Living and working conditions of seamen differ fundamentally from those of employees working ashore due to unusual working hours, monotony during long cruises, separation from their social environment, especially from their families, as well as psychosocial problems e. g. due to multicultural crews (1). Seafarers often state long separation from their families and long stay on board as the currently most important stressors on board ship (2,3,4).
Welfare on board and leisure time activities including sport events, library and films aim to promote seafarers’ well-being on worksite and during leisure time. According to the Siegrist’s "effort-reward" model threatening job conditions are defined as a mismatch between high workload (high demand) and low control over long-term rewards (5). This model emphasizes that jobs characterized by a perceived imbalance between high effort and low rewards are stressful and will lead to negative health outcomes, particularly in persons with limited coping abilities - such as seafarers. Referring to seafaring improvements of the leisure times possibilities pose a job-related reward and can contribute to seafarer’s health promotion.
The well-being on worksite is not only a matter of medical care (e.g. to prevent burnout or psychosomatic diseases), but has also an impact on economical aspects. Shipping companies have reduced costs related to rescue actions, unintended disembarkation due to health reasons, hospitalization abroad, repatriation, death at sea and lost of well-skilled workers. Considering the care of the human factor and the mentioned economical implications shipping companies should be highly interested to promote the seafarer’s well-being on board. Further, insurance institution will save money for indemnities to be paid if work-related accidents are prohibited. Additionally, a prolongation of the seafarers’ period of service at sea is of high social importance (6).
In total, there are several reasons to improve the life-quality on board, especially the leisure time as an important source of recreation in a stressful job on ships.