Fit For Duty

Fit For Duty

Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly are challenges for almost everyone but especially if you are following a seafaring career.

Sure, it is tough to find the time and motivation to devote to a healthy diet and exercise routine but the mental and physical benefits of following a healthy lifestyle are significant, and the bottom line is that consistently healthy choices lead to a longer life. The greatest wealth is our health!

In 2018 we are focusing on improving the health and well- being of all Uniteam Marine Seafarers. At the 2018 Officer Owner Event, which will be held in Yangon we launch our Health initiative. We will have very special guest speakers talking about nutrition, food safety, physical and mental health to educate and inspire us all to live healthy life.

Have you ever heard the Latin phrase ‘mens sana in corpore sano’? Usually translated as “a healthy mind in a healthy body” the proverb which is of Greek origin insists that the mind and body should be both healthy and sound. A healthy person can think normally and act instantly in any given situation. A sound body means a healthy body, free from diseases. A sound mind means a mind capable of good, positive and free-thinking mind.

The food you eat can either be the safest & most powerful form of medicine… or the slowest form of poison. We all certainly have some choices. Better health is central to human happiness and well-being.


  • 1/3 of all cancers are preventable.
  • Smokers can lose 1/3 of their everyday memory.
  • 33% of those who drink four or more caffeinated beverages, such as soda or coffee, daily are put at a higher risk for sleep apnea

Hectic work schedules and stress can make seafarers a part of the ‘unhealthy’ population, which is according to various statistics, on the rise. Of course, if staying fit and being active was easy, this wouldn’t have been the case. It is difficult to change habits and diets sometimes but to share with you a few useful tips with you that you might consider;


Try to consume a balanced and healthier meal at home and on board. Seafarers normally can choose to have a meal that includes fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meats. Have white meat ‘grilled, roasted or steamed’ rather than fried. Brown rice is also better than white. But if it’s not avail- able, you can just perhaps reduce your white rice intake. Breakfast should not be skipped – it is the most important meal of the day. Seafarers need the right energy levels to do effective and safe work.

Try to detoxify daily. Take the ‘8 Glass Challenge’! Try to drink eight (8) glasses of water a day as this will help cleanse your body of all toxins that may weaken your immune system which can lead to sickness.

Minimize alcohol intake as possible at home and onboard if your company adheres to such a policy.
At home or when possible on board take the ‘Milk Challenge’! Drink milk instead of carbonated drinks. Milk gives calcium that our body needs for stronger bones, which most seafarers should have because of the nature of their work at sea.


Do brisk walk or jog at home. On board, if the weather is good, seafarers can do a brisk walk around the ship. This will awaken your body.
If possible, maintain a daily workout by engaging in any sports activity that is available on board. This will not only exercise your body, but it will also boost the camaraderie among your shipmates.

Keep in communication with family and friends as much as possible. With WIFI available onboard some ships and in many ports, this should be easier than it ever was. Talking and seeing pictures and videos of your family and friends will help lessen any stress you may acquire while you are on board.

Always have a positive attitude. Seafarers need to adjust to the changes that may happen on the ship. Being open- minded will broaden not only your knowledge but your skill in listening to others side. No matter how hard the situation keeping a positive attitude will make a big difference.

And finally rest… apparently, a person will die from lack of sleep sooner than they will from starvation, which usually takes a few weeks.

I leave you with one final thought; ‘to keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.’ []

Richard Knighton, Fleet Personnel Deputy Director