A ship is a demanding working environment both physically and mentally. Therefore, the cornerstone of the seafarer's working ability is seaworthiness. It is regulated by national and international acts.
In Finland, the seafarers take the seaman's medical examination every second year.
The seafarer must have
- sufficient sight (depending on the duty colour vision may also be required);
- sufficient hearing and ability to speak for efficient communication;
- sufficient physical ability to manage emergency situations and rescue operations.
The seafarer must not have
- a defect, disability or illness that may prevent or significantly hinder his work or managing emergency situations;
- a defect, disability or illness that worsens at work on a ship or makes him disable to marine service or endangers other peoples' safety or health;
- a medication with side effects that impair judgement, balance or other requirement for managing duties or surviving in emergency situations.
If the seafarer is under 18 years of age, a doctor must ensure that the work on board does not harm the young person's health or personal development.
Ship work requires well-functioning musculoskeletal system, balance and body management. At work on a ship, you move a lot in stairs, cramped spaces and on slippery decks. The noise level may be very high, especially in the engine room. Weather conditions are often stressing.
On board, you work and spend your free time in the same company, away from your family and friends. Therefore, mental balance is required for the seafarer. Sociability and adaptability are crucial for well-being and working environment.