A lot of people associate seafaring with high pay, without giving much thought to the hard work and hardship that goes with every penny a seafarer makes. There is some truth to this belief, however. Seaborne trade is a global industry, after all, with money flowing by the billions. The United Kingdom, for instance, rely heavily on seafarers and the goods they bring in and out of the country, as 95% of imports and 75% of exports are handled by the shipping industry.
Strangely, there is a lack of awareness in the number of jobs that this industry creates, or the many opportunities it can offer to young people. True, being a seafarer is no walk in the park, but it is a kind of employment that allows a worker to move from one job to the next with ease. Anyone can choose to work in a cruise liner at one time, and then a cargo ship the next. The skills set required may differ, but there is always a common ground.
In the UK, 240,000 jobs are supported by this industry, with the number believed to double in the next 20 years. On a global scale, over 1 million seafarers are employed by the shipping industry, with more than 70,000 of them coming from the UK. If you look closely, the figures just do not seem to add up, which can be accounted for the lack of awareness of the many advantages in seafaring. This further supports the report regarding a shortage of seafarers around the world, not just in the UK.
Wondering where job opportunities lie? Take a look at the many areas that seafaring and the ship industry touch to get a clear picture.
- Power stations from all over the world rely greatly on ships to deliver fuel
- Half a billion tonnes of goods are sent to UK sea ports every year, which is equivalent to one load in a small lorry for every person
- Plenty of foodstuffs, including potatoes, oranges, chicken, chocolate, cheese, and bananas are imported in the UK
- Employment in the Merchant Navy includes working in container and cargo vessels, cruise ships, fuel tankers, ferries and workboats
- There is available work in the UK fishing fleets
- More work is waiting in the Royal Navy
- The largest cargo ship in the world can accommodate 18,000 containers that are each 20 feet long
- Most merchant seafarers are working at sea for 9 months every year
Based on the number of goods to be shipped and the size of the ships involved, there is definitely a need for plenty of seafarers, and with the length of time spent at sea, income would be quite substantial. So, yes, seafarers do earn a lot than land-based employees. If this is not the case, Seafarers UK is unlikely to give over £2 million grants to maritime charities.
Moreover, being a seafarer comes with plenty of perks – to travel the world, experience new things, get a sense of adventure, and have access to a significant income, what with the trade involved. So why not work as a seafarer? You can get the best training from 16 of the world’s top training colleges and academies in Britain. Seafarers can apply for their tax refund here