Mariners are an embodiment of the concept of responsibility. They are armed with the knowledge and skills for the job, and at the same time, they know how to look after themselves while at sea. But what is even more amazing about these professionals is that they also care for their loved ones’ lives who were left on the land.
Read on below to learn the basics every aspiring mariner should know:
What is a Mariner?
A mariner or seafarer works to serve aboard any marine vessel. The term is often used to refer to active seafaring workers, although it is also used for describing someone with a long history of serving in the profession.
The definition may sound like a no-brainer, but once you delve deeper into the profession, you will discover a wide range of different roles and types of service that a seafarer can play in his particular line of work.
It’s just sad how the majority seems to under-appreciate the work of seafarers, especially if you consider their varying working conditions.
The Basics of Maritime Training
Anyone who wants to embark on a career as a mariner and plans to search for jobs at sea shortly should undergo training to carry out their duties on board. They also need to undergo training for personal safety.
You should be serious with your training if you want employers to take your resume as a mariner seriously. Attending a maritime academy should always be your first step toward your desired rank.
The main focus of these academies is the maritime profession. Based on the industry’s jargon, maritime academies are the first port of call for budding cadets seeking opportunities in the naval domain.
Maritime training at nautical institutes is vocational, and aspiring mariners must pass seaman courses before considering pursuing higher education in this field.
While deciding on a particular area to study within the sector, always remember that the requirements for seafarers will differ from one job to another. However, all crew members should be certified and qualified for the positions they have been hired for and trained for their expected tasks.
The training also needs to adhere to the standards of the International Maritime Organization. All seafarers should also hold the necessary medical certificates to work at sea before starting a job on a vessel.
Several merchant navy ranks will only be qualified to perform specific duties if they hold a CoC or Certificate of Competency and CEC or Certificate of Equivalent Competency. These should also be listed on a seaman’s resume.
The Role of SCTW
From the point of view of an owner or ship manager, as far as maritime employment is concerned, they need to follow the international regulations of the Standards in Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (SCTW) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) if they want to recruit for mariner jobs on their commercial vessels.
It’s also worth noting that now that the shipping industry has started to adopt innovative and breakthrough technologies, there’s a big chance that the future will look a bit different than it is today.
This says that even seafarer jobs may also change with more emphasis on training in several disciplines, including coding. It can help produce a more confident and tech-savvy generation of new seafarers.
There is also a shift in training now that online seafarer training has become the norm, and more modern concepts, including Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, gamification, and onshore simulators, help prepare future mariners for life out at sea.
After you have acquired the proper certifications and training and have determined that you have the necessary personality traits that make you suitable to spend several months away from your loved ones, you can make your dreams come true and send out your mariner’s resume.
Similarly, suppose you plan to take the next step and search for a role in the industry with more challenges, or you would like to pursue different pathways in the maritime sector. In that case, you can seek the assistance of professionals who can help you.
Life of a Mariner Onboard
The life of a mariner is far from idyllic, as most international seafarers often complete long-term voyages that keep them away from their family, loved ones, and friends for a maximum of nine months at a time. For some, this career choice allows them to give their family back home a better life, making it worth all the sacrifices of not being with them.
As expected, communication with the people back home is one of the most common concerns for most mariners due to people with low incomes, or lack thereof, of WiFi access both on ships and in port. It explains why most seafarers prefer to sail on boats with WiFi onboard.
Unfortunately, long periods away from home may strain relationships with loved ones. It can also put a strain on a mariner’s mental health. Things got even worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s never an easy life on board a ship, not to mention the dangers it poses on seafarers who often go head to head with extreme and risky weather conditions, especially during the colder months of winter. Although living conditions improved through the years, cabins continue to be more for function than space, with varying levels of comfort and quality. Seafarers also endure long contracts and long working hours. And even if they are entitled to eat their nationality food, it doesn’t always get catered for most of the time.
The Key Role of Mariners in the Global Economy
The global economy will only operate and run afloat with one of its fundamental pillars: the supply of fuels and goods. So how do these basic supplies get transported for distribution from their manufacturers to the target destinations?
This is where cargo ships or freighters enter the picture. Over 90% of the total fuels and goods of the world are transported across the globe, all made possible by seafarers. These mariners are necessary for the global economy to stand a complete standstill, jeopardizing millions of jobs and businesses worldwide.
It’s why seafarers play a crucial role in maintaining the current way of life in society, with some agreeing that they are among the most under-appreciated workers in the economy.
The Dangers of a Mariner’s Job
Aside from the harsh environment, mariners often deal with some serious dangers. These include extreme weather conditions as well as piracy in several notable areas across the globe.
Most people need this correct misconception about piracy. Some even believe it is a long-forgotten way of life only romanticized by Hollywood movies.
Little did they know that piracy at sea continues to be one of the biggest dangers mariners face at one point or another. The experience is already frightening; some even suffer from mental breakdowns long after the incident.
The job of a mariner is considered one of the most dangerous occupations in the world for a reason, so weighing things before you embark on this career is imperative.
Wrapping It Up
As an aspiring mariner, you probably thought that the basics you should know include your job description or salary. However, more than those superficial details, the real fundamentals of this profession lie under the surface.
While great rewards and benefits await you if you pursue this career, learning the risks and dangers is equally essential to ensure you won’t be disappointed or regretful.