When you think about the risks of working on a ship, odds are that you think about the major issues: Getting swept overboard, getting injured with ropes or heavy machinery, getting trapped on a sinking vessel, and things of this nature.
You do need to understand the risks of catastrophic injuries in extreme situations, but it's also important to know that simply working on a boat can have a negative impact on your health. Some of the major risk factors include:
- Excessive working stress
- Lack of fresh food
- Erratic sleeping schedules
- Long work hours
- Hard physical labor
- An unfriendly natural environment
- Potential isolation
- Inadequate medical facilities
- Storms that bring wind, rain, sleet, hail and lightning
- Lack of proper rest hours
- Potential sickness onboard
In fact, some have gone so far as to call working at sea "not even close to healthy" and they note that this is one of the major reasons that people in these occupations end up quitting their jobs. Even when they like some aspects of the work and they make enough money, it's just a hard job to do for years on end.
What this all means is that you don't need that big one-time event to cause serious injuries. All of these smaller factors take a toll. The stress on your body increases the longer you work at sea. You can suffer from significant injuries and accumulated trauma over time.
If you do get hurt on the job, no matter how it happens, you need to know what rights you have to compensation for lost wages, medical bills and the like.