When you are working as a seaman aboard an ocean-going vessel, a lot can go wrong. Even seemingly minor injuries can worsen when you are miles away from hospitals and surgeons. That doesn’t even address the damage that can come from rough seas that can toss even huge ships around like they were plastic boats in a child’s bathtub.
Still, this is the life and career you have chosen. You need to do all that you can to make sure that your experiences working on the water are as safe as possible. Below are some tips to keep in mind.
Deal with mechanical and structural problems immediately
It is far easier to repair or replace balky engine parts or structural components when your ship is docked at port than it is when you are pitching and rolling all over the ocean. Make sure to inspect all moving parts when you are docked to reduce the likelihood of an emergency fix many nautical miles from the closest port.
Tie down equipment on deck
Stow what can be stowed whenever rough seas arise and make sure that everything else is tied down securely. Otherwise, these items can become dangerous projectiles that can cause devastating injuries to you and your crewmates on the high seas.
The smaller the boat, the more dangers you face
You may figure that because you are not working on a large ocean freighter, you have fewer problems to worry about. If anything, you face even more dangers aboard a small boat in the Gulf of Mexico during rough seas than you would on a heavy freighter in the pitching South China Sea.
The following dangerous sea conditions could affect you in a smaller watercraft:
- Seas that are broad across the bow and at angles between bow and amidships
- Head seas with wave breaking right on the bow
- Quartering seas at angles between astern and amidships
- Beam seas at right angle to your keel
- Choppy seas, with swift currents, waves and winds battering your vessel
- Following seas coming over the transom
All can be dangerous, even deadly. Experienced mariners have to recognize each type and tailor their nautical responses according to the conditions.
Regardless of your role aboard ship, if you are injured at sea, you have a right to pursue compensation for your damages.