The inaugural report shows a seafarer satisfaction level of 6.42 on a scale of 1 to 10 about key issues including general happiness, contact with family, shore leave, wage levels, food, fitness and health, training, interaction onboard, workload, and access to welfare facilities. Data for the first report is based on surveys conducted in the first three months of 2015. Subsequent reports will be published approximately every three months based on surveys conducted on an ongoing basis. Crewtoo, founded in 2011, is part of KVH Media Group and KVH Industries.
“It is all well and good to talk about seafarers and the realities of life at sea, but until now there has been very little confirmation as to how seafarers actually feel about their jobs”, said Anneley Pickles, head of Crewtoo business development.
“For us, it comes down to one fundamental issue: Are seafarers happy? We felt it vital to develop a means of measuring and reporting this issue, which led to the creation of the Crewtoo Seafarers Happiness Index”.
The issues that concerned seafarers the most, as detailed in the first report, included the need for onboard internet access, the risk of stress and fatigue from increasing workloads, and the lack of shore leave. For example, seafarers mentioned that internet access onboard “makes life at sea easier” and a number of respondents expressed the concern that “if connectivity does not become common on vessels, the industry might be unable to attract any new seafarers in the future”.
Crewtoo began surveying its approximately 110,000 members in January, asking them to rate their satisfaction about life at sea using a scale of 1-10 with a score of 10 being the happiest, and 1 being the unhappiest. The Crewtoo Seafarers Happiness Index data includes responses from globally based crews, and answers were received from across all ranks and nationalities including seafarers from the Philippines, UK, Poland, Croatia, Germany, US, Canada, India, and Turkey, as well as a number of African nations. The age of survey respondents ranged from 16 to the late 60s. Masters made up the largest proportion of responses by rank; some 11% of respondents stated that they were currently serving in the role of captain. The majority of responses were from seafarers working on bulk carriers and container vessels.
The Crewtoo Seafarers Happiness Index is designed to be part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about crews’ opinions and to assist with the continual improvement of conditions onboard to retain and recruit seafarers. Quantifying and qualifying how happy people are with the various elements of their working life at sea helps to build a picture of the industry and of the successes, but also the issues and problems to be addressed.
“Satisfied, well fed, fit, and engaged seafarers are vital to the present and future of the industry”, said Ms Pickles.
“Happy people stick around, happy people work well, they embrace challenges, they look to excel and share with others. In short, happiness matters and it needs to be measured, assessed, and understood. The lessons then need to be applied to ensure that we are looking after seafarers properly and responding to their wants and needs.”