Seafarers and Hydration

“Water, water, everywhere,Nor any drop to drink.'” – even the Rime of the Ancient Mariner was concerned about seafarers and hydration. While the issue of drinking onboard ship was perhaps in the past all about alcohol. That debate has long been over, but there are still concerns about the liquid intake of those at sea.

It seems that too few seafarers are drinking sufficient amounts of water. The issue of drinking water is covered in the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC2006), which states that a seafarer has the right to good quality food and drinking water provided under regulated hygienic conditions.

Food and drinking water must be of appropriate quality, nutritional value and quantity, taking into account the requirements of the ship and the differing cultural and religious backgrounds of seafarers on the ship.


Working at sea can be physically demanding, whether through actual exertion or being on duty for extended periods. There is also the fact that seafarers are often having to work in hot environments. Sometimes that can be out on deck in scorching climates, or in machinery spaces.  The issue of dehydration is a serious one.

Another serious barrier to drinking sufficient water can be the fact that there is distrust of the tanked water on board because of taste or appearance. Indeed, seafarers spoke about the fact that water onboard was sometimes an issue, and the fact that their potable water tasted bad.

There was also some debate over the issue of bottled water. Some chandlers have reportedly taken to supplying plastic bottles to ships, however there are costs involved, which seemingly runs contrary to the MLC. However, this seems to be a contentious issue.


The International Seafarers Welfare Assistance Network (ISWAN) has been running an excellent campaign to address this issue, called Quench. There are many answers to the ongoing issue of seafarer hydration and health on their website


#28Days #Seafarers #Shipping Also check out the Mission to Seafarers website to learn more that the charity does to address many of the issues raised across these challenges facing shipping.

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