Every seafarer needs to start a blog. Especially the deck and engine ratings. Seafarers have many problems. And we cannot rely on our income alone to solve these. We have to look somewhere else to help us fix our problems
I am a seafarer myself. I am not saying this because I want to defame seafaring. Let me be clear with this. I even encourage other people to try seafaring as well
There are many good points on becoming a seafarer as well. But in my years of service on board. I observed there are certain pitfalls to working onboard ships.
We seafarers can do something about our situation. And the main reason why I see that seafarer needs to start a blog
It’s good to be a seafarer
First of let me start with the advantages of seafaring. As a seafarer myself I owe much of what I have today to this job. I am who I am today thanks to seafaring.
There are a lot of good points to becoming a seafarer.
Thousands of people have changed their lives by becoming seafarers. Seafaring is a financially rewarding career. Anybody who works in the cargo shipping industry can attest to that
Some of the many benefits of seafaring are:
You get to see the world for free
This is one of the main reasons that attracted me to seafaring in the first place. The chance to see the world and do it for free is an opportunity only a few people can have.
I consider myself lucky to have the chance to travel every year to different parts of the world.
Seafaring is a well-paying job
Nobody is going to pay a seafarer’s as much as he gets paid onboard. Especially those who work on cruise ships
An o/s will not make as much as he gets paid on board a cargo ship. If he tries to work somewhere else using the skill set that he has.
A waiter will never make the same money he makes working on a cruise ship. If he is trying to work in a restaurant.
A deck officer will not get paid the same salary if he applies his qualification on land.
Our fleet meets our basic needs
Our food is provided by our fleet. We don’t pay rent. Our table water is shouldered by the company as well. Where else can you find a job like that?
We don’t get taxed
This is one of the great things working onboard. Taxes can eat as much as 25 percent of the total earning of a guy.
People I know who work in our training center feels the pinch of taxes do to their monthly salary
Thankfully we who work onboard don’t and I pray it will stay that way.
We get to meet different people and cultures
Being well-traveled every year. Working with different kinds of nationality. Both within the ship and ashore. You get to mingle with different people. And I learn all sorts of the culture around the world.
These are just some of the many good points of becoming a seafarer. There are actually more but I have decided to mention only what I think are the best in this post
Natural pitfalls of being a seafarer
That being said there are also inherent disadvantages of being a seafarer as well.
And I believe we seafarers can do something about these problems.
1. Inconsistent income.
The number one problem every seafarer face both ratings and officers alike.
And the main reason why I believe a seafarer needs to start a blog.
I personally have my own reasons why I got into blogging. And this story is a different post in on itself.
A job of a seafarer is always contract-based. Meaning there is only a certain period where the money comes in and when it will stop. The problem is expenses keep piling whether we like it or not.
There are many emotional effects of having an unstable income as well.
We need to look for ways to augment what we make onboard. And blogging is a viable option.
2. Your income is predetermined
The second reason why I say seafarer needs to start a blog.
In my years spent working on board, I realize one thing.
The money you will earn is directly proportional to the time spent on board.
There is no other way around it.
Your earning is predetermined even before you set foot on the maid deck of the ship.
There is a set limit to what you can earn.
You can only bring home what you get onboard together with your leave pay. Then you have to factor in how much you spend onboard and ashore. Minus that and that’s it.
That’s all there is to it!
There’s no other way to increase your income.
You can work longer hours.
But I doubt it that the chief officer will count it as overtime
After all the company your working already set a set amount of overtime for ratings.
Your earning potential has a set value
In short, your earning capacity is limited, very limited.
You can work longer but consider that as overtime that will never be paid…ever.
And you are left with two choices.
First is to just accept it as it is. And be contented with what you’re making. Second is to actually do something about this. Look for an alternative source of income that will augment what you’re making.
I hope for your sake you choose the second option.
3. Deck/engine rating’s job is a young man’s game
Seafaring is a very physically demanding job. You spend hours basked under the scorching sun. Ratings use heavy machinery on a daily basis. Engine ratings are exposed to fumes and gases that take a toll on their body.
Seafarers are exposed to harsh weather environments. Depending on where your ports of calls are it’s either scorching hot or freezing cold weather.
When you’re young you usually don’t pay attention to these working conditions.
You just slug it out thinking this is all part of the job.
There will be a change in your perception
But this all changes when you’re in your 40’s and 50’s.
Do you really have to wait until you’re in that age range?
Before you ask yourself these questions
- Is there a better way to make a living?
- Maybe there is a way for me to make money not doing this?
- Are there ways to make money other than going onboard?
We seafarers need to be smart with our decisions. And start looking for means of making a living somewhere else.
And to be less dependent on our job onboard.
Instead of relying heavily upon your job onboard why not start a blog on the side as well?
4. We grow older, not younger
Let’s face it what we can do 10 years ago. We cannot do it the same way as today. You will never be as strong as you are right now.
Ten years from now you cannot do the same work the same way you do it right now.
Your future you cannot endure the same long working hour as you use to do right now
Take me for example
Back in 2005 when I was a rookie mess boy. I could work long hours as if it’s nothing. I can be up 4 am work till 11 pm and be up 4 am tomorrow morning.
