What is Life Aboard a Ship Like


The constant ocean breeze, seeing the world, meeting people of all cultures – life at sea might sound like the dream lifestyle. 

However, for the crews of ships, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Life aboard a ship has some harsh realities that these crewmen and women face every day. 

In this article, we’re going to have a look at what life aboard a ship is really like. 

We’ve compiled some of the most commonly asked questions about living on the sea, and today, we’re going to answer them.

So whether you’re considering listing as a seaman, or are just curious what these men and women go through daily, read on. 

What is Life At Sea Like?

Here are what most people are curious to know about living on a ship:

What are The Sleeping Conditions Like?

On cruise liners, passengers get to enjoy luxury bedrooms that make them feel at home. However, what most people don’t realize is that right below them is the crew’s cabins. 

These cabins are nothing like the bedrooms above. They’re small, cramped, and not luxurious in any way. 

What’s more, these cabins are often located close to the engine room and below the sealine. 

Because of this, it’s never quiet. You can always hear the humming of the engine or the sound of waves crashing against the boat. 

That said, these cabins are neat and tidy. If you were beginning to picture a slaver’s ship – with rats and filth all over the place – crew cabins are a far cry from that. 

It’s crew etiquette to keep the place clean for everyone. Plus, ship authorities also inspect the cabins from time to time to ensure they comply with regulations. 

Overall, the sleeping conditions are decent. You get a bunk bed, and the shipping company provides the blankets and pillows. 

Will You Learn New Cultures Working on a Ship?

Working on a ship is a great way to meet people from all over the world. 

However, to maximize working efficiency, ship crews are often segregated based on nationality. 

Most of your work will be with your fellow countrymen, and your sleeping arrangements may be likewise as well. 

That said, there are many opportunities for you to work and chat with people from different cultures. 

Despite the segregation, almost every ship requires all crewmembers to at least speak basic English. This way, communication will be easy.

However, perhaps the biggest downside to getting on a ship is that you’ll be cut off from your family and friends. Not all ships have access to the internet, so that you can go for months without any communication to the outside world. 

What Food and Water Will You Get?

Again, when working onboard a ship, don’t expect anything luxurious. Yes, you will get a healthy portion of food, but it’s nothing special. 

There are a few occasions that a ship’s crew celebrate. Major holidays, significant birthdays, and also goodbye parties are celebrated on board. On those occasions, you get to enjoy the best meals from the ship’s kitchen. 

What’s nice about food as a crewmate is that you won’t have to pay for anything since all your meals are paid for. 

As for water, vessels crossing oceans usually produce their own drinking water by desalinating seawater. It’s completely safe to drink, yet some people still prefer to buy a supply of bottled water when they reach port. 

How Difficult Is Working on a Ship?

In a ship, there is no room for laziness.

With only so many crew members on board, everybody has to be contributing something important. Even the ship’s captain doesn’t spend all his time at the bridge – he goes down to help out from time to time. 

Of course, there will be times when everything is running smoothly, and you can enjoy the views of the endless horizon. But most of the time, you’ll be hard at work. 

Is Life Aboard a Ship Dangerous?

Out in the ocean, there are many dangers. 

In the engine room, there are several hazards you need to keep an eye out for. That’s why the ship’s crew are always careful whenever they enter. 

Thankfully, modern ships are well prepared for any dangers out in the ocean. There are tight regulations that need to be followed before these ships can set sail. 

Hitting icebergs like the Titanic is a thing of the past. And if ever your ship is sinking, high-capacity bilge pumps will keep you afloat long enough for rescue to arrive. 

Do You Get to Visit Other Countries?

If working on a ship is beginning to sound depressing, don’t fret! One of the most exciting things about life onboard a vessel is the stopovers in different countries. 

No, living on the sea is not all fun and games, but it can get fascinating during stopovers. 

Ocean vessels dock all over the world. And when the ship isn’t running, you have time to enjoy the sights and sounds of exotic countries (granted you have a visa)

If you want to travel the world, listing as a seaman is one way to do it. For some seamen, these stopovers are the highlights of their careers. 

Does Working as a Seaman Have Good Pay?

Pay varies depending on your position and the company you’re working for. Generally speaking, seamen do get good paychecks. 

The nature of their work – the hazards, the difficulty, and time away from home – makes this position a decent-to-good choice financially. 


Is sea life for you?

That’s a question only you can answer. 

But at least now you know that life as a seaman is not a fairytale. 

Yes, you do get to travel the world for free and mingle will all types of cultures. And yes, you get to enjoy a good paycheck for your work. 

But the stress, difficulty, lack of personal space, and time away from home may nudge you away from this career path. 

So if you had the opportunity, would you take it?