In its Q1 2023 Seafarers Happiness Index report, the Mission to Seafarers noted that the percentage of happiness about seafarers’ ability to keep fit and healthy on board, has fallen to 7.1 from 7.83.
n particular, the SHI paints a concerning picture of the state of health and well-being on board ships. According to the report, basic personal care items such as toothpaste, shampoo and shaving gel are not provided, or are not easy to obtain. This is raising serious concerns about maintaining basic hygiene standards. This is a frustrating shortcoming that seafarers said needs urgent attention.
In addition, perhaps tied in with the issue of toothpaste, is the fact that seafarers reported problems accessing a dentist when they needed it. Emergency dental issues are going unchecked, and we have seafarers resorting to self repairs.
These are problematic in many ways, they could also potentially lead to issues of painkiller dependency. So, access to a dentist when needed is vital. Furthermore, crew members face significant challenges when it comes to exercise.
In addition, there are often insufficient or none existent gym facilities on board ships, and crew members may need to pool their resources to buy equipment. Lack of guidance and activities for keeping fit on board further hinders access to exercise facilities and resources.
As to this point, rather unusually, there is poor internet connectivity is felt as adding to the challenges of keeping fit. Respondents claimed they struggle to access online resources for exercise or other recreational activities due to slow and unreliable internet connections.
According to the report, experiences with maintaining fitness and health on board ships vary greatly. Overall, the survey responses indicate significant challenges faced by seafarers in maintaining a healthy routine and accessing exercise facilities on board ships.
It is crucial to address these issues to promote the health and well-being of seafarers on board ships. Suggestions for improvement include collaboration with providers who offer exercise facilities or activities on board ships, indicating potential opportunities to improve access to fitness resources for crew members.