A life at sea offers unique opportunities but can also be challenging and unpredictable, requiring seafarers to possess physical and mental stamina. Training is essential to equip new and experienced seafarers with the tools they need for life at sea. Catherine Logie, Business Development Director for Training Services at Marlins – a leader in the provision of training solutions for the maritime sector – explains how the right training can help mitigate the challenges of life on board.

“A seafaring career is demanding, there’s no doubt about it,” says Catherine. “But for many it is rewarding and can lead on to diverse maritime career opportunities. Therefore, when we train seafarers, we also influence future generations of maritime managers and specialists. We currently have a pool of over 40,000 seafarers including cruise hotel personnel working in V.Ships, coming from all over the world including the Philippines, Russia, Ukraine, India, Indonesia, Europe, Brazil and many other regions. Marlins partners with more than 400 companies around the world on training and assessment solutions: with over 25 years’ experience in the industry, we have a truly global perspective on the training needs of seafarers.”

Marlins works with recruiters on the assessment tools they need to select high calibre seafarers. Training starts as soon as seafarers are employed and continues throughout their careers: “Throughout our training, we put a lot of emphasis on seafarer safety and wellbeing,” Catherine explains. “We specialise in integrated training solutions that ensure seafarers are fully equipped, operationally, mentally and emotionally.

“Interpersonal, cultural, language, communication and leadership skills are not traditional areas for seafarer training programmes, however, at Marlins, we have long recognised that these skills are essential for teamwork. Like all skills, they can be trained and practised. When you have efficient teams of well trained, healthy seafarers, supported by strong company values and policies, seafarers can be more focused, motivated and vigilant and are likely to make better decisions in challenging operational situations.”

Marlins’ investment in wellbeing training includes holistic learning programmes on topics such as resilience, cultural awareness, social isolation and stress management. PTSD, diversity and inclusion, and dignity at work are also training areas developed by Marlins. “We believe that training is an important part of the wider movement to improve quality of life for seafarers. If you are being bullied on board, if you feel anxious, depressed or isolated, then training can help by raising awareness of these complex human issues which are sometimes taboo or simply hard to talk about. Through training, we can provide clear guidance for seafarers and cruise hotel personnel on how to manage themselves and others.

How we deliver training is underpinned by listening to clients’ needs and the desired outcomes. We can tailor programmes using a blend of crew seminars, on board training, shore based or online simulator training, instructor-led training, elearning, video, VR, workshops, collaboration tools – however, our view is that the delivery medium is not the focus, it is about understanding seafarers’ needs first, mapped to positive outcomes.”

Good management has a significant influence on crew wellbeing, and another key area of investment is a new leadership training programme recently launched by Marlins for senior officers. Based on a blend of shore training, at sea training and elearning, supported by new simulators in five global training hubs, the leadership course is about behaviour and teamwork, going far beyond crew resource management training.

There are other factors at play when it comes to ensuring a positive working environment. Safety is essential to wellbeing and accident prevention is front of mind when designing seafarer training, as Catherine explains: “The industry talks about the so-called ‘human element’ and states that this, along with communication, are the root causes of 90% of accidents at sea. Rather than view people as an ‘element’, we believe human behaviour and personal skills affect 100% of safety. As a result, all our training solutions are designed with seafarers learning in mind, to ensure the safe operation of our clients’ vessels.”

“We take a holistic view of seafarer training and work with companies on their specific training needs. Our goal is to ensure that seafarers can carry out their jobs safely and effectively, whilst keeping physically, mentally and emotionally healthy,” says Catherine. “We do not simply offer training products – we strive to offer solutions that improve business performance.”

For more information about Marlins’ maritime training solutions, email Catherine Logie at clogie@marlins.co.uk