As 71% of Earth’s surface is covered with ocean, 90% of trade in world happens through sea routes, and one of the oldest profession Merchant Marine is making it possible.
The Merchant Marine is responsible for transporting cargo and passengers during peacetime. In time of war, the Merchant Marine can be an assistant to the Navy, and can be called upon to deliver military personnel.
Lifestyle of mariners is often judged on several myths and stories. To unveil those secrets regarding Sailors & Merchant Navy, Gabdig had a word with young mariners, Akash Pathak & Sudhanshu Bishnoi who are in navigation and engineering department respectively. They shared about their lifestyle and experiences on ship.
What’s the best thing about joining the Marine Life?
TRAVELING of course. It is an explicit experience of boarding a flight to check-in a five star hotel, while visiting different countries which were only known through maps and TV shows. Working with different crew members who belong to vivid nationalities, job satisfaction and SALARY (4 times of what your friends might be earning at Infosys). You will experience Fresh air and beautiful sights when out at sea (clicking dolphins racing by your side and seeing complete rainbows)
Also when you get home, you are completely free.
Bonus: You can also fool the greedy cops by showing your Govt. of India Shipping License and scare them by saying you are in Navy. Some might even salute you 😉
How do you spend your leisure time on board?
Ship has everything. Gym, swimming pool, Table tennis on board, TV, board games, PlayStation. Otherwise you have an option to enjoy the scenic beauty, watch movies, talk with crew members, read books and not to forget the main thing – finishing the training assessment and record book.
Behind every smile ashore there is a sacrifice at sea. ~Aakash Pathak
Don’t you get bored looking at sea every time?
Navigators are paid for looking at the sea only. It’s called lookout in marine language. Talking about engineers, they are supposed to work inside the engine room and don’t get to see sea until they come out of engine room. But, the view is so blissful that they never get bored of it, rather it gives immense pleasure with fresh air.
What is the most challenging thing on deck?
Honestly speaking, it’s one of the top 10 most risky professions in the world. Working in the rough weather and during emergencies are some of the challenging tasks. Rough weather really tests your nerves, and if you get seasick that is an even worse feeling. Another big challenge comes up when you start missing the family.
Continuous hard work, specially at the time of emergency, Sea sickness and reduced social circle will keep testing the patience of a Sailor from time to time.
How do you connect with the outside world ?
Satellite phones are available on board and free internet service(not that great). We can do voice calling and talk to our friends and family. We also get calling cards when in ports for calling back home.
This job is not for everyone as you should really need to have a very strong mind and will power to be away from land for a long time and face the rough weather.
~ Sudhanshu Bishnoi
What rescue options are available on ship, in case of rough weather ?
The list is endless for rescue measures available. There are lifeboats and life rafts on ships of much more capacity than the actual number of crew on board. Every two weeks life boat drills are conducted so that crew is prepared every time for an emergency. Also, there are several pyrotechnics and gadgets to get help.
In case of very severe rough weather, where there is considered severe safety hazard to the ship, the route is diverted.
Why do less people join marine?
Less people join as a Seafarers (marine) because no body have enough knowledge about it and in India people are busy becoming engineer. Most people still have no idea of this field even in the big cities. You have to stay away from your land and home for a long time, and its become difficult to find girl of your dream in the sea (only Jack Sparrow can find mermaids) might be one of the major reason of not joining marine.