Job on a ship – Challenges and difficulties

Job on a Ship

We have taken a look at various jobs on a ship including cruise ship jobs, navigation jobs, engineering jobs, crew jobs such as fitter, cook and so forth on various types of ships. Life on a ship though exciting can be equaling challenging. Often a shipping job is projected in such a way that it’s all fun and no play. There are many shipping career portals that intentionally or unintentionally, neglect the challenges of a shipping career, misguiding students with partial information. Thus it is imperative that everyone who is planning to take up merchant navy as a career should study the challenges that come along with the job, so as to avoid wrong decisions.

This article will describe the main challenges that every person faces on a ship. Some of them are unavoidable, while others can easily be put at bay with little efforts. I must also clarify at the very begining that the description of these challenges is not meant as a discouragement for prospective employees but only to give a clear picture, and needless to repeat, such challenges are present in all types of jobs on land as well albeit in different forms and perspectives.

Challenges Related To Health

Job of a Ship personnel is not only mentally strenuous but physically laborious too. Challenges related to health just can’t be avoided but precautions can always be taken to reduce the intensity drastically. Physical exertion can lead to muscular pain, sprains or even tearing of some sensitive tissues. Sometimes excessive physical labor can lead to excessive fatigue or dehydration due to sweating.

Accidents can lead to bone fractures or other heavy injuries. If food habits are improper, the worn out tissues won’t get sufficient nourishment, leading to extreme weakness. In order to keep health hazards at bay, proper diet and physical fitness should be maintained. Also appropriate precautions should be taken before carrying out any kind of work. In case of poor health conditions, work should be avoided.


Working in Heat and Noise

Fatigue is one such factor that no mariner can escape. The work on ship sometimes get’s so arduous that the body is bound to get physically and mentally stressed up. Mariners often have prolonged working hours, depriving them of minimum rest hours. Extreme fatigue can lead to reduced productivity and even severe accidents. Maximum of the marine accidents that take place are a result of fatigue. Fatigue can lead to concentration loss, sleepiness, non synchronization of body and mind and reduction of cognitive ability. Prolonged fatigue condition can lead to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which is complex and difficult to treat.


Fatigue, stress and depression are all interconnected. Stress related to work has drastically increased over the recent years due which incidents of depression have also seen a rise. Working on ship can sometimes become extremely monotonous and lonely which can lead to depression. Emergency situations and jobs adhering to deadlines have also been the main reason for depression. Depression can lead to headaches, muscles and joint pain. Sleeplessness, indigestion and dizziness have also been noted as symptoms of depression. Prolonged depression can lead to chest pain and loss in weight.


Seasick Sailor

This is one hazard that all each and every person working on ship have to face and overcome, weather working or not . Seasickness is a result of continuous rolling and pitching of the ship caused due to rough winds and waves. The most common symptoms of seasickness are dizziness and nausea which often lead to continuous vomiting and extreme weakness. If a body is under seasickness, it is extremely difficult to carry out any kind of activity due to the incompatibility between the senses of the body. Seasickness often leads to extreme indigestion and dehydration.

The Brighter Side

If you seem to be too much depressed on reading the above article and thinking of changing your opinion about the jobs related to marine field, let me tell you that the brighter aspects include free travel to most parts of the globe, a high salary package, family carrying facilities and so on. We will discuss about these aspects in detail in a later article


Heitzmann, W.R. (1999) Opportunities in Marine And Maritime Careers. New Jersey: McGraw-Hill Publications.

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