Sleeplessness At Sea

On average, a human being needs at least 7-9 hours of sleep. The quality of your sleep directly affects your overall physical and mental health. It also keeps your body refreshed and your mind alert. Unfortunately, seafarers don’t get to enjoy much rest due to the working conditions and labor needed to complete the job. This is not recommended for it can lead to consequences on both the health of the seafarer as well as the quality of work.

If you’re unconvinced, here are some more in-depth reasons why it’s important that you as a seafarer should get enough sleep.

Sleeplessness can cause accidents

There have been numerous instances where lack of sleep led to accidents that caused damage to the ship and/or deaths. These situations have also spawned from rushed jobs due to sleep deprivation, therefore, a lack of a critical eye when working. Furthermore, data from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) stated that one out of four seafarers fall asleep while on watch. Despite this, an increase on the number of work hours was still implemented. As sleep can help in making you more alert and well-rested, having little to no sleep can lessen your focus and abilities.

Lack of sleep can lead to health complications

Aside from the effects on your job, lack of sleep can lead to a host of health problems both physically and mentally. For example, it can lead to heart problems, weight gain, and high blood pressure. It can also lead to mood swings and anxiety. These are issues that would not be ideal in a high pressure setting such as a maritime career. Furthermore, getting these complications might prevent you from returning to this line of work, as the personnel might deem you unhealthy and unfit for the job.

Enough sleep is part of the regulations

According to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006, maximum hours of work and minimum hours of rest are:

  1. no more than 14 hours in any 24 hour period and no more than 72 hours in any 7 day period; or
  2. at least 10 hours in any 24 hour period; and at least 77 hours in any 7 day period.

Based on these, one can see that maritime career regulations really do value the importance of getting enough rest. Unless there are any significant exceptions, a seafarer cannot be asked to exceed mandated rest/work hours, nor can he be enticed to do so against payment of overtime.

With all these, the importance of sleep is established. But of course, it does depend on the intensity of the work of each seafarer. You cannot apply the required number of hours to rest on each officer as individual schedules and duties vary. Still, there is a basic need for each officer to get sleep so they can perform their tasks efficiently. Aside from your maritime training in the Philippines, you need to learn how to manage your work and sleep hours, as a lack of the latter can have dire consequences.

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