10 common reasons why seafarers quit shipboard job

A cadet on a maritime school aspires to become a good seafarer someday. With his learned knowledge he strives to embark onboard a ship in a good company. Working onboard the ship for more than 6 months even up to 1 year gives him a chance to upgrade his profession and for possible promotion as an officer. After a few years of working onboard the ship he suddenly decides to stop and start to work on land. Nobody knows the reason why.


Why choose to work at sea?


Many seafarers are like the example above. A lot of reason may contribute to a person’s decision of becoming a seafarer. I can still remember the question that my Captain asks me during my cadet days. “Why you choose to become a seafarer”? I give him a quick answer, “I want to become rich”. He said to me that if every seafarer would give the same reason that I did, it would be a selfish answer.


“The reason that we choose to become a seafarer is to give our family a better life and to encourage other mariners to become good at their job as a seafarer”.


Those are the humble words of the captain that I was lucky enough to serve with. The life onboard the ship cannot be compared on the life on land. We do our job in a more difficult environment. We seldom see the land. We expose ourselves to different kinds of weather. We see the same person every day. We work with different types of people in different countries. We work under pressure. So why choose to work at sea? It’s simply because we like the challenge and the adventure behind our work.


Why quit your job at sea?


Various reasons contribute to the seafarer’s decision of leaving the ship. A lot of person consider it personal or work related reasons. Here are 10 common reasons why they decide to leave the ship.


  1. They were given a chance to work in a shipping company
  2. They had a very bad experience onboard their previous ship
  3. They had a problem with their wife that leads to divorce and could not handle the problem, which leads to the decision of stopping his profession as a seafarer
  4. They manage to find an alternative job in land with almost the same salary of his job on the ship
  5. They were given an opportunity to work on land related to shipping and maritime industry
  6. Their wife and family doesn’t want them to work onboard anymore
  7. They were homesick
  8. A member of their family died while they are still onboard the ship and this became a very bad experience that they can never erase from their minds.
  9. They started a business and became successful
  10. They won in a lottery


Is there an option to work on land?


There are a lot of options that a seafarer can work on land and quit shipboard job. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can become successful. It’s the level of success that you desire that matters. You can read the stories behind the seafarers who decided to quit shipboard job on this link.


Have your say


As a seafarer we always think of our future. We talk a lot about our retirement and how we’d like to spend it. Finding an option so you can quit your shipboard job in order to work on land would be a tough decision. You must prepare yourself to whatever circumstances that may arise. If you have any ideas that you would like to contribute or share to our fellow seafarer who plans to quit their shipboard job, you can write your comment and be heard. Share us your opinion so we could benefit from it too. You can bookmark this article for future reading.

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41 Responses to “10 common reasons why seafarers quit shipboard job”

  1. […] Pinoy Maritime has a pretty obvious list once you think about it in “10 common reasons why seafarers quit shipboard job“. […]

  2. Great post! Keep up the good work!

  3. I was a seafarer not for so long, simply because of the stuff happening on the ship that we, seafarers, are not allowed to speak out. Specially on our part, female seafarers, we encounter the same tough pressure on board but we get more pressured than men. Why? because we are always the victim of harassment, whether sexually or corporate harassment its always us, females, are the easiest target.

    I admire female seafarers that survived the pressure on board, they are really tough and strong, or they force themselves to adapt to the ‘on board environment’ well, if you are a seafarer you know what i mean. Most of the time, than not seafarers that can’t adapt that environment, can’t survive.

    Speaking out on board doesn’t work often, maybe for some lucky seafarers once in a blue moon, but when you are on board it seems like you’re in different world. NO JUSTICE, NO CONTRACT THAT APPLIES. Its almost slavery. It reminds me of Amistad though. Sad truth, but it’s still happening.

  4. Marplatense says:

    we use to have a naval school in Mar del Plata (Argentina) but not anymore 🙁
    Now a lot of people that worked there are jobless and it’s not a nice situation. Thanks god the fishing port is working fine

    Best regards

  5. darth_ali says:

    great post! nakaka-home sick nga naman ang nasa dagat. family matters really matters. i agree with reason number 9. share ko din itong forum from pinoymoneytalk.com para sa mga gustong gawin ang number 9. thanks!