Especially during the holiday season, my gosh!. While everyone is partying I am down in the galley scrubbing pots and pans from morning till 10 pm.
Now 2019, I still work long hours but I badly need at least an hour of rest in the afternoon.
The mind is strong but it’s just not the same
The mind is strong unfortunately the body is not quite it used to be.
I am starting to feel cramps on my joint here and there.
I feel pain when I work long hours that wasn’t there before.
My sight is not clear anymore. Little things that tell me I am not young anymore.
And this made me consider looking for other means to make money.
And so should you!
4. We miss out so much in life
Let’s face it. Life is a zero-sum game.
You don’t get anything without giving up something in return. And in our case as a seafarer, we give up our time with our families’.And spend it onboard. In exchange, we get money to support them.
I remember a story once told me by my bosun.
This was back in 2015
Whenever he goes back to the ship. On the day he will leave his house. There is a request he asks his wife.
This is to never bring the kids. He says it breaks his heart when he sees his kids teary-eyed every time he signs on a ship. It makes the parting more painful.
Back then I could not relate to him. But now looking back. I totally get him now. We give up the time that should have been spent with our family.
Missing out on life’s precious moments
- We miss the growth of our kids.
- The time our wives are pregnant when we should be on their side
- Birthdays of our kids when they are growing up
- The death of a loved ones
- Graduation days of our kids
My point is time is passing us by. And we don’t even notice it
The time that we can never get back.
But we could do something about
5. We all need a fallback plan.
Are you going to drive a car without insurance?
Of course not!
Can we foresee the future of the shipping industry?
Nu-uh, we can’t nobody can.
Can we be certain that the job we have will remain stable for the years to come?
Unfortunately, we cannot
Can you be sure your line up will not be delayed?
Sad to say, it, not an exact thing but only an approximate
My point is…you need a plan
Everybody needs some sort of backup plan. Something you can use as a fallback. Just in case something happens to your job in the shipping industry.
Nobody knows what’s in store for the future. And you leave it into chance if you’re going to rely heavily on making money working solely onboard a vessel.
And this is another reason why I believe each seafarer needs to start a blog
6. Never put all your eggs are all in one basket
Have you heard of the term diversification?
It is an investment term. It refers to spreading your investment across different sorts of investment instrument.
The idea is that in the event of a downturn in the market place. Your investment portfolio will not sustain large losses. Since you spread it across various instruments.
The same goes to your income.
You want to be diversified in terms of income sources.
The idea is to have many sources of income in comparison to. Relying heavily on only one source of income leaves your future into chances. And this is not a good situation to be in.
You have to try something that you have not done before. Being dependent on your pay onboard alone puts you at risk.
7. You will never be rich and young enough to enjoy it.
That is if you will depend only on your pay onboard
Now, this may not be the case with deck and engine officers.
They make more than twice than any deck or engine ratings. They have enough to spend on their vacation. And a lot more left to put into investments.
So there is a big chance they can achieve financial freedom in a span of a decade or more.
It’s a lot harder if you’re a rating
But to the people, who are working as deck and engine ratings. This is generally true.
What we save onboard is just enough to tide us over the months of being unemployed. And what is left is little to none to put into investments.
It will take us longer and require more effort on us rating if we want to be financially stable.
8. Financial growth is slow
I am not saying there is no financial growth with being a deck/engine rating.
All I am saying is It is rather slow.
Let’s face guys. What we make as ratings is just enough to tide us over the next contract. And if there is some left. This amount is rather small. Not much that can have a major effect on our future
We seafarers need to build assets that will support us in our old age. But asset-building takes time and money.
We need to invest to build assets. And investing requires money and time. A lot of it! And considering how much we ratings make each month. And how much is left with our savings is too little to build any assets.
We can but the progress is slow really slow. We ratings badly need something to augment our income.
If we want to change our financial conditions. We ratings need to look for other sources of income we can tap into. We can do something, but not the usual way that people expect like starting a physical business.
Our only real options are online
9. Financial freedom becomes a possibility.
I have a chief engineer that I worked with once said.
“Nobody get’s rich working for someone else.”
The problem is we don’t have the time and money to spare to start a regular brick and mortar business.
But thanks to changes in technology and the boom of the internet. Today that all changes. We seafarers have a fighting chance to reach that elusive financial freedom.
That before only the selected few can achieve.
The key is to create many sources of income.
And that will never happen if we rely only upon our pay onboard and leave pay alone.
10. We need many sources of income.
It wouldn’t hurt if we explore other possibilities of creating other sources of income.
It is rather a smart thing to do. After all, nobody knows what’s the future has in store for us.
Might as well be ready. In the event that some unexpected thing will jeopardize our line up.
At least we have something to tide us over until we get onboard.
11. Blogging opens the door to other forms of making money.
The main reason I am touting blogging as the best way to create an alternative source of income. Is because, once you start a blog. And got used to the system. You can tap other means of making money.
- When you start a blog and honed your skills in writing. You can build a niche website and become an Amazon affiliate partner
- Or like me, you can start a blog and become an online marketer. Build a following.
