Why Maritime Physicals Are So Specialized

It’s Not Easy Being a Mariner

The life of a mariner can be tough, but also exciting work for those who choose a life on the water. The physical demands and long hours of the job can push the seafarers to their limits, which is why physical evaluations for these seafaring men and women are so important. In the Coast Guard or Merchant Marine Navy, ships are out to sea for months at a time so it is vitally important that those working on the ships have the physical stamina to keep up with the pace and the sometimes exhausting hours.

A Mariner’s physical gives the prospective employer a window into whether or not you are in the shape necessary to physically handle the demands that life on a ship require.

Specialized Physicals for Mariners

A Mariner’s physical is slightly different from a normal physical, more in depth and focused on assessing the ability to do specific things required of the job at sea.

For example, aboard a ship you have to be able to maintain balance on uneven, unstable and definitely slippery surfaces, be able to climb ladders, fit into tight spaces and stand for long periods of time, the list goes on. And let’s face it, no one wants to be stuck out to sea with coworkers who can’t pull their own weight, and they want you to be able to pull yours as well. A maritime physical is a crucial part of making sure that you and those you work with are up to the task.  

Aside from gathering the medical history of mariner candidates, the evaluation tries to mimic, in a way, the very things required aboard ship. For example, onboard a ship you will need to be able to move between tight spaces and compartments that are sometimes no more than 24×24 inches. As part of the maritime physical you will be required to demonstrate this ability. The examiner will also make sure you can climb up and down vertical ladders, lift and carry at least 40 pounds, and crouch, kneel and crawl without assistance among other things. These skills and abilities could save your life and that of others in the case of an emergency like a shipboard fire. 

Knowing you are in good physical shape will set the employer’s, and your, mind at ease. Eyesight testing will be administered to make sure you can distinguish an object or shape at a certain distance and will test for colorblindness. This tells the examiner whether or not you have the ability to recognize visual alarms and instructions such as during onboard emergency response procedures.  

Audio testing will determine whether you can hear at a specified decibel level to ensure that you can hear audible alarms and instructions, not only in an emergency but also because life on the water can be LOUD.  

Thinking of making life on the water a career? A Maritime physical will ensure that you have what it takes for that physically demanding but rewarding job.

Need a Maritime Physical in Hampton Roads, VA?

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