Sailing Through Life at Sea: Physical and Emotional Aspects of Seafarers’ Welfare

Research output: Published contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Over 90% of the world’s goods are delivered by sea; nevertheless, the group responsible for this trade – seafarers – is under researched. This paper aims at presenting problematic aspects of the working lives of seafarers in the shipping industry, as well as offering tangible recommendations to the parties involved to improve seafarers’ lives around the world. Specifically, this paper addresses physical and emotional aspects of seafarers’ welfare on-board merchant ships. The first aspect is the limited physical space in which seafarers carry out their daily routines, whilst the second refers to the emotional influences of shipboard life on seafarers’ welfare, i.e. seafarers’ unique family life and their temporal out-of-sync with life ashore, as well as their restricted interaction on-board.
The theoretical framework used in this research is Erving Goffman’s conceptualisation of ‘total institutions’, which characterises the ship as being one type of total institution. The methodology involved two rounds of non-participant observation on-board merchant vessels, lasting for two weeks each; informal conversations with seafarers; and in-depth semi-structured interviews, most of them recorded, with 36 seafarers from different countries.
The findings of this research suggest that the ship could be characterised as a total institution in Goffman’s terms; however, there are additional sociological and anthropological concepts to bear in mind in order to fully comprehend seafarers’ experiences in terms of their welfare as an occupational group in the global labor market. Specifically, the ship as being a contained space surrounded by the endless sea, in which the seafarers experience contradictory feelings of contained freedom; alternative family configurations that might characterise seafarers’ family life as well as different ways in which time is perceived by seafarers’ on-board, relating mostly to the lack of synchronisation of time on-board and ashore; and finally, the symbolic interaction on-board the ship with significant others that are often accompanied by feelings of loneliness and the desire for fresh communication. Recommendations for improving seafarers’ conditions on-board include but are not limited to increasing communication opportunities between the ship and shore and making it more accessible to seafarers; supporting existing organisations that provide welfare services to seafarers and accommodating the option for families to sail with seafarers on a regular basis.
This paper offers a feasible contribution to the studied group of seafarers, considering possible interest groups in the maritime industry that, based on this research, could promote seafarers’ welfare. Additionally, as seafaring is a similar occupation to other types of jobs in ‘total institutions’ like hospitals, prisons, etc., this research could shed new light on ways to improve these groups’ welfare. Thus, future research might consider the unique choice of careers among workers in ‘total institutions’ and their career paths, as well as organisational support of their career development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2014
EventThe Health and Welfare of Seafarers: Past, Present and Prospects: Maritime Historical Studies Centre, University of Hull, in Partnership with Hull History Centre - Maritime Historical Studies Centre, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Jan 20141 Feb 2014
https://seafarers2014.wordpress.com/provisional-conference-programme/

Conference

ConferenceThe Health and Welfare of Seafarers: Past, Present and Prospects
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityHull
Period30/01/141/02/14
Internet address

Fingerprint

total institution
welfare
career
occupational group
industry
Group
communication
working life
interaction
shipping
interest group
correctional institution
experience
occupation
conversation
labor market
worker
lack
methodology
interview

