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Five Smart Things Every Seaman Should Do Before Going Onboard

There are so many reasons Filipinos choose to become seamen-- good wages, lower cost of living, free travel experience and the opportunity to meet different people with different cultures.
However, pursuing a career at sea is not an easy feat. Not everyone can handle being away from their families & friends for several months, while risking their lives to possible natural dangers that may occur onboard a voyaging ship. Nevertheless, for the adventurous and brave individuals who still wish to pursue a successful maritime career, here are five smart things you should do to prepare yourself for your stay onboard.

1. Invest in health insurance.

Even while traveling in international waters, personal health insurance is highly essential. There instances wherein the shipping company will not cover all medical costs, especially if the fault was yours. To ensure that no obstacles stand in the way of your medical procedures, you must have an up-to-date health insurance.
Also, if you need to take medicines with you, bring the necessary prescriptions along with the medicines as several countries do not allow you to carry them without prescriptions.

2. Get Acquainted with Local Laws.

Different countries have different rules and regulations laws, and it is important to follow them. For example, in Singapore, pirated movie DVDs are not allowed at the airport, while chewing gum is banned from the streets and must be left at home. In Gulf countries, adult movies and pictures are strictly prohibited. Thus, you must familiarize yourself with the laws of the countries you will be visiting to avoid any kind of trouble on foreign land.

3. Open an Emergency Fund Account.

Since you are often out in the sea and far from your family, you should set up a bank account that will serve as your family’s emergency source. Seafarers’ allotments usually cover only the everyday expenses of the family - food, clothing, house, and education for the kids, and little will be left for savings. So when an emergency happens, finding a source will be an additional burden. Open another account now and start saving into it with at least a few months of your salary for emergency purposes.

4. Leave Valuables at Home.

Keep all the things that you would hate to lose at home because there is a high chance of losing these valuables while traveling or on the ship. Some examples of these are expensive accessories and jewelry, your Social Security card, library card, club membership cards and all your extra credit and debit cards.

5. Keep a Small Pocket Diary.

Keeping a pocket diary with all the important details is recommended by many experts. Make sure you note down all the contact information of your loved ones and company personnel to ensure that you are not stuck at times when your mobile phone is inaccessible.
Stay tuned for more career tips to help you make the most of your maritime experience, and while you’re at it, start applying to the latest sea-based jobs from POEA-licensed manning agencies on
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