And promote other peoples product and earn money with commissions from the sale.
- And when your good enough writing content for your blog. You can offer your services to Fiverr and make money by offering your services to other people.
- Or repurpose your content into video format and start a vlog. You then make money with page views to your YouTube channel. And make money with affiliate products as well.
12. Because your expenses increase over time but your income doesn’t
Let’s stop for a minute and consider.
Do you honestly think what your expenses now will never increase with the passing of years?
Probably not, you may be single now. But later on, you will get married. You will have dependents. You will have kids to raise. Then later you will have to send them to school.
Little by little your expenses will pile up. But only if you get promoted to a higher rank or become an officer. What your making in a month onboard will never change.
Your other option is to look somewhere else. Other than to turn to your income for support and daily expenses.
13. The shipping industry is not what it used to be.
I don’t know about the situation in other manning agencies. But based on my experience the shipping industry is not what it used to be
Back then in 2005.When I first started out my career. The shipping industry was booming. There is a lot of employment opportunity. Back then my agency is managing at least 1000 ships. I think it’ more.
But now the trend is downward.
Shipowners are selling their ships. My fleet alone used to have more than a dozen ships
Now we are down to only 4. And the original owners don’t even own the ships anymore they just manage the ships for the new owners.
With owners selling their ships left and right. And many manning agencies are looking for ways to save on cost.
Makes you feel a bit worried about what the future waits for us seafarers huh?
You begin to ask yourself
Am I going to wait until my company cannot provide a steady vessel assignment for me?
Before I do anything to secure my financial future?
Of course not!
It will be foolish of me. If I keep telling myself it’s my company’s job to provide me with consistent line ups.
We seafarers are in charge of our financial security, not our agencies.
And it is up to us seafarers to find ways to provide stability for ourselves.
16. We seafarers need to think about our financial future ASAP
Sad to say we seafarers don’t have severance pay. We don’t have pension fund when we retire. Well not that i know of.
But the point is we have nothing to look forward to when we retire. Not like people who work land-based.
We seafarers need to build our own nest egg of assets.
The thing is to build assets we need to invest.
But we ratings cannot afford to spare 200-300 us dollars each month to invest for 20-30 years.
So where in the world are we going to get this money to invest?
Well, you can’t invest if you will depend only on your pay onboard.
That’s the reason why I encourage seafarers to start building an online business. To expand our means. And when we are making money online. Then we will have the money to spare for investing.
You need to look for something
If you’re going to look for an alternative form of income. There is some quality you need to be looking for an alternative source.
- It has to be something that will not hinder your work
Since seafaring is still your main bread and butter. It has to be something you can work only in your free time.
In my years of experience with blogging. My blog has never affected my quality of work. It all boils down to your time management and prioritization
- Location non-dependent
Seafarers are away from home at least 4 months to a year. Most of the time spent is out on the open seas.
It has to be something we can work on where ever we may be.
This part is one of the many things I like with blogging. While I may be out on the open sea without an internet signal. I can work on writing my content and editing it every night.
- Ease of entry
Another good thing about blogging is the ease of how to set up your own blog. I do recommend you get training first. There is free training offered by my domain hosting. But it unavailable for free to certain countries
The opportunity is here take it!
We seafarers have more options now to create an alternative source of income. More than the previous generation of seafarer’s had in their lifetime.
Blogging is one of those options let’s make full use of this opportunity.
I will mention a quote from Jim Rohn
“In order for something to change you have to change”
The message of the quote implies that in order for change to happen. We have to do something that we have not tried before. In order for something to change we are required to go beyond the range of our comfort zone.
I dare you!
I have a challenge for my fellow seafarers
Are you going to depend on all your hopes and dreams into a single source of income?
Are you going to just hope for the best and expect nothing is going to go bad in the future?
Do you honestly think that the good times are here to stay forever?
When are you going to take steps to take control of your future?
Will you always be dependent on your pay onboard and leave pay?
Are going to keep being afraid of what your company and your crewing managers are going to say about you?
Don’t you want to spend more time with your family?
Don’t you wish your kids grow up knowing you face to face than talking to a man in the video screen?
Take action and take action now!
Take action, my friend. And take action right now!
Because nobody else will take action for you.
The best time is a year ago the second best is today!
Although I told you to take action you don’t have to take drastic actions.
Start with baby steps. The first step you can do is read my content to get an idea of what blogging is. The next step is to sign up to my email list to get updates to my latest content about blogging
The third step is to get trained with blogging. Now don’t worry this training is free of charge.
Disclaimer: Although this is an affiliate link. I do stand by with the quality of service of this training. And anyone who signs up to the monthly paid premium membership will not be charged with additional expense.
As I end my article. I hope that my post has inspired you to take action.
The first step is always the hardest, but once you got over this hump. It’s all a matter of discipline, hard work, and continuous improvement.
Do all this and it’s only a matter of time and before you know it. You have made a profitable blog making you money and augmenting your income.
Your future is all on you
Who knows this could even lead to making a living free of dependency from the shipping industry. That we all seafarers only dream about.
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