Sailing Success: 10 Essential Qualities Every Seafarer Must Possess

2 April, 2023

Sailing Towards Success: A Guide to Becoming a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy

By: Smit Lokhandwala (Deck Cadet)

Merchant Navy ships carry very important & sometime Dangerous cargo which makes it very important that the officers working on these ships are trained well and must have skills & qualities required to make these ships sail smooth. There are many qualities that a seafarer needs to show while he/she is working on-board a ship. In this blog we will talk about top 10 Qualities a Seafarer must Possess.

Let’s get started.

Qualities of a Seafarer:

1. Adaptability

For mariners, adaptability is a way of life rather than a choice. All seafarers are able to adapt with various types of individuals, circumstances, and conditions. A seafarer’s existence is filled with fresh challenges every day onboard. They will struggle to survive onboard if they can’t adjust to their new environment. They encounter individuals from various nationalities. In order to maintain a positive atmosphere on board, they must learn to interact with people of different cultures. The successful operation of the ship depends on the cooperation of the entire crew, a mariner must be able to adapt under any circumstance. in order to make sure that the operation doesn’t break down.

2. Punctuality

This is a quality that every mariner should possess. The crew is in-charge of managing cargo worth millions of dollars, and even a small delay could result in a huge financial loss. Every mariner must possess the vital trait of being punctual on watches. To deliver the cargo on schedule and in its full worth, each mariner rigorously adheres to the assigned deadlines and sticks to their monotonous grind.

3. Hard Working

There shouldn’t be any debate about how hardworking mariners are! Every mariner is immediately associated with a work ethic once they board a ship. In addition, simply working hard is insufficiently rewarding. Seafarer needs to work cleverly at times, in order to finish the assignment on time and efficiently.

4. Leadership

Safe activities at sea depend on leadership in particular. Humans are the system’s A and Z, and when leaders put their attention on them, numbers tend to follow. Just the necessary number of people are on board the ship itself. Hence, leadership is what makes a difference. Knowing your team, their abilities, and limitations, meeting their needs, and bringing out the best in everyone are all part of effective leadership. The ship will sail easily, without any delays, and in good condition if everyone puts in their all. You may be in charge of the entire ship or only the engine room, but you still need to possess leadership qualities to guide your crew and come up with solutions to the worst-case scenarios, especially under challenging circumstances.

5. Discipline

When a sailor is at sea, discipline is not relaxed. You cannot relax your hold on discipline, regardless of whether it is your working or rest time. Working at sea requires strong discipline because a disorganized approach to work might put everyone at risk when situations arise. The secret to completing tasks safely and effectively onboard is to follow a clear strategy and practice disciplined labor.

Also Read: What is sea time? How is it calculated

6. Fearlessness

The biggest evil threatening mariners is fear. A sailor has a harder time surviving if they are afraid of anything at sea. He or she must conquer any fears they may have and become a courageous seafarer. A mariner is expected to be courageous and perform their duties to the best of their ability regardless of the conditions or restrictions that would prevent them from doing so. A multimillion-dollar ship cannot come to a complete stop due to a mechanical malfunction. When this happens, ship crew must be extremely active and occasionally take risks in order to finish the task at hand.

7. Teamwork

The ability to work as a team is crucial. Working onboard is not a solo job. Although there are not many people on board. Managing those individuals and forming a strong team out of it can produce excellent outcomes. For instance, if the weather is constantly changing and causing metal to expand and contract, a pipeline might get dislocated. Such tasks cannot be completed by one person. Such a crucial task calls for a team of capable deck and engine minds, who work together to keep everything running smoothly.

8. Responsible

Manning of ships comprises maximum of 20-22 person. Everyone has their own work and responsibilities. Nobody can rely on somebody else for completion of their own work. Every seaman needs to take responsibilities and take good care of the appliances that fall under them. It is a fact that as you grow in this career your responsibilities increase. If we take a look at deck side 3rd officer is responsible for port papers, LSA and FFA appliances. The hospital, stationary store, and bridge are under the control of the second officer. Chief Officer is overall in charge of deck and responsible of cargo and related operations.

9. Communication

The ability to communicate is essential for all mariners. A closed loop of communication should include appropriate acknowledgement and feedback. Many accidents that occur aboard ships are caused by communication breakdowns. In order to have effective communication, each significant should state what the other has said and the other should either agree or correct the other if they are mistaken. For instance, the Chief Officer can order to “Open drop valves of 4P and 3S” during a loading operation. “Opening drop valves of 4P and 3S,” the cadet replies. and after the task is finished, the cadet reports it, which is acknowledged by the chief officer.

10. Decision making

Taking decisions becomes necessary when there is serious problems. People occasionally need to make harsh decisions and stick to them because they are responsible to the seniors. Every seaman must have encountered a challenging circumstance, such as adverse weather or a ship’s machinery malfunction. When these situations arise, seafarers must immediately consider their options and make decisions about what to do. Before beginning any troubleshooting on board a ship, a proper plan for resolving the issue must be created and for that critical decision making is a must quality.

Click here to follow our Social Media Account to get updates like this

Also Read: How to tackle Emergency Situations On Board Ships