it can be to work at sea, the following are some of the significant challenges of being a modern sailor that you should know before you make a final commitment.
It’s Downright Dangerous
Workers in the maritime industry are more at risk of danger compared to those workers in other industries. Some of the most common hazards as a modern sailor include drowning, broken bones, slips and falls, joint and muscle injuries, exposure to dangerous substances, and worse, even death.
The Jones Act states that seamen and workers who spend their time in waterborne vessels can file a case against their employer if they sustain an injury, even due to a fall.
Training is Necessary
You can’t just expect to walk down the docks and onboard a ship if you like to become a modern sailor. You are required to undergo intensive training so you can master how you can work safely around water vessels as well as the heavy equipment onboard. This training usually takes a year, even for entry-level positions. But if it’s any consolation, your employer will cover most of this training.
If you ever choose to pursue a career as a modern sailor, you must familiarize yourself with your rights and how to protect them. The regulatory structure you’ll deal with differs from that of other industries. You and your employer will also have a different relationship.
You’ll Be Away from Home
Being a modern sailor can also take you away from home most of the time unless you are assigned to work onshore. You will also be far from the rest of the people away from your dock facility or on your ship. Although this isolation might be fine for some people, others may find it too much to handle.
Rewards of Being a Modern Sailor
While there are challenges to being a modern sailor, there’s no denying that its rewards are the primary allure of this career. The following are some of the top benefits of being a maritime worker to help you determine if they suit your lifestyle and goals:
Travel to Different Parts of the World
This is one of the most significant rewards of being a modern sailor. The so-called shore leave can help release some of the pressures and stresses from work. A short period of freedom boosts sailors’ energy, focus, and morale.
It also helps to roam around and explore a new town or city. Something is refreshing about taking some time off work. You get to experience and see new places, start conversations with strangers, and do other activities that can make you forget about your work for a while.
Aside from this, sailors also spend a hefty sum on the places they visit. They try the local cuisine and drinks, buy souvenir items, and more. As a sailor, you can explore areas that you probably won’t be able to visit if you had a different career.
More Career Opportunities
Those who wish to embark on their journey as modern sailors also enjoy more available career opportunities. You also get the flexibility to move from one ship to another.
A Chance to Develop a Strong Character
Sailors are often personified to be tough, resilient, and strong. This is true, and sailors know and understand it all too well.
After all, sailors constantly battle against pressure, fatigue, and homesickness to get their work done. They must also deal with external factors, including cold and hot temperatures, waves, and storms.
Seafarers also need to deal with different cultures, nationalities, and personalities. Once you stand up and endure all of these, you can expect to build a stronger character than you used to have.
It’s never easy to survive a demanding work setting. But sailors must keep up with the environment since it’s an integral aspect of their job.
Sailors also enjoy higher wages and compensations compared to their on-shore counterparts. Aside from the higher salaries, they are also not required to pay taxes. Seafarers also get to enjoy free board and room, with their employer covering other expenses as well. Most positions in the industry are also unionized, meaning that on-shore workers can also receive higher wages.
Rapid Career Advancement
Sailors can get promoted early if they also start working before. Seafarers can move up the ranks in the maritime industry reasonably fast since the industry generally needs more staff.
Are You Ready to Become a Modern Sailor?
Now more than ever, starting a new career is far from easy. The tough competition and the changing times have resulted in more challenges in land, water, and air professions.
If you’re planning or dreaming of becoming a modern sailor, you must know the advantages and disadvantages of this particular career. Make sure that you weigh the above pros and cons to determine whether this profession is right for you.