Cite this

Baum-Talmor, P. (2014). Sailing Through Life at Sea: Physical and Emotional Aspects of Seafarers’ Welfare. Abstract from The Health and Welfare of Seafarers: Past, Present and Prospects, Hull, United Kingdom.
Baum-Talmor, Polina. / Sailing Through Life at Sea: Physical and Emotional Aspects of Seafarers’ Welfare. Abstract from The Health and Welfare of Seafarers: Past, Present and Prospects, Hull, United Kingdom.
@conference{4bb46cc0769446c1895469a790cf6c9b,
title = "Sailing Through Life at Sea: Physical and Emotional Aspects of Seafarers’ Welfare",
abstract = "Over 90{\%} of the world’s goods are delivered by sea; nevertheless, the group responsible for this trade – seafarers – is under researched. This paper aims at presenting problematic aspects of the working lives of seafarers in the shipping industry, as well as offering tangible recommendations to the parties involved to improve seafarers’ lives around the world. Specifically, this paper addresses physical and emotional aspects of seafarers’ welfare on-board merchant ships. The first aspect is the limited physical space in which seafarers carry out their daily routines, whilst the second refers to the emotional influences of shipboard life on seafarers’ welfare, i.e. seafarers’ unique family life and their temporal out-of-sync with life ashore, as well as their restricted interaction on-board. The theoretical framework used in this research is Erving Goffman’s conceptualisation of ‘total institutions’, which characterises the ship as being one type of total institution. The methodology involved two rounds of non-participant observation on-board merchant vessels, lasting for two weeks each; informal conversations with seafarers; and in-depth semi-structured interviews, most of them recorded, with 36 seafarers from different countries. The findings of this research suggest that the ship could be characterised as a total institution in Goffman’s terms; however, there are additional sociological and anthropological concepts to bear in mind in order to fully comprehend seafarers’ experiences in terms of their welfare as an occupational group in the global labor market. Specifically, the ship as being a contained space surrounded by the endless sea, in which the seafarers experience contradictory feelings of contained freedom; alternative family configurations that might characterise seafarers’ family life as well as different ways in which time is perceived by seafarers’ on-board, relating mostly to the lack of synchronisation of time on-board and ashore; and finally, the symbolic interaction on-board the ship with significant others that are often accompanied by feelings of loneliness and the desire for fresh communication. Recommendations for improving seafarers’ conditions on-board include but are not limited to increasing communication opportunities between the ship and shore and making it more accessible to seafarers; supporting existing organisations that provide welfare services to seafarers and accommodating the option for families to sail with seafarers on a regular basis. This paper offers a feasible contribution to the studied group of seafarers, considering possible interest groups in the maritime industry that, based on this research, could promote seafarers’ welfare. Additionally, as seafaring is a similar occupation to other types of jobs in ‘total institutions’ like hospitals, prisons, etc., this research could shed new light on ways to improve these groups’ welfare. Thus, future research might consider the unique choice of careers among workers in ‘total institutions’ and their career paths, as well as organisational support of their career development.",
author = "Polina Baum-Talmor",
year = "2014",
month = "1",
day = "31",
language = "English",
note = "The Health and Welfare of Seafarers: Past, Present and Prospects : Maritime Historical Studies Centre, University of Hull, in Partnership with Hull History Centre ; Conference date: 30-01-2014 Through 01-02-2014",
url = "https://seafarers2014.wordpress.com/provisional-conference-programme/",

}

Baum-Talmor, P 2014, 'Sailing Through Life at Sea: Physical and Emotional Aspects of Seafarers’ Welfare' The Health and Welfare of Seafarers: Past, Present and Prospects, Hull, United Kingdom, 30/01/14 - 1/02/14, .

Sailing Through Life at Sea: Physical and Emotional Aspects of Seafarers’ Welfare. / Baum-Talmor, Polina.

2014. Abstract from The Health and Welfare of Seafarers: Past, Present and Prospects, Hull, United Kingdom.

Research output: Published contribution to conferenceAbstract

TY - CONF

T1 - Sailing Through Life at Sea: Physical and Emotional Aspects of Seafarers’ Welfare

