You can remember when you first went out to sea can’t you? The excitement to be starting that job. To be going out there, beyond the horizon. That initial fascination and enthusiasm inside you isn’t gone, but it’s somewhat diminished by harsh reality. And the exhilaration of a voyage has slowly collapsed into the mundane routine of constant tiredness and fatigue. Nobody ever said working at sea wasn’t tough, but could it be easier? In this article I’ll be letting you know how seafarers can overcome fatigue. But right now I’ll leave you with one point that hammers home the importance of fighting fatigue. You might not know it but 25% of vessels experience 51% of all accidents at sea. This includes damage to boats and ships, sinkings, and bodily harm to those aboard. The most common cause of accidents at sea is fatigue. This article will help you get back to your family safely.

Symptoms of Seafarers Fatigue

Ok, so you might not even know you have fatigue. Here’s a few symptoms:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Moodiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Slow Responses
  • Concentration Lapses

Any of these ring a bell? Do you see your colleagues displaying any of these symptoms. Check out this advice on how seafarers can overcome fatigue below. If you follow this advice I can guarantee you’ll be less tired onboard and less tired when you return.

Pace Yourself

Professional Yachtsmen do this all the time. It’s a case of reducing your pace to one you can sustain throughout the working day without over-exertion. You’ll still be able to do the same amount of work, you’ll just maintain a more even pace and rid yourself of those slow hours when you’re tired and sleepy all the time.

Be a Bookworm

Books used to be on boats a lot. Now seafarers play games on tablets and phones. They talk on facebook or surf the internet. Studies have shown that use of mobile devices for more than one hour at a time can triple your fatigue levels. These kinds of activities heighten the senses, raise the heartbeat, increase the speed of brain waves and produce a rise in blood pressure too. None of these indicators could be regarded as positive by anyone giving you tips on how seafarers can overcome fatigue. So when you’re on a break, read a book instead. Books have been shown to relax the heart rate and slow down brain waves making for a more balanced persona.

Get your Sleep Pattern right

You might be in a weather system which bounces the vessel around. You might also be 16 hours on 8 hours of. You could be 6 months at sea on a cruise ship with 4 weeks rest at home. Shifts could change even on shorter journeys or expeditions. There’s a lot of possibilities in the industry but whoever you are and whatever you do, one thing is always true. The quicker you can fall asleep, and the deeper the sleep, the more rested you’ll feel. So cut out Coffee and Alcohol before bed and do some stretches before you get into bed. This is good sleep behaviour. Avoid cigarettes before bed and any other stimulant because these raise the heart rate. If you like a hot drink, Green Tea slows the heartbeat down and makes for a more relaxed sleeper.

That Extra Half Hour Really Makes a Difference

Some of you will be cutting in on your sleep time with socialising. Now, I’m not saying be anti-social. I’m just concerned that you’re not taking your maximum allowable sleep time. Even if you’re cutting in on it by half and hour, you could be causing your fatigue. Especially if that half an hour was deep 3REM sleep. Dream time otherwise known as 3REM is the only time when your body is actually getting rest and just half an hour of this can give you 6 hours of hard work without constant tiredness. So to understand how seafarers can overcome fatigue then start with sleeping for the maximum allowable time.

Keep a Good Diet

Doctor’s don’t just say this to pass the time away. It really helps and it’ll help anyone who wants to know how seafarers can overcome fatigue. Every limb you move or lift does that in response to an internal activity. That internal activity is energy production. Every bit of energy you produce uses some of the Proteins, Nutrients, Vitamins, Carbs and Sugar you have in storage. You got all these vital resources into your body by eating foods. So if you want to lift your right arm 400 times a day you’re gonna have to eat enough nutrient-rich food to supply that. Remember, you have the amount of energy you gave yourself through diet. So eat your greens. Also, check this list of the best foods to overcome fatigue.

TV

Watch it less, because TV is another one of those activities that might seem to relax you but actually doesn’t. TV focuses the mind and releases chemicals into the brain that you use to express emotion. In other words it demands a reaction both internally and externally. TV also produces stress and increases brain waves. Talking with friends is a much better activity to do while you’re off-shift and before sleeping. Studies have suggested that socializing relaxes the mind. So as long as it doesn’t cut into your sleep time then a nice conversation and maybe a card game would be highly recommended.

Final Thoughts

Some of these are lifestyle changes which you might find hard to implement but they’ll pay off. Take your time and implement them one by one so that you don’t even notice that you’re really wiping out fatigue from your working life. Some of them might seem small – like watching TV. But, if you want to know how seafarers can overcome fatigue then you’ll give them all the most serious of thought. Especially sleeping. Not maintaining a good sleep time and not taking the maximum amount of sleep are the two leading causes the accidents at sea. Look, think of it as a voyage into a new world. When you’re not on your phone or tablet. And, you not watching TV all that much; what else might you discover? You might discover a whole new hobby you never realised you’d be good at. So explore yourself. Keep a good diet and pace yourself. Thank you for reading.

 

References:
http://www.itfseafarers.org/ITI-fatigue.cfm

http://www.marinebuzz.com/2008/05/07/how-seafarers-can-overcome-fatigue/

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