The Importance of Quitting Smoking for Seafarers and Shipping Industry Workers

a Personal Story

by Dr Katerina Konsta 

My father, Avgustis Konstas was a Captain on bulk carrier ships. Back in 1992, while navigating towards New Orleans (USA), he experienced a severe heart attack. Despite the excruciating pain, his first thought was of his ship and crew. Demonstrating remarkable fortitude, he managed to get the ship to shore safely and ensured that all necessary authorities were informed and on board before he finally called for an ambulance.

My father was a heavy smoker, a habit he had developed over years spent in the high-stress environment of the maritime industry. The combination of stress and smoking had taken a toll on his health, culminating in a quadruple bypass operation. He was fortunate to be able to get ashore and not be in the middle of the ocean. His story is a stark reminder of the critical importance of quitting smoking, especially for those working in demanding environments like shipping companies and at sea.

The Dangers of Smoking in Maritime Settings

The maritime industry is synonymous with challenging environments, high-stress situations, and demanding schedules. Seafarers and shipping industry workers often face unique pressures that can make maintaining a healthy lifestyle difficult. One prevalent issue in this sector is smoking. While many turn to cigarettes as a coping mechanism, the long-term health consequences and immediate safety risks make quitting smoking imperative.

The Dangers of Smoking in Maritime Settings

Health Risks: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable diseases and deaths worldwide. For seafarers, the risks are amplified due to limited access to medical care while at sea. Chronic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory issues, and cancer can severely impact a seafarer’s ability to perform their duties and enjoy a long, healthy life.

Safety Concerns: Ships are inherently hazardous environments. The presence of flammable materials and confined spaces increases the risk of fires, and smoking only exacerbates these dangers. An incident involving smoking can quickly escalate, putting the entire crew and vessel at risk.

Reduced Physical Fitness: Seafarers need to be in peak physical condition to handle the physical demands of their job. Smoking reduces lung capacity, stamina, and overall physical fitness, which can compromise the ability to perform essential tasks safely and efficiently.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Improved Health: Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term health benefits. Within days, lung function begins to improve, and within weeks, circulation and physical stamina increase. Long-term, the risk of serious diseases decreases significantly.

Enhanced Safety: Reducing the risk of fire and improving overall safety on board is a critical benefit of a smoke-free environment. By quitting smoking, seafarers contribute to a safer workplace for themselves and their colleagues.

Better Quality of Life: Increased energy levels, improved sense of taste and smell, and overall better physical health contribute to a higher quality of life. Additionally, the financial savings from not buying cigarettes can be significant.

In conclusion, quitting smoking is a critical step for seafarers and shipping industry workers to enhance their health, safety, and overall quality of life. While the process can be challenging, the benefits far outweigh the difficulties. By following the tips and strategies outlined above, seafarers can successfully quit smoking and enjoy a healthier, more productive career at sea. Embrace the journey to a smoke-free life and set sail towards a brighter, healthier future.

As a former smoker myself, I understand how difficult it can be to quit. But if my advice doesn’t resonate with you, think about your family and your children. Imagine the heartache they would endure if your health were compromised. I did not want to quit either but this motivated me giving up.

Quitting smoking isn’t just about improving your own well-being; it’s about ensuring you’re there for the ones you love, giving them the best version of yourself for many more years to come.

The Importance of Quitting Smoking for Seafarers and Shipping Industry Workers: A Personal Story

Advance Crew Management Seminar

Crash Course Seminar in Advance Crew Management

Crew management for ships incorporates a variety of activities handled by inhouse crew managers and crew management companies.

This includes the sourcing, recruitment, selection, deployment, scheduling, training/upgrading programs, and on-going management of seafarers engaged on vessels under crew management contracts, special circumstances management (like COVID) and administrative aspects.

While operating in a very volatile shipping industry, irrelevant of the handling size each company / operator is dealing with, at the same time is very important to understand the core elements that compose, modify and classify a balanced crew management.

Crew management is the combination of balanced time management and seafarers’ availability, good knowledge of all updated crew related conventions, soft skills and happiness achievement, in an era where the most skillful should be retained and the new comers should be upgraded. All the above mentioned issues, along with restrains of finance (i.e. budget), will be discussed accordingly.