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Written by Paul DruryPaul Drury

Seaman cover letter example

Use this Seaman cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Seaman positions in 2024. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.
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Seaman cover letter example
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As an able seaman’s daily work directly impacts the lives and livelihoods of their crew mates, how they go about their work is as important as what they do. Safety is paramount in many situations, so a seaman cover letter should convey their approach to their work as well as their previous experience. They need to show that they can be trusted. A series of interviews will be central to making this decision, but the first evidence should be provided in the cover letter.

A seaman's career can contain many unexpected perils, so the seaman cover letter can tell a few of the less common stories from your career and show that you have what it takes when adversity hits. Simply repeating the duties of the role will not impress anyone – your cover letter should demonstrate adaptability, calmness under pressure and an iron will to get through even the toughest of situations. Telling the unusual stories shows that you are someone who is ready for the unexpected.

Working with others to solve problems and having an attitude of excellence to doing your part in the team should be essential ingredients of any seaman cover letter. Personality fit will play a bigger part in the seaman hiring process as you will be spending a lot of time with your crew mates. Be yourself and you will find a like-minded group of colleagues.

This cover letter guide and seaman cover letter example are part of our 125+ free cover letter samples that show you how to get the most out of this important document and land an interview for your desired seaman position. Writing a cover letter its very different to writing a resume, so let's get into the detail.

In this seaman cover letter example guide, we will explore:

  • A seaman cover letter format that creates the right structure for your story.
  • What information to include in the introduction, middle part and cover letter close.
  • How to write a seaman cover letter if you have no seaman experience.
  • Psychological tips to consider and basic mistakes to avoid when you write.
Statistical insight

According to Zippia, 14.6% of merchant seamen had bachelor’s degrees. As higher education is not a key requirement, teasing out the right aspects of your past experience and personality will play a significant role.

Best format for seaman cover letter example

Every seaman has plenty of stories to tell, but how should you structure the format of the seaman cover letter and which stories can you tell in which parts? Every story needs a compelling beginning, solid middle and memorable end and a seaman cover letter is no different. For this reason, how a cover letter is structured is similar for most roles:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting / salutation
  • The cover letter intro
  • The middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
  • The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)
Expert tip

This cover letter example guide is intended to offer a few specific tips for a seaman cover letter, but there are many more general ideas in our comprehensive cover letter example. You may have a colourful past that encompasses far more than a seaman’s core duties, so consider writing a seaman cover letter from as many angles as possible. There are so many transferable skills that can be incorporated into the role.

Here is a seaman cover letter example that could spark some creativity:

Adaptable cover letter example

Dear Mr. Winterburn,

Working on a crabbing vessel taught me everything I need to know about operating and maintaining fishing equipment and machinery.

The Barents Sea was a tough initiation into the profession. After my move to Canada, I realize that lobster fishing is no less challenging. In my previous role, I was responsible for a variety of tasks, including deck maintenance, line handling, and navigation. I am comfortable working with various types of equipment and technology, and am confident that I can quickly adapt to new systems.

I hold all necessary licenses and certifications, including STCW Basic Safety Training and the Able Seaman certification. I am also familiar with maritime regulations and safety protocols. My previous boat was equipped with the latest technology, and I oversaw sourcing new technology. A sonar system that I suggested was partly responsible for a volume uplift of 41% for the season and new safety equipment ensured 74% fewer minor injuries.

In terms of supporting the ship’s captain, I have experience of navigation and steering a 60-70ft fishing vessel. I possess strong navigation skills and can steer a vessel in busy shipping lanes with confidence and accuracy. It is important to maintain alertness and ensure careful decision-making. I am a reliable and dependable crew mate.

I look forward to the opportunity of joining your crew on a trip to understand the fit of personalities and experience levels. I have heard many good things about your crew.

Sincerely,

Raymond Sunderton

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Cover letter header

Any maritime captain will put efficiency and simplicity right at the top of their priority list, so the seaman cover letter header should contain the essentials of their application with a minimum of fuss. Avoid quirky graphics and a bright color scheme at all costs.

The cover letter header should contain the contact details of the candidate – their full name, email address and maybe social media profile (to show their passion for fishing). If these details are missing, the hiring manager may wonder what they are hiding. When personality matters so much, why are they being coy about being able to be checked out properly?

Make yourself easy to contact. If the header section contains all the required information, the reader can quickly mentally move on to the more important aspects of the seaman cover letter: your experience and your story. Don’t be cute with the email address: [email protected] could imply that you don’t take your job seriously enough. Use a private email with your name and a common provider.

You don't have to include your full home address in the cover letter. There are data protection issues here, so only share the full address where you are at the offer stage. Keep the header section as uncluttered as possible.

Goal of the cover letter header: Give the basic information in the most unobtrusive way and pick a simple design for the cover letter header that does not distract from your story.

Cover letter greeting

A seaman cover letter does not need to be overly formal as writing is not a core expectation of their role, but they nonetheless need to greet their prospective boss correctly. Getting the right name (with the correct spelling) as basic courtesy, so check and double check the job description. If you do not know the name, a quick phone call to the company will not hurt and it may even give you an opportunity to find out a little more about the role or the culture.

Goal of letter greeting: Start the seaman cover letter off on the right footing.

Adaptable cover letter greeting example

Dear Mr. Winterburn,

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 Cover letter introduction

The introduction of a seaman cover letter should show that you understand the specific demands of the role and how your previous experience shows that you will be the person for the job. Be specific, give examples and show some personality.

As teamwork is such a key requirement for a seaman, showing that you have years of experience in cooperating with others (in various settings) is a great way to start the letter. Your employer will not be looking for a lone wolf. A seaman cover letter introduction that depicts you at the heart of a well-functioning team is a great way to start. Include how you have worked with your previous crew mates to do your daily jobs. Don't make your cover letter all about you. 

