Preventing Burnout at Sea

With all the digitalization and automated systems on board, they are sure to reduce manual workload for seafarers.

  1. But what about the effects on mental workload? Is it proportionally becoming less, or actually more?
  2. And what are the consequences of this? More stress, more frequent fatigue, hard to concentrate?
  3. Do we actually want to improve our mental skills and resilience to handle this mental workload, or are we still focused on the technical side of things?
  4. Would we actually participate in programs allowing us to learn essential mental skills, or would this be yet another training while ashore, that we do not want to invest our free time in?

Please share your personal thoughts and experience on this!

I would like to share a unique experience offered by CleverPoint Marine: a Latvia-based company providing digital mental health solutions in Maritime Sector, aimed at supporting the performance and wellbeing of seafarers.

*They will soon offer a virtual reality (VR) based wellness program to learn essential relaxation techniques that would improve your ability to handle daily stress and workload anytime, anywhere using controlled breathing techniques. *

This is not a service promotion or sales effort, it is just to inquire insights on seafarer knowledge and thoughts about mental workload at sea and how to deal with it. We want to gather these insights to find more solutions that seafarers actually DESIRE!

And if you want to participate and share your thoughts about the problem and solution in a 4-minute survey, we would appreciate it:

Thanks colleagues, Take care, and drop your view on this in the comments, LET’S DISCUSS SOMETHING NON-TECHNICAL!

New shit keeps piling up and it never replaces the old. An automated form just becomes something for which I have to transfer into a spreadsheet and/or transfer into NS5, and of course the good old hand-written shit doesn’t go away either. An automated system just becomes something that breaks or doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to and then the operator gets a “wtf” from the senior officers onboard, and the senior officers onboard get a wtf from the office. Result is less sleep and more doctoring of work/rest hours to ensure the above doesn’t happen.
Decarbonization reporting is just slapped down onto my plate, on top of the 5 or 6 noon reports I already have to generate. Let’s not forget the wide array of similar paperwork and spreadsheets that now have to be sent in for anchor periods, shifts, port periods, cargo operations.
Ah ballast water treatment systems that are a pain in the ass. Plus the associated paperwork and logging and testing and…well you get the picture.
Also, my feet are tired most of the time and I’m homesick.

But on a nice calm sunny day at sea with no bullshit going on, I enjoy the breather. Until maybe there’s a drill for a fire in the engine room or something.

I also love to see my paystub and get reminded why I do it.

I somehow like it though. :person_shrugging:t2: Everyone is typically friendly and that is what makes it feasible.


I think the mental workload is the same or even less. Computers and calculators nowadays are light years beyond what they were 50 years ago.

Maybe for the guys looking out the window…meanwhile more systems, more complexity, more maintenance (diesel vs steam turbine), and fewer crew means down below is much more physical and mental workload (NS5/AMOS/Ship manager bullshit, anybody?)

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This one’s brilliant, your last thought there somehow brings a lot of power to this message! :grin:

But what is it though? What’s the key behind that story that lets You get to the last statement and not to job burnout as example? Besides the paycheck.

Is it something that happens daily? Are those certain habit, behaviors or culture? Is it some form of support? Are those individual achievements or something bigger than that?

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What to do about it then?

The systems will be there, the crew will be as it is. I’d say we should take care of ourselves and not rely on something magical to happen!

The question is should seafarers just leave such job environments or should we get our shit together and handle it? And how could we handle it better, what would be the tools and resources we’d need for this?

NS5 makes me want to put my head in the oven.

It takes a logic-obligated network , and organizes it in the least accessible manner possible, all using microdot-level typeset. Seriously 6-point type? Really?

Shoreside staff like it because from an ops standpoint, using it passively to organize received data is tolerable, as it shifts the onus of lost time and productivity in generating data to the vessel, the active users who have other obligations besides steering an office chair and sending harassing emails.
I find it to be a Swiss Army Knife. It can do many things in theory, but the price of being able to do so much is that it is not actually very good to use.

It’s a database, and a horribly interface one at that. It’s no different than any other industrial maintenance management program. And like all databases, CRAP IN = CRAP OUT.

Rebuilding pumps, installing new bearings on electric motors based purely on running hours (20,000 for example) is beyond idiotic and a waste of time/money/man power. Or how about when every single gear coupling to a pump fails on a ship because they’ve never been greased in 15 years because “it’s not in NS5”. People think ships are special…they need to spend some time in the maintenance planning department of a well run industrial facility.

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I think the answers to those questions will vary from person to person. I am out there for my family; I cannot make this type of money (or have the time off) by doing a job on land. I suppose that contributes. There are times, however, when I question why I’m out there…for example going through hurricane-force winds, hove to on a giant ship, throwing up, freezing rain, maybe during a shit show tie up at 1am with a messenger getting dropped over the side, lines criss-crossed, you name it. It helps to find a little humor in the entire situation.

I stick 2 post it notes on the inside of my stateroom door at the beginning of each hitch. First one says “It could be worse”!
Second one says “Gotta feed the family”. Reminds me why I have put up with this crap.


This sums it up nicely.


Oh come now… tracking rest hours with NS is fun!

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Tired At Work Meme GIFs | Tenor

After you’re done popping those manhole covers, setting up those blowers, going to the engine room for some 14.293mm nuts and bolts, can you meet me at the port stores crane with a tagline? If you have to rig the gangway and pilot ladder first that’s fine. Also, why don’t you go ahead and get a ballast water sample from the aft peak.

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Yeah personally I’m done with redundancy in daily log books that are someone’s after thought with let’s stick this in there too mentality also in 6 pt type. Have to check and mark three dozen items then transfer all that information to a electronic log with a different format. Crickey you have to commit to one or the other. That’s just one of the items on my list to change. I hear what everyone is saying and the only solace for me is sleep. That is if I can get some.


The best is when they pick apart your rebuttal of how stupid some of these things are like you’re in a court room and you have to defend yourself against charges of laziness and apathy.

How dare you question this new report that is a mirror image of the other report you are already doing. Someone in that office worked very hard to justify their existence over the last several months by developing it. What did you do? Keep the hull off the rocks or keep the lights on? Pfffff… :wink:


If it is not a standard job, work orders can still be created in NS5, but all that aside. Nearly all of your posts on this forum come across as Ccaptain-lite. Besides complaining about it, what sort of things do you do to reduce the “CRAP In” part of the equation. Just asking because I am curious.

Cool story bro. Yeah, I’m a dick.

Not much else needs to be said then.