  6. Eric says:

    It’s like any job, really. You have to work with the same people day in and day out, the only difference being you can’t get away from them by going home at night. It could be miserable with the wrong people, or a great experience with the right team.

  7. jamil cervantes says:

    i made all my decision to have a bachelor’s degree in marine transportation, for me to become not an ordinary seafarer officer someday, but as well as to become a channel of good work here in the philippines and abroad. i actually believe that a good and well maintained character of a good seafarer will lead to a brighter future to those who are interested to enroll as Marine Transportation students.
    i would like to suggest that we, currently and incoming seafarer employee, as well as the employer would exert effort in handling the cadet/apprenticeship program for newly grad for them to have an experience on-board ship. hope this comment will help us in pursuing a bright future in our field, the seafarer family!

  8. it is really hard to Quit Smoking. currently, i am using Nicotine Patches to curb may addiction to smoking and nicotine.


    how is the life of a mariners on board?

  10. “The reason that we choose to become a seafarer is to give our family a better life and to encourage other mariners to become good at their job as a seafarer”.- its really nice! very much FILIPINO! I like this one. It was really hard working on board but it is for your family!

  11. Syed Badruddin says:

    You join sea because
    1)You need money, a lot of it in a short span of time.
    2)You get used to it.
    3)You work, you drink, you dance, you sleep with different women (much prettier and sexier than your girlfriend on land, if you were lucky enough to have one)
    4)The amount of money you get makes you live much above the economic level where you could have existed had you not gone to sea.
    Suddenly you find yourself being sought by girls or their parents. Eventullay you get married.Then you realize the value of family life. You try to quit but fail. Now you have a baby.This time you can not stop yourself from crying while you leave for your ship.
    You can’t overcome. Some are lucky enough to realize the “Ceiling of Satisfaction”. They quit at any cost. THEY ARE LUCKY!!!!

  12. mike campos says:

    I quit the seafarers job because I didnt want my children to grow up without the proper upbringing of their father. Fatherhood was very important to me. I had one child when I quit and now I have three daughters. I didnt want to miss their childhood because it cannot be brought back once they are grown ups. I was there when they had their first teeth, and I was there when they began to loose their baby teeth. I was there to bring them to school everyday, and I was there always during PTA meetings. I was there when they began graduating from Elementary, High School and then College. Now it has been 22 years since I stopped seafaring and I look back to see that my family has matured and truly bonded together as one family. Now its time to go back to seafaring and earn the money that I didnt have when I stopped. My children and wife is now very supportive of my revived career! Luckily I still have my second mate’s License. Free at Last!

  13. alvin sta.isabel says:

    marami din kasi manloloko sa sa kalaw e laganap dun ang mga nangangako sa mga bagong mag seaman lalo na yun mag aaprentice dinadala nila sa cebu tapos dun magsisimula ang kalbaryo nmin sana mapansin ng media to may malaki mali sa kalaw ito ang pangalan sana iwasan nyo ito EUFROCINA J.VELASCO may ari ng EJV MARITIME CONSULTANCY sa may kalaw..marami sya fixer na nakakalat sa luneta…beware peperahan lang kyo.

  14. MD says:

    hey guys, just wanna ask how a nurse here in the Philippines can get to work in a ship? been looking for job for so long and i hope and pray that i find it in the maritime field. thanks and God bless.

  15. dan says:

    so funny to know nga lang na may iba na gusto mag marine engineering bcoz they wanted to be called engineers after they graduate.

  16. ed hakie says:

    no matter what happen, just work moderately.give time for ur rest and relaxation.the real fight is coming every day and almost every hour.remember that most of those who are working hard are those who are dangerous and those who are always in a problem.do simple things and do it simple.dont make things exaggerated.
    stay cool.

  17. Herby Robertson says:

    Good evening,
    I’m seriously considering a carreer change.I have contacted the Paul Hall center for maritime training (Piney Point Md.) and I’m thinking about attending a one day Q & A tour of the facility.I have some rather “to the point ” questions for the folks at the school as well as the cadets that I will have a chance to meet.My only hope is that since I have no prior experience,they will at least be candid in their answers as this will be a tough decision for me.

