Generally speaking, being fit and healthy and working on small oceangoing vessels do not usually go hand in hand. On tugs there are space issues that tend to limit the possibility of bringing workout equipment to work and storing it onboard, and unless you are particularly dedicated to calisthenics or bring a jump rope or weights or something, there aren’t many options. Down south I took to walking the deck in the evenings and doing sit-ups in my room. One night while doing push-ups and planks I pulled a muscle in my ribs and a few hours later on watch the pain sent a wave of nausea over me so intense I curled up in a chair for the next twenty minutes, unable to move. It was perfectly clear that a) I was more out of shape than I’ve ever been in my life and b) I have no idea how to work out efficiently (warm up? who needs a warm up when you’re doing planks?). As someone who had been involved in team sports most of my life, I was desperate. 

    Stern deck spin class: green mountains and jumping salmon make for a lovely view…
Then I came up here and ta-da!! No more will I boredom-eat junk food and skip meals trying to make up for it! No more will I mope around when I go home because none of my clothes fit me. I’d be lying if I said one of the biggest draws of Valdez wasn’t the fact that they have workout equipment on just about every boat in the fleet. Add to that real cooks who are dedicated to serving healthy, balanced meals (I’m talking kickass salad bars and not a deep-fryer in sight). We have a lovely stationary bike recently purchased by the company for this boat, and I’ve been trying to use it daily. It’s the worst when you’re so out of shape that you want to quit ten minutes in because your heart feels like it’s going to explode… But you have to start somewhere. Allow me to encourage other mariners to stay on top of their fitness, even though it’s really hard when you’re going to sea. The poor diet and lack of exercise tend to compound with bigger problems, and you don’t want to be dealing with health complications ten years down the road!

2 thoughts on “Wellness

  1. Elizabeth, I have followed your progress almost since day one from your post on G Captain. I had an interest in the MITAGS program out of Baltimore and (thanks in part to you) I will begin in October of this year! I hold a 50T Inland Masters and hope to expand that to Near Coastal in the days to come. You truly are a testament of how it should be done, with hard work and the endeavor to persevere. Congrats and I will continue to check in when I can. -Cpt. Jeff.


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