New Training Website Aims At Improving Seafarer Fitness

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

We all know it’s important to stay fit and healthy, but seafarers are no exception. Between the long hours, heavy lifting and need to stay alert in case of impending disasters at sea, fitness – both physically and mentally – is absolutely imperative for the crews of cruise ships, cargo ships and other maritime vessels.

Unfortunately, seafarers don’t always have the time to dedicate to an exercise regime or to eat healthy. They are usually on the go, and most of their time is spent onboard their ship tending to their duties. However, that is soon to change.

A new website, called Training on Board (www.trainingonboard.org) has been launched with the purpose of increasing the fitness of seafarers. The website was developed by the Norwegian Maritime Authority for the International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare (ICSW) with the goal of helping seafarers to pursue a healthy lifestyle and to understand just how important physical fitness is to nutrition, fatigue and mental alertness.

Many crewmembers are involved in accidents at sea because they were tired or fatigued or lacked strength because of poor nutrition habits. Keeping in mind the long schedules of seafarers, the website provides helpful tools that workers can use to improve their fitness. An online calculator allows crewmembers to measure their fitness and get started on a physical training program to improve their and physical health. The seafarers are able to register on the website and record their daily workouts so they can keep track of their progress.

In a time when the cruise industry has been criticized for lack of safety measures and protocols, the website aims to help seafarers who are becoming unfit to perform their duties as well as becoming obese.

Torbjørn Husby of the Norwegian Maritime Authority explained how gaining too much weight is affecting seafarers in his home country.

“In Norway, we are finding that seafarers are losing their health certificates, as they have BMI’s of more than 35 and are becoming vulnerable to diabetes and heart conditions because of lack of exercise and poor diet.”
Roger Harris, Executive Director of the ICSW, also commented on the concern of seafarers being unfit to perform their tasks.

“With the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) coming into force later this year it is important for crews to be fit and healthy,” he said. “The MLC emphasizes the importance of health and welfare. The Training on Board site encourages seafarers and shipping companies to actively participate in the fitness program and learn about healthy nutrition.”
Designed professional physiotherapist, Mona Woll Haland, Training on Board provides a wide range of exercises that seafarers can perform onboard. Workers can even compete amongst each other to see who can reach their target fitness level faster.

With time, hopefully all maritime companies will require their workers to undergo some sort of training program to increase their overall health and fitness. Vessel operators are responsible for maintaining the safety of their crewmembers, and when health becomes a risk factor for maritime accidents, then the companies should do their part to improve their crews’ level of fitness.

Launched on Feb. 11, the website is up and ready to assist seafarers in their quest for fitness.

Photo Credits: Seafarer Fitness

Top Right: www.trainingonboard.org
Middle Left: royal-olympic-cruises.com
Bottom Right: cruisewise.com