Life as a Seafarer

Life as a Seafarer

Hi, my name is Alex and I am a seafarer. You might be curious about seafarers and so, I will share my experience and life as a seaman.

Before I dive in, let’s first explore the definition.
 

What is Seafaring?

According to  dictionary.com, a seafarer is an individual who routinely travels by sea or is a sailor.
 With respect to the sailor, all sailors must conclude a contract with the shipowners for a certain time and must fulfill all the obligations set.
 

What do I Enjoy Most About Being a Seafarer?

  1. I have the opportunity to travel around the world.
  2. I get to contemplate beautiful sunsets and sunrises.
Beautiful isn’t it!

3. I get to make an impact, as shipping is very important in the life of any person since most of the goods that surround us are brought from abroad. However, no one thinks about how these goods are delivered, but everyone has their own life path. It is necessary to care about the vessel because as a seaman it becomes your second home. My job is to maintain the ship in good condition, which ultimately has positive implications on trade.

Me doing what I love.

Now, that I have shared what I love most about being a seafarer, I will answer the most common question about ships and tell you more about the types of ships I have worked on. 
 

Why is a ship called she?

“A ship is called a she because there is always a great deal of bustle around her; there is usually a gang of men about; she has a waist and stays; it takes a lot of paint to keep her good-looking; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep; she can be all decked out; it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly; and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her topsides, hiders her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.”  - Glossophilia 
 

Here's what a Merchant Fleet looks like.

 

An example of a Passenger Fleet

In my experience as a seaman, I have worked on both merchant fleets and passenger fleets. It’s important to note that there is a difference with these shipping types.  In fact, there is a merchant fleet for the transportation of various goods, for example, coal, corn, etc. With respect to the passenger fleet, it is used for transporting people. Each fleet has its own specifics of work. I was fortunate enough to feel the difference working on these different types of ships. Let’s now focus on the personality traits you’ll need to become a seafarer.
 

Key Character Traits for Every Seafarer

  1. Patience and Tolerance - You’ll need a lot of patience to work on the same ship with people who have different personalities and temperaments. 
  2. Endurance and Mentally sound - Because you’re home for such a long time, away from your family and loved ones, you may experience stressful periods, which could lead to anxiety, depression, homesickness, and loneliness. So, you’ll have to learn how to handle these negative situations and emotions in a positive way.  
  3. Physically fit and Hardworking - You’ll need a lot of stamina to work on vessels, which at times can be massive in size. In general, you have to work hard in whichever area you are assigned to work on the ship.
  4. Excellent Team Player - You should be cooperative, and you should be able to receive instructions well, and you’ll need to take responsibility for all tasks assigned.
  5. Flexible and Agile - Onboard the ship, anything can happen (from a technical problem to bad weather), so you’ll need to be able to quickly think on your feet and be willing to adapt to address the needs of the situation.
  6. Brave - The reality is you could lose your life so you’ll need to be courageous.
     

While my profession may seem romantic, in reality, it is a very hard job. I will now highlight some of the difficulties we face as seafarers.
 

What are the common problems of seafarers?

  1. They say that “sailors are closest to death and farthest from God.” Going on long voyages, every day we risk not coming back.
  2. We do not have the opportunity to see our relatives and loved ones for a long time.
  3. We have to work seven days per week sometimes in severe weather conditions.
It's not easy but the sea is my second home.

To conclude, I am very glad that I have the opportunity to travel around the world thanks to my work as a seafarer. However,  this wonderful job has a reverse side, sailors have to risk their lives, spend long periods away from home, as well as we have to adjust our personal lives to meet the demands of trade, travel, and transportation. Notwithstanding these risks, it’s totally worth it! 
 

For more inspiration on my travels as a seaman, feel free to get in touch with me - https://www.instagram.com/alexlukianov/

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