AU - Baum-Talmor, Polina

PY - 2014/1/31

Y1 - 2014/1/31

N2 - Over 90% of the world’s goods are delivered by sea; nevertheless, the group responsible for this trade – seafarers – is under researched. This paper aims at presenting problematic aspects of the working lives of seafarers in the shipping industry, as well as offering tangible recommendations to the parties involved to improve seafarers’ lives around the world. Specifically, this paper addresses physical and emotional aspects of seafarers’ welfare on-board merchant ships. The first aspect is the limited physical space in which seafarers carry out their daily routines, whilst the second refers to the emotional influences of shipboard life on seafarers’ welfare, i.e. seafarers’ unique family life and their temporal out-of-sync with life ashore, as well as their restricted interaction on-board. The theoretical framework used in this research is Erving Goffman’s conceptualisation of ‘total institutions’, which characterises the ship as being one type of total institution. The methodology involved two rounds of non-participant observation on-board merchant vessels, lasting for two weeks each; informal conversations with seafarers; and in-depth semi-structured interviews, most of them recorded, with 36 seafarers from different countries. The findings of this research suggest that the ship could be characterised as a total institution in Goffman’s terms; however, there are additional sociological and anthropological concepts to bear in mind in order to fully comprehend seafarers’ experiences in terms of their welfare as an occupational group in the global labor market. Specifically, the ship as being a contained space surrounded by the endless sea, in which the seafarers experience contradictory feelings of contained freedom; alternative family configurations that might characterise seafarers’ family life as well as different ways in which time is perceived by seafarers’ on-board, relating mostly to the lack of synchronisation of time on-board and ashore; and finally, the symbolic interaction on-board the ship with significant others that are often accompanied by feelings of loneliness and the desire for fresh communication. Recommendations for improving seafarers’ conditions on-board include but are not limited to increasing communication opportunities between the ship and shore and making it more accessible to seafarers; supporting existing organisations that provide welfare services to seafarers and accommodating the option for families to sail with seafarers on a regular basis. This paper offers a feasible contribution to the studied group of seafarers, considering possible interest groups in the maritime industry that, based on this research, could promote seafarers’ welfare. Additionally, as seafaring is a similar occupation to other types of jobs in ‘total institutions’ like hospitals, prisons, etc., this research could shed new light on ways to improve these groups’ welfare. Thus, future research might consider the unique choice of careers among workers in ‘total institutions’ and their career paths, as well as organisational support of their career development.

AB - Over 90% of the world’s goods are delivered by sea; nevertheless, the group responsible for this trade – seafarers – is under researched. This paper aims at presenting problematic aspects of the working lives of seafarers in the shipping industry, as well as offering tangible recommendations to the parties involved to improve seafarers’ lives around the world. Specifically, this paper addresses physical and emotional aspects of seafarers’ welfare on-board merchant ships. The first aspect is the limited physical space in which seafarers carry out their daily routines, whilst the second refers to the emotional influences of shipboard life on seafarers’ welfare, i.e. seafarers’ unique family life and their temporal out-of-sync with life ashore, as well as their restricted interaction on-board. The theoretical framework used in this research is Erving Goffman’s conceptualisation of ‘total institutions’, which characterises the ship as being one type of total institution. The methodology involved two rounds of non-participant observation on-board merchant vessels, lasting for two weeks each; informal conversations with seafarers; and in-depth semi-structured interviews, most of them recorded, with 36 seafarers from different countries. The findings of this research suggest that the ship could be characterised as a total institution in Goffman’s terms; however, there are additional sociological and anthropological concepts to bear in mind in order to fully comprehend seafarers’ experiences in terms of their welfare as an occupational group in the global labor market. Specifically, the ship as being a contained space surrounded by the endless sea, in which the seafarers experience contradictory feelings of contained freedom; alternative family configurations that might characterise seafarers’ family life as well as different ways in which time is perceived by seafarers’ on-board, relating mostly to the lack of synchronisation of time on-board and ashore; and finally, the symbolic interaction on-board the ship with significant others that are often accompanied by feelings of loneliness and the desire for fresh communication. Recommendations for improving seafarers’ conditions on-board include but are not limited to increasing communication opportunities between the ship and shore and making it more accessible to seafarers; supporting existing organisations that provide welfare services to seafarers and accommodating the option for families to sail with seafarers on a regular basis. This paper offers a feasible contribution to the studied group of seafarers, considering possible interest groups in the maritime industry that, based on this research, could promote seafarers’ welfare. Additionally, as seafaring is a similar occupation to other types of jobs in ‘total institutions’ like hospitals, prisons, etc., this research could shed new light on ways to improve these groups’ welfare. Thus, future research might consider the unique choice of careers among workers in ‘total institutions’ and their career paths, as well as organisational support of their career development.

UR - https://issuu.com/redactive/docs/nautilus_march14/26

M3 - Abstract

ER -

Baum-Talmor P. Sailing Through Life at Sea: Physical and Emotional Aspects of Seafarers’ Welfare. 2014. Abstract from The Health and Welfare of Seafarers: Past, Present and Prospects, Hull, United Kingdom.