The 21 Things You Need to Know on Seafarer Happiness

The 21 stand outs from the 2019 Q4 Report:

  1. A drop across all categories, aside from connectivity
  2. Overall average slipped down to 6.13/10 from a high in Q3 of 6.59
  3. Happiest seafarers were those on container vessels, aged between 25-35, from Africa and serving as engine crew.
  4. Pride seafarers feel when providing for their families and communities. Happiest seafarers spoke of the importance of their role as provider for their family, especially in giving their children a future and providing the best education and standard of living they can.
  5. Sense of sacrifice in being away, but where that translates into positives at home, then seafarers are happy to do whatever they feel is best for their family.
  6. Concerns about the payment of wages back to their families – fees and exchange rates.
  7. Concerns in the event of illness or injury – there seemed to be a lack of confidence that employers would look after dependences in the event of something bad happening at sea.
  8. Respondents pleased when their companies support them to learn and develop their skills.
  9. Seafarers reported that positive training rests on a threefold approach – good quality, engaging and relevant courses, which were delivered so as to minimise the impact on their time.
  10. Seeming improvements in connectivity and that it seems the industry is waking to the importance of providing communications and access for crews.
  11. Seafarers who feel able to keep in touch with home are more relaxed. Crews who have good quality, low-cost access to the internet and connectivity are far happier than those who don’t.
  12. Still huge scope for further progress.
  13. A growing sense of dissatisfaction where internet access is denied, is slow, or is too expensive. There is also real anger directed towards masters and companies who are seen to be profiteering from charging for access.
  14. Troubling to read reports of crew members experiencing racism onboard. Not unsurprisingly, this was impacting wellbeing at sea and job satisfaction too. Indications that this is a problem on the rise.
  15. Also seafarers felt that there was nowhere to turn when they faced such abuse. Often, they do not feel able to raise the issue onboard, for fear of exacerbating the problem, while even complaining to the company is not often an attractive option.
  16. Calls for an independent complaint line or procedure.
  17. Seafarers also stressed that life at sea is constantly changing, and while conditions onboard may be ok, perhaps even good, at certain points it does not take much to tip the balance and make things difficult.
  18. Too little slack in the system onboard that it does take much to negatively impact crews. They stated that quick rotations of port calls, heavy traffic, demanding cargoes or weather can all have a massive impact on the quality of life onboard.
  19. Frustration about the levels of administration and paperwork that is still expected of crews.
  20. Pressures of meeting vetting standards were criticised repeatedly. It was felt that systems which are meant to raise standards are seemingly compromised if they are making seafarers more stressed.
  21. Opportunities to improve include changes to the ways in which crew management companies deal with remittances. Better quality food purchased for vessels, and efforts to ensure that ships have some form of social interaction onboard – with sports cited as a great way to bring crews together.

Access the latest report here: https://www.happyatsea.org/wp-content/uploads/SHI_Q4_2019.pdf

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