According to the latest edition of the Seafarers Happiness Index, connectivity is the top factor in retaining seafarers. Peter Schellenberger, Director and Founder of Novamaxis, emphasized the importance of connectivity during a customer seminar in Singapore. He stated that connectivity ranked higher than shore leave and contract adherence.
A game-changer in terms of crew connectivity is the Starlink low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications service. This service offers higher bandwidth at a lower cost, leading to what Schellenberger describes as a “small revolution” in the industry. Already, 7,000 vessels have adopted Starlink since its launch earlier this year.
Improved connectivity, however, has its challenges. Schellenberger noted that seafarers may become more isolated as they retreat to their cabins with their digital devices. To counter this, there is a need to redefine the incentives and activities that engage and encourage communication among crew members.
To promote social interaction, it is suggested that recreational spaces onboard should be equipped with facilities like proper gym equipment, table football, table tennis, board games, and live streaming TV. Schellenberger expressed surprise at the number of vessels lacking such basic amenities.
In addition to the challenges posed by better connectivity, there is a concern that the demands and requirements on seafarers from the shore will increase. This highlights the need for a balance between improved connectivity and the overall well-being and engagement of seafarers.
By prioritizing connectivity and addressing the associated challenges, the maritime industry can better retain its seafarers and ensure their overall satisfaction and happiness.