Goal of the cover letter intro: You know what qualities really matter as a seaman – make sure that your future boss gets a flavour of them in the cover letter introduction.

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Working on a crabbing vessel taught me everything I need to know about operating and maintaining fishing equipment and machinery.

Copied!

Cover letter middle part (body)

The body of the seaman cover letter is where you expand on your experience and tell a couple of stories that both fit with the role in question and also serve to help you stand out from the competition. If the stories aren’t relevant, they will be discounted. If they are common to many others, they will fade into obscurity.

Don’t fall into the trap of simply repeating the job description in your seaman cover letter. The middle part of the letter should draw the reader into your story and explain just how you make your unique difference with what you do on the boat. As mentioned earlier, the safety and wellbeing of your crew mates depends on how you do things as well as what you do. Give context to what you share and quantify your exploits wherever possible.

While a cover letter should be written from a first-person perspective, roles that involve a lot of teamwork should also mention the achievements of those around them in a cover letter. A seaman is a cog in an incredibly click machine, so when you credit others during your job search, you are tipping your hat to the fact that you are only part of a whole. Humility is a vital characteristic of a seaman. You are nothing without your crew mates.

It might seem obvious, but it is important to mention some of the crucial personal qualities that every seaman should possess. Maybe delve into your motivations for those long sea voyages or give an insight into your competitive nature. Going to sea is a tough job on many levels, so your future employer will want to know why exactly you do it.

Goal of the body of your cover letter: Make sure that the core of your seaman cover letter is relevant and unique as well as positioning yourself as a member of the wider crew.

Adaptable cover letter body example

The Barents Sea was a tough initiation into the profession. After my move to Canada, I realize that lobster fishing is no less challenging. In my previous role, I was responsible for a variety of tasks, including deck maintenance, line handling, and navigation. I am comfortable working with various types of equipment and technology, and am confident that I can quickly adapt to new systems.

I hold all necessary licenses and certifications, including STCW Basic Safety Training and the Able Seaman certification. I am also familiar with maritime regulations and safety protocols. My previous boat was equipped with the latest technology, and I oversaw sourcing new technology. A sonar system that I suggested was partly responsible for a volume uplift of 41% for the season and new safety equipment ensured 74% fewer minor injuries.

In terms of supporting the ship’s captain, I have experience of navigation and steering a 60-70ft fishing vessel. I possess strong navigation skills and can steer a vessel in busy shipping lanes with confidence and accuracy. It is important to maintain alertness and ensure careful decision-making. I am a reliable and dependable crew mate.

Copied!

How to close a seaman cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

The most important thing that a captain is looking for in a seaman is someone that they will be able to work well with and get on with. When you are spending long hours at sea, you will be looking for a kindred spirit. The conclusion of a seaman cover letter should share one last insight into your character before a potential future boss decides to invite you to interview.

Hopefully, by now your resume and cover letter have done their job, so the last lines of the seaman cover letter should finish on the strongest possible note. Ask for the interview in a polite and non-presumptuous way. If your application is a good fit, there is nothing wrong with saying that you are looking forward to a potential meeting and understanding more about the details of the role.

Goal of the closing: Give them one last personality-led reason to hire you and don’t shy away from saying that you are looking forward to a possible interview.

Adaptable cover letter conclusion example

I look forward to the opportunity of joining your crew on a trip to understand the fit of personalities and experience levels. I have heard many good things about your crew.

Sincerely,

Raymond Sunderton

Copied!

Writing psychology: mistakes to avoid in your seaman cover letter

Communication skills are important for a seaman, but writing skills are not high on the wish list, so while you likely will not be judged too harshly for any mistakes or typos in a seaman cover letter, they do hint at a lack of attention to detail which can be incredibly dangerous when you are out on the high seas. When there are a number of applicants, you cannot afford for the following mistakes to put any doubt in the hiring manager’s mind:

  1. Grammatical and spelling issues: Take advantage of online spell-checking and grammar software such as Grammarly to ensure that any obvious errors have been picked up. Asking a friend to proofread the cover letter will also work.
  2. A friendly tone: You will be spending a lot of time with your future crew mates, so don’t be too formal in the tone of your letter. Write as if you are having a conversation with them – keep it light. See it as a monologue to begin the interview process.
  3. Generic examples: There is always a temptation to give generic examples and simply copy the responsibilities in the job description. Falling into this trap is the quickest way to find your way to the rejects pile – you have to find a way to stand out.
Expert tip

Getting the content of your cover letter right is half the battle. You also have to make sure that it is visually appealing. If you experiment with different formatting with Word software or somehow come up with a PDF version yourself, you risk your resume looking different on different browsers, etc. Save yourself the trouble with one of our expert-designed simple cover letter templates. Looks matter just as much as the detail.

Cover letter for seaman with no experience

There is considerable opportunity to start a career as a seaman with no previous experience. Your seaman cover letter with no experience should cover all the transferable skills that might be considered useful in a seaman career: ability to work with machinery, physical fitness, attention to detail, excellent communication skills, determination to cope with a difficult environment and an ability to work in a team when under constant pressure.

You will not be the only person that is applying with little experience, so don’t be apologetic about it. Describe the sort of person that you are and why you see your previous experience as being relevant. You have to show that you understand what the role entails, so don’t be afraid to make some links to what you will be expected to do.

Key takeaways

  1. Show that you have the skills and personality to excel at one of the most demanding roles in the world. Being a seaman is hard work – both physically and mentally.
  2. Use the seaman cover letter format to set out your story in a logical way.
  3. Getting a job as a seaman with no experience is possible but you have to use your seaman cover letter to match your past with your future potential.
  4. Check for silly mistakes as attention to detail is a key attribute for the job.
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