With overall happiness levels dropping, it is clear that there are many areas of life at sea that need improving. There are also issues relating to gender, and while the respondents from female seafarers were worryingly low – though reflect the overall working gender profile, it was a concern to see that women at sea are less happy than their male counterparts. While this time around, Ro-Ro vessels seem to be the happiest workplaces.
A host of new concerns emerged from responses, and it was surprising to hear complaints about a lack of government support for their profession. Something which was not only limited to one or two nationalities, so there is a definite sense that administrations need to address their relationships with seafarers.
Regarding onboard issues, long-standing concerns were voiced again. Seafarers spoke about a lack of social life and limited access to entertainment and the internet. While shore leave was again a bone of contention, as is workload and paperwork.
The positives are still there to be heard, and time and again seafarers spoke of their pride in the job. Being a seafarer is a proud noble profession still. Those who were scored as being happiest were those who had positive relationships with those onboard, who had internet access, good food, time and ability to exercise and were able to get ashore now and again. It may seem blindingly simple, but unless these areas are addressed and improved, then seafarers will not be happy in their jobs and will either switch companies or perhaps leave the sea.
We urgently need more data, and to hear the stories of more seafarers…and for those who have already done so, to share again. We are building new online capabilities and applications to process the data, and to make sure the voices at sea are heard. So please visit www.happyatsea.org to find out more, and to complete the survey. We also want to get these reports spread far and wide across shipping, so please do pass this on.
For the full picture on Seafarers Happiness, see https://www.happyatsea.org/wp-content/uploads/SHI_Q1_2019-1.pdf
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