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Around the world, the general public is on lockdown and people are working out new routines for how to keep fit and healthy within our homes. Maybe we could all learn from seafarers who spend months on board ships and have to maintain a healthy lifestyle at sea, often in very demanding conditions.

As today is World Health Day, it’s a fitting time to reflect on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle: whether you are a seafarer working on board or a non-seafarer – there has never been a more important time to keep healthy!

It is well recognised that without a healthy routine in place, it is difficult to maintain physical and mental wellbeing but the good news is that by making a few adjustments to your routines and taking charge of your own wellbeing you can start to feel the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

Whether working at sea or adjusting to working at home, it is important, where possible, to try and stick to a routine, taking care of these essentials:

Eat and drink healthily

Exercise

Socialise

Rest

  1. Eat & drink healthily.

A healthy, balanced diet promotes a strong immune system and can help prevent illnesses. Be aware of your calorie intake which should take into account your daily activity, age, gender and height. Also be aware of your salt intake as too much salt can raise your blood pressure and lead to serious medical conditions. The recommended maximum intake is 6g a day including salt that occurs naturally in products.

Ensure you keep hydrated: the recommended amount is 6-8 glasses of water a day, adjusting this to suit your personal needs depending on your level of exertion, the climate or the temperature you work in. On the subject of drink, be careful of your alcohol consumption. We drink to relax, to enhance our mood or even sometimes to forget. However, these benefits are short lived, and alcohol can have a negative impact on our wellbeing. Whether you are working on board or working from home, the temptation may be to drink more – but maintaining drink-free days will help you stay healthy.

More information is available on the WHO guidelines ‘recommendations for healthy eating’ click here to read more, and ‘Drinking guidelines: General Population’  by IARD, which you can access here.

  1. Exercise regularly.

Regular exercise not only keeps you physically fit, but can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. When exercising, your body releases endorphins, hormones that are responsible for reducing stress and improving your mood, this means you will not only improve your physical health, but also your mental wellbeing as well.

There are many exercise programmes to choose from that are designed to help you keep fit on board that you can also continue at home. Work out a routine that suits you and your daily routine: the important thing is to create a habit of training and be consistent with it.

  1. Socialise.

It is not uncommon for seafarers to isolate themselves from others on board and spend their free time in their cabin. Whilst sometimes it is nice to have a bit of peace and quiet, it is just as important that you take time to talk to friends, family and colleagues. Making friends and having trusted people around to talk and confide in helps to maintain a positive mind set which leads to better mental health.

Seafarers and people at home are in the same boat: we also need to make a conscious effort to maintain social contact and friendships safely, while adhering to social distancing measures.

  1. Remember to rest.

Our final tip is the importance of good quality rest.  Having a 5 minute break from a task or taking a few minutes out to get some fresh air can often be enough to help de-stress you.  Sleep also plays a vital role in good health and wellbeing. Whilst not always easy, getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Here are some tips that may help improve your sleep:

  • Don’t drink caffeine late in the day
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal before going to bed
  • Try and keep your cabin or bedroom at an optimum temperature
  • Keep your cabin or bedroom as dark as possible
  • Try and get into a wind-down routine before sleep: a shower, read a book, listen to soothing music.
  • Avoid using smartphones, tablets or other electronic devices before going to bed

Here at Marlins, we are aware of how challenging work on board can sometimes be and how taking care of your physical and mental health requires continuous effort. To support the seafaring community, whether at sea or on shore, we have developed a range of Crew Wellbeing titles.

These titles are designed to provide you with information and techniques that can help you maintain a healthy and physical lifestyle.

For more information you can visit the Marlins shop at by clicking in this link.

or contact us at info@marlins.co.uk

Stay healthy everybody.

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