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Four skills you need to succeed in a career at sea

Choosing a career at sea is not something that you should dive into without doing your research first. It is a different way of life and therefore different skills are needed.

You may have studied hard at school or university; alternatively you may have a very impressive CV. These things will all stand you in good stead; however, a career at sea is not your run-of-the-mill job and there are certain niche skills that you will need.

Problem solving

The role of an engineer at sea is a varied one requiring a number of different skills. Being responsible for maintaining the electrical instruments and machinery on board is a very hands-on role.

Vessels today are becoming more and more hi-tech and the demand for engineers is high. Using your maths and science knowledgeto work on a system is expected. However, a good engineer is someone who is adept at the art of problem-solving bringing all their educational skills into force calmly and methodically. After all,not only will you be responsible for the performance of the vessel, but alsofor the safety of everybody on it.


The life of a merchant seafarer requires professional seafaring certification and the applicable educational qualifications. These skills are learnt either in colleges and universities that have specialist courses or actually on board a shipping companies' vessel whilst out at sea.

Basic survival skills

Working at sea can mean being in a very hostile environment. Knowing how to escape from offshore gas and oil installations or vessels is a basic essential. Being competent to use the right equipment could be the difference between life and death. Anyone who wishes to work offshore needs to have these bases covered. Attending a Warsash Maritime Academy Offshore Survival Course is a good place to start and will help you to stand out from the competition when applying for a position.


Being fit and healthy is something we all aspire to be on a day to day basis. However, because of the physical nature of many sea careers and the elements that those jobs are performed in, staying in your optimum condition is hugely important. Biennial fitness tests will help to ensure that you stay in good shape.

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