At the start of a new year, it’s a time-honored tradition for people to reflect on the past, identify areas of their lives they want to improve and set specific goals for the future by making New Year’s resolutions. For USCG-licensed mariners, whose lives are intertwined with unique risks and challenges, the turning of the calendar offers an opportune moment to resolve to enhance their skills, knowledge and performance and embrace a renewed commitment to safety at sea.
Here are six actionable New Year’s resolutions for professional mariners as we set sail into the new year:
1. Place safety at the forefront of your responsibilities. Safety is the key to protecting lives, the environment and ensuring the integrity of vessel operations. Stick to the maritime regulations and standards, and consistently follow established protocols and procedures. Keep an eye out for any potential hazards, and develop strategies to deal with them. Stay in the loop about any regulatory updates or changes as well.
2. Lead by example. You play a pivotal role in shaping the culture and performance of your vessel. Demonstrate a strong work ethic, maintain a positive attitude and strive for excellence in your work, motivating others to follow suit. Practice clear and respectful communication with colleagues, superiors and crew members. And, promote honesty, integrity and accountability in all your interactions.
3. Be ready to address crisis situations promptly and appropriately. While a solid grasp of emergency response procedures and protocols is essential to reduce potential risks and harm, equally important is the ability to stay calm under pressure. Crisis situations at sea can be chaotic and stressful—even for experienced and highly-skilled mariners—but maintaining your composure and communicating clearly is crucial for effective decision-making and coordination.
4. Never stop learning. No matter where you are in your career, there is always room for growth. Aim for continuous improvement, and seek opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills. Not only will learning new things give you a sense of achievement, but it will increase your mental wellbeing too. Share your expertise by mentoring junior crew members to enhance safety, skills, compliance, and efficiency within the industry.
5. Prioritize self-care. The demanding work environment of a professional mariner can take a toll, physically and mentally. Therefore, taking care of yourself is vital to performing your duties efficiently and reducing the risk of accidents. Make healthy, nutritious food choices, and build some exercise time into your schedule. Manage your available rest hours to ensure proper sleep, and find ways to manage and reduce stress.
6. Protect your USCG license. As a professional mariner, one mishap could put your credentials, career and financial future on the line. That’s why you need to safeguard your USCG license with marine license insurance. This type of policy provides fully-paid legal representation and defense if you’re involved in an incident that leads to action against your USCG license. One standout provider of this coverage is MOPS Marine License Insurance. MOPS draws on 85 years of experience and collaborates with over 100 highly-qualified admiralty law firms across major U.S. ports, ensuring you get the best legal support when you need it most.
The job of a professional mariner is fraught with a variety of challenges and risks. But by making and, importantly, keeping these New Year’s resolutions, you not only help protect your livelihood and financial future, but also contribute to a safer and more professional maritime industry for everyone. Here’s to a safe and happy new year!