Good communication should always be your top priority while at sea. Working away from your family and loved ones is never easy but equally challenging for those left at home.
Unfortunately, maintaining quality communication can get trickier and even more difficult when you’re tired, busy, stressed, or not in the mood. It can be hard to put the true importance of regular and constant contact with anyone who works away from their family. This can make a big difference between bad and good days.
Even a few words from a child or spouse at the end of a long, strict watch or shift are enough to complete a seafarer’s day. It serves as their lifeline and a great reminder that reality still exists.
The Importance of Two-Way Communication
One of the first things you should always remember as a seafarer is that you should always be present whenever you’re talking to your family and loved ones.
What does it mean? It means that while speaking and uttering words, you should stop and think if you’re talking. Similarly, do you say anything whenever you send an instant message, SMS, or email?
Now more than ever, everyone is so busy and too used to send short, quick texts that don’t say anything. It makes it easy to forget proper communication and even take it for granted.
However, aside from the common communication problems as human beings, ask any seafarer, and they will surely tell you that distance and technology can also create some serious issues.
This is why it’s important to remind your family on land that there will always be those days onboard when there won’t be any internet signal. This leaves you deprived of any means of communication at your disposal that you can use to get in touch with your family and loved ones.
Popular Methods of Communication to Nurture Relationships Back Home
Communication is one of the most significant aspects of any healthy and thriving relationship. But the million-dollar question now is, how good is this communication in the first place?
Staying in touch using the different social media platforms is ideal when you want to do some quick check-ins. However, there is more to honest communication than just leaving an emoji on the Facebook post of your spouse.
What can be considered honest communication, then? It doesn’t matter if you’re checking in on your family by sending some emails, cards, or letters as the situation allows, or if you prefer to use Facetime or Skype, the so-called honest communication involves taking your time to sit down and engage in a proper conversation, which can be either written or verbal.
Maintaining good and positive relationships with those left back home is difficult when working at sea. For the past three decades, seafarers have been left with no choice but to rely on traditional snail mail, the over-over conversations over the radio, and those long-distance calls that only happen once a month.
The good news is that with the help of technology, seafarers now have more options for keeping in touch with their family back home, even while at sea. The following are only some of the newest technologies you can use to continue excellent and constant communication with your family and loved ones you left at home.
Are you somewhat old school or old fashioned that you still prefer to write those long letters? If yes, then you should settle with emails. One of the best things about emails is having your family print out your emails and put them in a family scrapbook.
In the future, it would be a great experience to go through your emails and the things you shared with them, with no need for you to bother scrolling through your conversations on Messenger.
Facebook is undoubtedly the biggest and most popular online platform right now, and as a seafarer, you shouldn’t miss the chance to create and maintain your account here.
You can add your family members, friends, and relatives as your Facebook friends and constantly communicate with them.
Your Facebook account is also the perfect place to post photos of the food you ate at sea when you dock at the port and the sites you visit. It’s also an ideal channel for sharing everything in your mind.
Most importantly, Facebook also allows you to check what your loved ones and family members are up to whenever you want. You can also see if new milestones have happened in the lives of those who matter to you.
Instant Messaging Apps
WeChat, Telegram, and Viber are popular and widely used instant messaging apps. Like Messenger, these instant messaging apps let you send messages to other users, form group chats, send photos, and engage in video and audio calls.
Even if you might already be on Messenger, there’s nothing wrong with installing any of these apps to serve as your backup. It’s because several countries, such as China, don’t allow access to Messenger and Facebook. It means you must use another app to continue communicating with your family.
If the ship happens to dock in an area where Facebook is banned, you wouldn’t have to worry if you are expecting an important call from your family or need to make an urgent one.
A product of Facebook, Messenger is an ideal app if you wish to engage in more private conversations with an individual or even a smaller group of people. You can send messages to people or create group chats thanks to Messenger.
You can also make video and voice calls with a strong internet connection. The messaging app also lets you send photos if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like the idea of broadcasting everything they do to everyone.
SMS or short messaging service, known simply as text, is now the fastest and easiest way to contact your family at sea. SMS can get the job done, whether it is to send a short greeting for a special occasion or even if it is only a simple hi or hello. Telecom companies have special SMS offers that seafarers can take advantage of.
Granted, postcards are a more complex and efficient way to stay in touch with the people who matter to you. However, like emails, postcards are lovely keepsakes you and your family can look at, even when all the Facebook posts and group chats have been deleted. Postcards also serve as friendly physical reminders of all the places you’ve visited during your voyages.
With all the different digital platforms combined with a few old-fashioned methods, seafarers will always have options for keeping in touch with their family and loved ones.
Regular Connection Makes a Seafarer’s Job Easier
With frequent and thoughtful communication, everything will be much easier for seafarers who want to stay connected with their families back home. The most important thing you must remember here is that communication always works both ways. Both you and your loved ones should constantly try to keep the communication lines open for everyone’s peace of mind.