If you are a commercial seaman about to step aboard a ship for your first long-term assignment, you may understandably feel trepidation. Though you have had some education and training, you know much is unknown about what you will experience. Once you are at sea, you won’t be able to just run home for that phone number you forgot. In addition to packing appropriate gear and clothing, check off the following essential tasks you need to navigate in order to prepare for your passage.
Make Certain You Are Protected
Life on an ocean vessel can be dangerous. In fact, commercial fishing stands historically as one of the riskiest careers. You should not consider even approaching a ship without health insurance in your portfolio, whether a company-provided or self-insured policy. Go over yours with a fine-tooth comb so that you understand its exclusions and other limitations.
Also, don’t let your employer off the hook when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance. Most operations should provide maritime workers comp for all employees. If yours does not, they may be breaking the law and you could find yourself with expensive bills were an accident to occur.
Get Your Document Ducks In A Row
It is likely your employer will help you ensure you have the necessary papers in order before departure. After all, they could be held liable for your omissions just as you would be. You do not want to find yourself having to rush off to grab a missing document at the last minute, however. Depending on your itinerary you may be required to possess the following:
- Immunization record
- Employer contract
- Emergency forms
Be aware, however, you may be required to hold more forms and documents than these. Also, be sure to photocopy each and store the backup separately.
Prepare And Share Information
Early on, give your itinerary to friends and family. This information should include dates, locations and phone numbers both onboard and at each destination. Also, share financial and health account information with them. Finally, create an advance directive and a living will. Enlist an attorney since seafaring, international documents will be complicated to create appropriately.
On the other end, collect all important phone numbers you may possibly need to access. Even though you will have listed critical ones on your emergency contact form, providing a more comprehensive list to the captain can enhance your peace-of-mind.
Educate Yourself About Destinations
Whether you stay on board the entire journey or depart when the ship docks, you should prepare to act appropriately at international destinations. Understand what items may be forbidden by local laws and customs. Whatever you do, do not possess illegal drugs. Of course, your company would terminate your employment immediately in that case anyway, as a consequence of the danger using recreational substances would pose to you and others on a ship.
Scan the horizon for what you must undertake to prepare for a working ocean trip can. Although you will face many tasks first, completing the essential ones listed here will ensure smooth sailing under clear skies.