The latest Seafarer Happiness Index noted a tension between increased connectivity and shipboard cohesion, as the overall happiness level dropped.
First quarter data brings a 7.1 reading out of 10, dropping from the 7.69 recorded in Q4 2022—an all-time high. Across the 10 areas that make up the index, connectivity was the only to record an increase, albeit a slight one.
“However, rather interestingly it was not all good news in this regard. The impact on social cohesion on board was mentioned, and it is clearly something which needs to be very carefully and considerately managed,” said the report.
The authors also noted a historical tendency for levels to start low at the beginning of the year and rise as the year progresses.
Access to welfare services and shore leave were the main problem areas identified again in the latest report. The shore leave happiness level dropped from 6.76 in Q4 2022 to 6.23 in the latest report, with COVID-19 restrictions still affecting crewmembers’ ability to go ashore.
“The inability to have shore leave or limited opportunities for going ashore were described as making life at sea boring and seriously affecting crew members’ well-being and lowering morale on board,” said the report.
Adding to the issue, some crew report being too tired or not having enough time to go ashore where it is possible.
“People do not interact, engage, or spend time in shared areas because there is not enough to entice or encourage them to do so. Seafarers feel that there is a massive hole at the centre of the onboard social experience. So, with that in mind many are more than happy with taking themselves off and simply being alone in their space, using online access as the consolation for a lack of cohesion” said the report.