What To Bring Before Boarding Your First Ship

Being excited to board your very first ship as a seafarer is definitely a normal experience. All your maritime training in the Philippines has been leading to this. It is the beginning of your career and your chance to show what your rigorous and extensive training in the Philippines has taught you. But before you set foot on the deck and begin your maritime journey, you need to bring the essentials with you. Some of these items are required, while others lean more towards the wants rather than the needs. Still, all of these items are guaranteed to be of use during your time at sea.


Carrying the valid documentation is essential in any career, especially for your maritime profession. These are documents you would need to become eligible for having a job within the ship, and you may need to present this as proof. Aside from this, certain documents, such as passports and visas, are necessary when entering ports in other countries. Loss of these important documents may render you unable to be assigned to certain locations, which limits your career prospects. When bringing your documentation, always make sure to have more than 2 sets of photocopies just in case.

Appropriate clothes

Having a career at sea means having to brave inclement weather conditions. With this, it’s always wise to carry protective gear from the cold so you are prepared in case of these weather mishaps. Aside from that, always have your complete uniforms ready for your everyday duties. For your casual wear, don’t forget to pack up some water- and wind-friendly clothing. These clothes are perfect for both casual trips and maritime duties.

Medication and toiletries

Make sure you bring your medication with you if you are in need of any. Being away at sea, you may not be able to get to a pharmacy fast enough to get the medicine that you need. Some of the countries you will be assigned to may not have your prescriptions either. It will also be beneficial for you as the conditions at sea may not agree with your body chemistry. You will get sick and may need medicine for colds, coughs, fevers, and the like.

You should also bring your personal toiletries as the items on deck may be scarce. If you also prefer certain types of shampoos or soaps, for example, it’s better to bring them in rather than take the chance of them being available on board or abroad.

Notebook and pen

Even as you apply the knowledge you acquired during your training in the Philippines, being in this line of work is still a continuous learning process. It’s handy if you have a notebook and pen in the things you pack so you can jot down notes when your captain is relaying lessons about work. On a more personal note, your notebook can also act as a journal or diary if the stress of work is getting to you.

International credit/debit card

The salary you get for your job is managed by the ship’s captain. In addition, only part of the salary is given in cash while the rest are deposited directly to the bank account. Because of this, bringing an international credit or debit card is a wise financial decision you can make as a seafarer. Having these items with you will be good for any emergencies involving money. Of course, you must learn how to manage the cards wisely otherwise your debts will pile up due to usage.

Gadgets, books, and other leisure items

It’s no surprise that seafarers feel homesickness very often the more they stay at sea. Loneliness can be detrimental to a seafarer’s mental health, so it’s important you have enough activities to pass the time. Bring your gadgets and go watch your favorite movies on your laptop with your fellow seamen. Or if you’re more of a bookworm, stack up on some of your favorite classics. Your gadgets can also be used to contact your loved ones during any down times at work.

There are a lot more things you should bring before you set foot on the deck of your first ship. These are the essentials, and as long as you don’t forget to bring these items, you’ll be fine. Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing as the challenges of work will definitely make your time at sea more difficult. Despite this, bringing the items above, combined with your maritime training in the Philippines, is sure to alleviate your stressful workload even just a little bit.

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