Career at Sea
Would you like a career where:
- You are paid while you learn
- You get the chance to travel the world at someone else's expense.
- Time off is measured in weeks and months - not just days.
- Your days are challenging and rewarding.
- You can quickly gain responsibility and a salary to no match.
- There is a lifetime of personal development opportunities.
Reasons to Work at Sea:
Wages earned by seafarers are normally very generous compared to similar professions ashore. Seagoing officers are assured a very comfortable standard of living, and are usually within the upper income bracket of their national populations.
In Europe, a recently qualified third officer can earn a "take home" salary that is comparable to what many shore-based university graduates might hope to earn in their early 30s. In developing world countries, ships' officers working on internationally trading ships are amongst the very highest paid in their countries. Opportunities for accumulating savings, even when young, are considerable (unlike most people, officers have relatively few expenses when working at sea as accommodation, travel and food are met by the employer).
The real value of wages may often be substantially greater because they are often tax free. Officers at sea can be promoted rapidly, eventually progressing to Captain or Chief Engineer, with wages matching their responsibilities. Salaries obviously vary according to the country in which you live and the shipping company you work for. Some types of ship require specialised skills for which pay may be higher. More detailed information will be available from national sources.
As a junior officer, reporting to senior officers, you will supervise the work of "ratings" - seafarers qualified at the "Support Level".Early ResponsibilityAs a deck officer at sea you will be responsible for the safe navigation of a seagoing vessel, its passengers and crew. Alternatively you might be responsible for mooring or cargo handling, leading a team of seafarers using your knowledge and experience to ensure safe and successful operations.
As an engineer officer ,you will be responsible, during "watch periods", for the safe operation of the ship's engines and technical systems - enormous industrial machinery. The forces which the sea can exert on a ship mean that the full and proper functioning of engineering systems are vital at all times for the safety of the ship and the protection of the environment.
Within 10 years of commencing specialist maritime education and training, it is possible to qualify as a Captain or Chief Engineer with total responsibility for the operation of a ship and the management and safety of its crew.
Opportunities to Travel
Although modern ships spend less time in port than 25 years ago, a career in shipping still means that you can literally travel to almost anywhere in the world. This gives seafarers the chance to experience interesting and unusual places, rather than just the typical business or holiday destinations visited by many people.
Long Term Prospects
There is a great need for more qualified ships' officers to meet the skills required by international shipping companies. Industry predictions suggest that this requirement will increase in the next few years, especially if the world economy (and population) continues to expand, and thus the quantity of goods moved by sea continues to increase.Good Long Term ProspectsMany senior personnel are shortly due to retire so there are excellent prospects for fast advancement by new entrants to the maritime profession.
Career Flexibility and Job Security
Shipping is an ideal occupation for young people seeking something exciting and different to just working in an office, which in the long run will also lead to an enjoyable and well paid executive career in a major international industry. Merchant ships’ officers hold internationally recognised qualifications meeting standards agreed by the United Nations International Maritime Organization.
In shipping, however, seafarers commonly enjoy generous leave or holiday periods. Exact terms will vary, but on "short sea" trades a system of one month working followed by one month paid holiday is often applied. On intercontinental or "deep sea" trades, leave periods of several months' duration are not uncommon.
A Career that is Differen
A ship is a unique working environment because it is also home to those working on board. Those working on board ship often develop lasting friendships with their colleagues and have a stimulating life which is different to the experience of many people working ashore.