    I would like for a active seaman,if time permitted,to respond to me regarding the school,my age,the goals I have if It is not to late to achieve them and I would also like to talk about quality of life serving aboard.

    Thank You,

  18. cdt. Abhishek Tiwari says:

    The basic thing I would here like to highlight is that , a seafarer is not at sea because he just wants to become rich, its futile to say that a seafarer is working just for money.In todays world you can easily find a job that pays you almost equivalent to that of what you get at sea, today’s officers are not like before who finished their training only at sea and were left with just a certificate in the maritime field, today the young officers are highly qualified and university graduates.so its our dream, our ambition and our craze for ships and maritime.Its not just for money!!! its much more.

  19. dhezseco says:

    its never in my dream being a seafarer when iwas i hi-school,i fill up some form of what is ur course to be in college,i coud’nt choice any of it kasi hirap ng buhay to go college,in my young age @ 16yr old a fresh grad in hi-school,nag work ako sa goverment agency sa manila as janitor 5h pesos a month,from there start dreaming since PMI so close i ask if how the life of being a seaman,nag working student ako ME COURSE,in short natapos din nag apply din take the PRC BOARD exam,acquired the license as marine eng’r then got the payback sa tsga ko,earning 4k usd a month parang la yata ganun salary sa pinas,4me money is number one reason not to quit,2nd is its ur dream to be a competitive seafarer proving urself kaya nga nila bakit kaw hindi,if most of us at the same choice to quit,pano na maritime industry?buong mundo affected,for me to quit is not only the option,what u’ve started prove it as best as u could.wla kpa sa kalahati ayaw kana,mbe dika nhirapan mag apply kaya ganun lang. . .quit na..
    kung naransan mong stork ang lunch mo,matibay ka dapat,kya si paquaio ganun ka tibay at ka tapang kasi nagutom din un tulad natin. . . . . .mga kapatid….

  20. ron says:

    what are the top reasons someone would not be excepted into the school. Do you need to pay for everything when you get to the school before you arrive at the school? jut thinking about switching from a fisherman in alaska to some thing a little less demanding but better benifits in the long run

  21. Ted says:

    Can a person who doesn’t drink, survive as a seafarer??

  22. Indeed, the work routine onboard is not so difficult if we think the various angles of it. But in my experience as a seafarer, the main reason why our job dealt with difficulty is something pertained to our psychological conditions that possibly affects our work and socializing with the persons onboard. In fact, Homesickness is worst than seasickness.

    Nowadays, seafarers are very fortunate for having too much job opportunities to work on shore that will fit their certain qualifications but the salary is not as good as what they can earn onboard.

  23. muhammad hassan says:

    i m a seaman i need a job on ship board any body here for help me

  24. Seafarers says:

    The loneliness that one has to endure while onboard plus the hard work that goes with it are the top reasons for me. the 10th reason – won in a lottery made me laugh.

  25. Sam says:

    please, can someone help me out with the steps to take to be a certified seafarer. I have a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, and i’ve been working in an Automobile industry for the past one year, but i still have passion for shipping industry.
    I really hope to hear from you guys soon.Thanks.

  26. ramor etognara says:

    ang mga pinoy ay matitibay, malalakas,matatapang, mapagtiis ,mapagmahal mapagbatyag etc… anu mn ang magyayari ,,…kayang kaya ng mga pinoy tlga iyan,,, higit sa lahat ang ating buong maykapal…nagppsalamat tayo sa kanya….

  27. rochelle yu says:

    gusto ko sana mgtrabaho as a seafarer paano mag apply ng hindi gagastos na malaki. graduate po ako ng hotel and restaurant services at my bst at malapit na rin makuha ang seamaans book.

  28. saleetree says:

    The reason that you gave as to why seafarers quit their jobs maybe true, but with determination and proper maritime training it is not impossible for one to cope up and continue on with the job. And still, I salute seafarers who are willing to sacrifice for their family.

  29. feng says:

    MLC2006 will enter into force in 2014. hope the working condition and welfare at sea will improved greatly. seafarers really need new image of future .

