One interesting aspect of serving as a seafarer in the Merchant Navy is that two days are never the same, and your lifestyle will vary depending upon the type of vessel you are working on.
If you enjoy the idea of world-wide travel you will need to consider working on vessels that trade across the oceans of the world. These vessels will call at some of the ports furthest from home providing the opportunity to experience interesting cultures in far-away countries. The length of voyages are likely to be longer on this type of vessel, although your periods of leave after each voyage will also be proportionately longer.
The crew you will be serving with are likely to include seafarers from varied nationalities which will enhance your experiences on board, and you will get to enjoy a range of cuisines from around the world too.
If you would prefer to work closer to home, you may want to consider companies operating vessels around the UK and the near-continent. Whilst you may not get to travel the world or experience overseas cultures - you will never be far from home. With shorter tours of duty your leave will be shorter than those on ocean-trading vessels, although these are likely to be more frequent.
Another option to consider is where vessels typically follow a fixed schedule, often referred to as a ‘liner service’, or carry a single cargo from one port to another port, often referred to as ‘tramping’.
The sponsorship provided by SSTG leads to an unrestricted qualification, so regardless of which type of vessel you are training on you will be qualified to serve on any type of vessel once you are qualified.
The latest ships are constructed to provide their crews with single accommodation and en-suite facilities. The food will be of good quality and the recreational facility of a high standard. The facilities found on older vessels will vary depending on the age of the vessel, and some may not have internet access, although this is the exception rather than the rule.
Pay, leave rates and welfare benefits will vary between companies, and this will be the case whilst training as well as once qualified. However, when comparing terms offered by different companies it is always important to consider all of the details of the offer. Some might offer better study leave packages in the future with others offering higher salaries.
No matter what type of lifestyle you are looking for from a career at sea, as a seafarer the chances are there will be one that matches what you are looking for.
Updated: February 2018