Becoming a seaman is not an easy task, as it requires hard work, dedication and commitment over several years of study and training before one can be certified as a professional seafarer on board commercial vessels plying international waterways.
This article provides an overview of the four-year residency course required to become a seaman, including academic studies and shipboard training, as well as the benefits and challenges faced along the way to becoming certified as a seafarer. It also discusses career opportunities for qualified seamen.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Seaman
A seaman is responsible for navigating ships, loading cargo, maintaining equipment, performing safety drills, keeping watch at night, responding to emergencies and ensuring the safety of passengers and crew on board vessels at sea.
They are also responsible for inspecting bridges, engines, moorings and other equipment on board the vessel to ensure its safe operation during voyages from port to port.
Additionally, seamen may be responsible for other duties that vary depending on their position on board the vessel such as manning lifeboats during emergencies or helping with repairs when necessary.
Education and Training Requirements
To become certified as a professional seaman in any capacity requires knowledge in several areas such as navigation, seamanship, marine engineering and meteorology among others, all of which are taught through formal education programs at maritime schools or universities offering seafaring degrees or diplomas depending on the country’s regulations in place for seafaring qualifications.
In addition to classroom instruction, candidates must also undertake practical shipboard training under supervision aboard vessels before they can be certified as qualified seamen in any capacity or rank aboard commercial vessels plying international sea lanes.
Overview Of The Four-Year Residency Course
It is important to note that becoming a seaman requires more than just acquiring theoretical knowledge, it also involves practical shipboard training under supervision which usually takes place over a four-year residency period consisting of both academic studies (1st year) and one year shipboard training (3rd year).
The remaining two years (2nd year & 4th year) are set aside for further academic studies with some opportunities for additional shipboard training where possible depending on availability of vessels suitable for training purposes within particular regions or countries where maritime schools are located.
Academic Studies In The First, Second & Fourth Year
During their academic studies over three years (1st year & 2nd year & 4th year) at maritime schools or universities offering seafaring degrees/diplomas candidates will learn basic navigation principles such as charting courses using maps/charts/GPS systems, seamanship skills such as knot tying/ropework/anchoring techniques, basic marine engineering principles such as engine maintenance/troubleshooting, meteorology principles such as understanding weather patterns/forecasting storms, communications skills related to using radio frequencies properly, safety regulations related to maritime operations in accordance with IMO conventions, cargo handling procedures etc.
All these areas must be studied thoroughly so that candidates have sufficient knowledge before they embark on their shipboard training in their third year of residency course leading towards certification by government authorities who oversee issuance of seafaring certificates upon successful completion of all requirements.
Shipboard Training In The Third Year
The third year is set aside exclusively for practical shipboard training under supervision aboard commercial vessels plying international sea lanes where candidates will apply all their theoretical knowledge learnt during their academic studies over two years prior to this stage. During this stage candidates will gain valuable experience sailing around various ports located across different countries while engaging with experienced crew members who provide guidance throughout the voyage.
This hands-on experience will help them develop strong seamanship skills through practical application while getting accustomed to life aboard ships which can often be quite difficult due to long working hours away from family and friends back home.
Following successful completion of this stage candidates can then proceed with obtaining certificates issued by government authorities upon successful completion of all requirements related to academic studies/shipboard training etc.
Benefits Of Becoming a Seaman
Becoming a seaman offers numerous benefits that come with working at sea such as traveling around different countries while experiencing different cultures along with earning good salaries while having access to quality medical care provided by employers depending on type/size vessel being sailed.
Additionally there are opportunities for advancement aboard commercial vessels ranging from Deck Officer positions right up through Chief Officer/Captain roles providing excellent career paths leading towards senior management roles within shipping industry if desired.
Furthermore becoming a seaman opens up opportunities abroad where one can find employment easily due to global demand from shipping companies requiring experienced seafarers who understand complexities involved with operating large vessels safely across oceans worldwide.
Challenges Faced By Seamen
Despite all benefits associated with working at sea there are also challenges faced by seamen especially when sailing around remote areas far away from home as communication can be difficult at times due to lack of internet connection/mobile phone reception etc.
Additionally living conditions aboard ships can often be quite cramped due lack of space especially if number crew members onboard exceed number allocated cabins causing disruption among crew members which needs careful management especially during long voyages lasting several weeks or months at time without any shore leave available until voyage ends when vessel reaches port again.
Other challenges include adverse weather conditions which can cause significant delays resulting in financial losses due missed schedules resulting in potential legal disputes between parties involved.
Furthermore fatigue is another challenge faced by seamen especially when working long hours during night shifts making it difficult stay alert throughout voyage leaving little time rest between shifts making it even more important sail carefully avoiding hazardous areas whenever possible otherwise accidents may happen resulting loss life property damage etc.
Career Opportunities For Seamen
Once qualified there are numerous career opportunities available especially since demand experienced seafarers has been increasing rapidly owing global growth shipping industry providing new job openings every day varying from Deck Officers right up through Chief Officers Captain positions depending qualifications held type experience gained throughout career thus far enabling qualified seamen find employment easily no matter where they located world provided they have necessary documents required work legally abroad following applicable local laws regulations place each country visited while sailing across international waterways.
Conclusion – The Journey To Becoming A Seafarer
Becoming qualified seaman takes hard work dedication commitment over several years study specialised skills acquired through both theoretical classroom instruction practical shipboard training under supervision before one can certified professional seafarer board commercial vessels plying international sea lanes however rewards associated with working travel world make journey worthwhile providing excellent career paths leading towards senior management roles within shipping industry if desired alongside numerous other benefits associated with being able stand bridge ships sail around world visiting different ports experiencing different cultures along way thus making journey towards becoming qualified seaman quite exciting rewarding one should consider carefully before embarking upon journey become professional seafarer board commercial vessels plying international waterways!