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Seafarers’ Essential for Bon Voyage.

  • Sanatan 
  • 6 min read
Seafarer Essential

Those who fantacize happy travel must travel light. On a long journey, even a straw weighs heavily both in terms of weight and cost. We seafarers tend to travel a lot as per our job requirements. An experienced mariner, he or she, knows what’s essential when packing his or her luggage. Packing is always a nightmare for seafarers because we always have to choose, not the just essentials but only the essentials of the essentials. Going to the sea isn’t an easy job, it is like going for a long world tour. The experience of forgetting something habitual and regular might not be very pleasing. So, what are the Seafarer Essential bits and bobs which every mariner needs while going back to rough waters?

A long time back, going to sea was an enterprise that could take years. It was necessary to take as much as possible. It included all from basic to a few luxuries, which kept them going in the must be challenging to decide what to take and what not to for such a long journey. It was even more painful given the amount of space provided to them for accommodation. Sea chest used to be the common room for all to store their clothes and other useful items. According to a journal from the whaling ship “ocean rover” which was written in 1859, from the verses of the song we were told about items a seafarer used to carry on a voyage. The item included a quilt, thick trousers, woolen socks, papers and books, cigars and pipes, undergarments, butter jars, a razor brush and shaving items, threads and needles for patches, a bible, or a few books.

With the arrivals of planes, modern ships, and electronic gadgets the bags have turned lighter, but the complexities of various documents have made us stress more during both the times.

Living on a ship is similar to living in a hostel. The accommodation is small with cabins next to each other. There you can find a common kitchen and dining space, common laundry, central air conditioning and common WIFI (in case you are lucky). But it’s not a hostel – you will be rolling and pitching all the time due to the neighbourhood surrounded by the waters. No supply when needed, no visiting ATM and malls for your need. Hence it becomes important to take what is needed.


It is most important that you have the documents. The companies also provide a checklist to make the things easier. It is also a responsibility of the company to keep a record of the documentation of the employee and remind him well in advance about the missing ones. However, as a responsible and aware seafarer, you have to make your checklist and check all the documents you require at sea.

Some of the necessary documents are-

  • Flight tickets
  • Passports with validity
  • Relevant visas
  • Vaccination and immunization
  • STCW certificates
  • Employment contract letter and employment service terms and condition
  • The medical certificate with dg shipping approved doctor
  • Flag state continuous discharge certificate provided by the company

These are only a list of few documents, reach out to your employers or marine mercantile department for a complete checklist. It is also advised to take a photocopy of all the documents along with passport size and stamp size photographs.

Books and related things

If you are a cadet then books are important but carrying all the books to sea is not wise. You should carry only important ones like the ROR, activity work and record books. If you need more you can get them in the cadet library. Pen, pencil, a notebook are also important to note down important stuff.

People working in the deck department should carry their geometry box like a good pen, eraser, and pencil which will be very helpful for them. For engine cadet, a torch, a head covering cloth, etc. are some of the kinds of stuff which can be very useful.

Clothing and shoes

You should ask your company for the navigational area of your ship and pack accordingly. A pair of uniforms is a must. 5-8 pairs of undergarments and 5-8 pairs of socks, then if in case you stay in hot conditions take more t-shirts, shorts, swimming trunks, if luckily you could get to swim. In winter, you have to manage your space well with minimum quantity but efficient quality. Having some warm clothes is recommended in every voyage.

Working Gear required at sea

4 boiler suits, 1 pair of safety shoes, safety goggles, or masks are important. You can also have these items from the ship store.

Grooming and Personal Hygiene Kit

It is always good to be groomed and clean. You should always carry a pair of brushes, 2 tubes of toothpaste. Bringing a shaving kit with sufficient razor blades is essential.  You can bring your trimmer which will also help in haircuts. You can also carry deodorants, facewash, handwash, and other essentials according to your personal preferences.

Food and medicine

You will get food on ship definitely, but having some form of snacks and dry fruit will help your hunger at times.

For medicines check your company policy about prescription and over-the-counter medicines and carry accordingly. Crepe bandage and personal hot water bag and first aid kit are good to carry. Though you will find everything on the ship just in case we should always be prepared.

Gadgets and entertainment

Laptop, smartphone, or tablet preferably smartphone for using onboard/shore WIFI. Life on the ship is rigorous, so for a change, carrying entertainment stuff in form of movies, songs or e-books will help you keep your mood relaxed.

Other important things

Always have some dollars in your pocket it can be helpful in an emergency, you can also have an international debit card if you want. It can be handy if cash falls short.

Some additional things required at sea may varry from person to person and also on company requirements.

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