5 Surprising Things You Can Do While Working on a Cargo Ship

While the ships of old may have been all work and no play, the times, they are a-changin’!

As the maritime industry continues to seek ways to improve seafarers’ wellbeing, more ships have become equipped to bring the creature comforts of home onboard. From swimming to karaoke, here are 5 things you didn’t know you could do on a cargo ship!

1. Stay connected

Gone are the days of having to buy expensive prepaid calling cards or wait for the next port just so you can find an internet cafe. With ships increasingly being equipped with Wi-Fi, seafarers can now use their own laptops, mobile phones and tablets to stay connected with friends and family back home.

2. Swim

When you’re surrounded by water as far as the eye can see, you may be tempted to go for a dip. Of course, you can’t do that when you’re floating in the middle of the South China Sea. However, modern ships have found an answer. While they may not be anything like the Marina Bay Sands, swimming pools like this one can be found on cargo ships and some are even equipped with steam saunas. Can you think of a better way to melt the stresses of a hard day’s work?

3. Work out

If you’re following an exercise routine or are looking to start one, shipping won’t stop you – it actually gives you a reason to stick to it. Many cargo ships are equipped with gyms and outdoor spaces that can be used for sports. How complex the facilities are will vary greatly from company to company, but for a simple setup, you can expect a treadmill and cable machine. And if you’re lucky, there will be everything from free weights, punching bags, table tennis, basketball and Zumba!

4. Hone your art

Have a penchant for writing, drawing or painting, but lack inspiration or struggle to get started? Let the ocean be your muse! Ship work helps you to schedule and be more productive in your extracurricular activities by giving you a set routine to build around. One seafarer, Martin Machado of the Sailors Union of the Pacific (SUP), sets aside an hour for painting before dinner every day. Taken across the year, that’s 365 hours of painting!

5. Sing your heart out

Cargo ships typically have an entertainment room to bring crew members together. But nowadays they are fitted with TVs, audio systems, board games, dartboards, playstations, and most importantly, karaoke. Depending on which ship you are working on, they may organise recurrent karaoke nights – a great opportunity to showcase your talents and belt out your favourite tunes like a Singapore Idol. Some ships also offer musical instruments, thus turning a  karaoke night into an open mic jam night!

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