The wellbeing and happiness of seafarers depend on a variety of factors and there is no single approach that can succeed on its own. Once on board, seafarers live in an ever present operational environment during their tour of duty. The operational nature of this environment makes it difficult to change it to better suit the individual. At the same time the environment makes it challenging for the shipowners to accommodate all factors supporting the wellbeing of their crew.
Through this poster, we try to highlight some key activities that can be performed on an individual level as well as an organisational level to support seafarer wellbeing. The efforts of the seafarer to ensure their wellbeing goes hand in hand with the efforts of their employers in providing the right resources. The responsibility of keeping a healthy body starts with the individual to ensure some level of physical exercise on a regular basis and on the owners to ensure that the seafarers have sufficient facilities and time available to perform their daily exercise which is complimented by a nutritious diet. Similarly, the physical comfort of the living spaces which could include; hygiene and cleanliness, ambient temperature, noise levels etc. can play a significant role in the quality of the rest that a seafarer gets.
The importance of social interaction can easily be overlooked or viewed as trivial activities given the operational nature of the profession. However, social engagement can have a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of an individual provided that the individual makes an effort and the vessel managers promote such engagements through the senior management on board. Regular social engagements also support a feeling of comradery amongst the crew and the officers on board thereby giving them the opportunity to show care and support to their fellow seafarers.
Gard’s loss prevention has been working on supporting wellbeing of the seafarers and we have published several articles on the topic. Some of these complement our poster on wellbeing and happiness.