3 Common Habits Dangerous to Seafarers


While reading the International Medical Guide for Ships, a publication of World Health Organization which provides medical aid and promotes seafarer’s health and wellness, I found out that seafarers are more likely to be engaged on the following unhealthy lifestyle than people ashore.

1.) Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

Attention smoking-hot people! According to studies,

– At 25 years of age, a healthy smoker is likely to have a remaining life expectancy 25% less than that of a non-smoker.

– stopping smoking before 50 years of age reduces by half the risk of dying over the next 15 years compared with continuing to smoke.

– one year without smoking halves the excess risk a smoker runs of dying from coronary heart disease, the commonest cause of death from smokers and;

– the risk of lung cancer starts to decline as soon as the smoker stops. After 10 years the risk is one third to one half that of a smoker who continues to smoke.

And who says, it’s just you who are in danger by the way?

– Second-hand cigarette smoke (passive smoking) has been proven to cause lung cancer and increases one’s risk to have a coronary heart disease.

The best cure? Live a smoke-free life.

Many smokers had tried hard to quit smoking but failed to do so for various reasons. Smoking is an addictive habit which is easy to learn and hard to unlearn. Regular smokers are nicotine addicts and usually, they get their fingers burnt for giving-up smoking causes them:

– a craving for more nicotine

– irritability

-poor concentration

– & hunger.

It may be a long and challenging drive but still, to quit smoking is one of the best alternatives of a seafarer who wants to live a healthier life. On the other hand, the following simple and doable ways can help him/her to withdraw.

  1. Replace nicotine. Patches or chewing gum relieves the withdrawal symptoms and double’s a smoker’s chance of successfully quitting.
  2. Never say never. The average smoker stops smoking and starts again four times before finally quitting. Thus, attempts to give up the habit should not be abandoned because of one failure.
  3. Relax at home and beat the habit. About three-quarters of smokers who had chosen to stop smoking would probably smoke again due to stress or in some cases attending a social occasion, especially those that involve alcohol.
  4. Follow the policy. Banning smoking in work areas and recreation rooms can help a smoker who is trying to quit and relapse.

On the other hand, an alcohol-dependent seafarer usually suffers from depression, a bad reputation and may loss his/her career at sea. I had a low encounter with one seafarer once who was blacklisted due to alcoholism. He was forced to go home untimely after punching a crewmate’s face. “He joked me that I’m uglier whenever I get drunk one night. The next morning, he looked uglier than me.  Many said I boxed him like Pacqauio hitting forcefully a punching bag. How I wish I consumed holy water instead of spirits then.” He regretted.

2.) An unhealthy diet and lack of exercise

– Together these factors can lead to excessive body weight, which is still a more common problem among seafarers than among onshore workers. A seafarer’s medical certificate is his/her ticket to earn a living at sea. Basically, good health amasses good wealth so it’s always time for a seafarer to be conscious of his/her waistline.

On how to keep a good picture of health, I wrote another article entitled Eat to be fit not eat to be fat.

3.) Unsafe sex

– Sounds familiar? I think we should not be surprised to know that everyone likes the idea and taste of heaven. Temptations to engage on unprotected sex, much more during port stays, are just around the corner of a seafarer. If you happen to be knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door, read my article entitled Are you ready for heaven? It might save you from the savages of hell in the future.

I’m sure you have something to say about living a healthier lifestyle at sea or ashore. Share us your thoughts by writing a comment below.


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