  30. trebor says:

    has anyone here thought about being a seafare just to have a new adventure?
    orrr am i the only one?
    my real passion in life is travel and adventure.
    soo im thinking this job might be a good suit for me.
    work my ass off for a few months and save all my money. then when im off for how ever long i plan to travel.
    most jobs im qualified for will only give me 2 weeks vacation a year. LOL…i can only see so much in 2 weeks. I need more time….thats why working at sea appeals to me.
    please….someone correct me if im wrong for thinking like this.
    I have my TWIC and MMC.
    going for my STCW soon.

  31. edmundmolero says:

    I know this kind of job is a great challenge for every seafarer,,I will be a seafarer someday,I have one boy already. Even though I am scared that I will be very far from them,specially my wife, but I have to do it just to give a better life for my family,I am so proud for all seafarers that they perform their duties well.Being far from love one’s is a very worst thing that we have to accept.

  32. Williamson says:

    Being a seafarer needs determination, patience, self control etc. Its exciting but not easy like working on land.
    Close your eyes and turn around you will feel how is it onboard. Remember that the sea swell sometimes reaches more than 6meters or more sometimes even weeks.
    Good luck

  33. NSMS says:

    Reason number six, my family want to spend our time together, my kids has to grow up knowing that they have a father willing to take care of them.

  34. Prince says:

    Well if you love it go for it, no job in the world is easy and nothing good comes easy, i will be a seaferer someday and just this in mind wil make me go for it and accomplished all my goals.

  35. Richard apelo says:

    I stopped for 5 yrs. as junior waiter in a cruiseship.my wife and I decided to put up our own business.for four yrs yes we were su ccessful but this year 2015 we started pulling down…so as a father for 3 kids and pressure im into with my inlaws although my wife doesnt want be to work onboard again..im fully decided now to go back as seafarer in f&b cruiseship..im 42 yrs old now you think its possible for me to work onboard again..5yrs experience as junior waiter cruise ship south pacific and also alaska canada route…pls need your advice if I can still back to work!

  36. pinoymariner says:

    Very inspiring post. It gives aspiring seafarers what to expect in their chosen career.

    Working on-board the ship is really difficult and dangerous. But the rewards are worth the sacrifice, especially if it is for the sake of your own family and loved ones.

    Please try to visit my blog also. ====> http://www.pinoymariner.com

  37. MSC CRUISE LINE says:

    Welcome to MSC CRUISES U.K, and to our range of cruise ship jobs and careers. With our reputation for excellence and exclusivity, it’s only right That MSC CRUISES recruit the very best people to enjoy career opportunities working on our cruise ships.

    Due to expansion in our organization, we want to use this medium to inform you that vacancies is now on, so therefore do let us know if you have an interest in working in any of the areas in which MSC CRUISES Offers toward the New Season.

    If you’re looking for a cruise ship job or career at sea. Please send in with your C.V/Resume to the HR Dept.

    Email:- careerjob@msc-cruiseline.co.uk

    Recruitment Department
    Mr. Giles Hawke
    HR Manager

  38. Steven says:

    Thanks for your post. I am a student from http://www.pntc.edu.ph/ and will be a seaman soon. While reading your post, just like any job, I think we may experience same problems, why we end in quitting on our present employer. But, as an entry level seaman, those reasons are my guide on how to be wise. Again, Thanks.

  39. dolly says:

    what happens when your wife is cheating on you while you are at sea working

  40. I love working on sea that’s why I decided to venture in this business…

  41. cdt. dave says:

    Ok po sana pagtatrabaho sa barko pero yung may makakasama ka na magagalit sa yo at hndi ka papansinin. Iyan po isa sa mga dahilan ng mahirap na pagtatrabaho sa barko. Bilib po ako sa ibang lahi kasi pagnagalit sila kinabukasan ok na. Tomorrow is another day pero sa kapwa pilipino po, hindi naman lahat, grabe magtanim ng galit. Iniiwasan ko yung ganyang ugali kasi tayo2 lng naman magkakasama sa barko, pagmay samaan ng loob, mahirap po magtrabaho. Promise. Sana baguhin natin ganitong ugali mga kapwa ko. Salamat.

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