Pin Me

How to Manage Stress in Maritime Jobs?

written by: Ricky • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 3/17/2009

The fat pay-cheque associated with a job in merchant navy does not come easy. One has to work for months together in isolated conditions and this could lead to stress. Learn how to manage stress on ships and keep yourself fit and healthy

  • slide 1 of 3


    Maritime jobs are one of the best paying professions in the world but as there is no free lunch in this world; a marine job does not come without its own set of circumstances which can cause job stress and the sailors certainly need to learn a lot about stress management.

  • slide 2 of 3

    The More the Merrier

    In the earlier days there used to be a large number of crew on board a ship and the number could easily cross a hundred on a large sized ship. Technology not only changed the way we live on land, but the way sailors sail at sea as well. No doubt the automation and other technical innovations made ship life much safer and physically less exhausting, yet because of the commercial pressure and new techniques the number of staff on commercial ships has reduced drastically and nowadays you can easily count the complement on your fingertips.

    Since human beings are social animals they are always in the need for company and like minded people. Hence in the earlier days with so many people around, it seems likely that they were having almost a similar social setup on the ship as they had on land.

    These days with hardly a dozen or two people on board and with tight commercial pressures, there is hardly any socializing at sea these factors combined could lead to build up of stress and a mariner needs to handle this stress if he has to survive in the long run.

  • slide 3 of 3

    Tips to Handle Stress

    There cannot be any hard and fast rules about stress management on a ship but a few tips would help to eliminate the blues of the job to a great extent.

    • Though everybody is too busy on the ship in their own duties, still try to take out some time at least where you interact with other members in a normal manner without the rank hierarchy as a hurdle. Of course care should be taken in this depending on the staff, lest it affects work discipline.

    • Most of the ships have gyms and even in the absence of that there is a provision for doing some light exercise at least even if it is simple walking. Even if you feel exhausted try to exercise regularly as that helps to reduce mental stress.

    • Alcohol is restricted on modern ships due to international regulations so there are fewer chances that one will indulge in over-drinking to cope with stress. Even if it is possible DO NOT use excessive alcohol or any other drugs to deal with it. (Let me remind you that it is illegal as well).

    • “What we eat helps to create our mind" – basically this means that diet has a tremendous effect on our mindset hence try to eat a balanced diet both in quantity as well as quality. You can consult a diet chart for this purpose.

    • The routine of ships is such that sometimes both officers and crew do not get to sleep properly for days together. Of course this is a part of the job and one cannot shun responsibility and go to bed but try to develop a habit of utilizing free time to take a nap (remember I am not telling you to sleep secretly while on duty).

    • Meditation is the concentration of the mind inwards, speaking in the simplest of terms. There are hundreds of methods to achieve this but whatever method you choose, make sure you spend some time to meditate regularly.

    • Last but not least if you manage your job properly and know what you do, you will certainly be less stressed so try to learn your job as fast as you can and perform it to the fullest of your attention and capability. This will give you a strong mind and help to eliminate stress making you feel proud about your job

    Surely marine life is a well paying profession but you certainly need to be mentally and physically very strong to endure the stress and strain imposed by the job. Just remember that when you return on land after a long hard voyage, your bank balance would be much healthier than most of your friends on land and you will enjoy the long vacation in a much more royal manner.

    By the way after reading this article if you ask me how do people in space stations who stay there for much longer duration handle stress, I would suggest you to ask some NASA expert!!!