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Seaman Cover Letter Example

Not everyone has what it takes to be a seaman. Your cover letter is the best place to highlight your key skills and qualifications. We’ll show you how to write a compelling seaman cover letter to ensure the best job catch.
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Seaman Cover Letter Example
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Whether you are catching crab or mackerel, working on the high seas is a risky business requiring teamwork skills, physical resilience, and technical proficiency. A safety-conscious personality and risk-averse attitude is essential.

These personal attributes are difficult to convey in a factual resume, so the able seaman cover letter should explore just how they go about their work. They can tell stories about when they overcame maritime obstacles, dealt with equipment failures, and processed the disappointments of poor catches. Life as a seaman is not always romantic – it can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Your seaman cover letter should show that you can ride out the storm when the going gets tough.

There is nothing fishy about this seaman cover letter example and guide (as well as our dozens of other cover letter examples and writing guides). Resume.io will share our technical specification for cover letter writing success. Your future crew mates will be reading your letter – here is what you might want to think about:

  • How to choose the best cover letter format for your seaman career shanty
  • How to make the most of the introduction, header section and conclusion
  • What approach to take when writing the cover letter
  • What mistakes to avoid with your seaman cover letter

Best format for a seaman cover letter

We are sure that you are accustomed to telling your stories when you return back to port, but a one-page cover letter is very different to a rambling chat with your land-lubber friends and family. Which aspects of your seaman career do you cover? What will be important for your future captain and crew mates? Most importantly, how do you structure the cover letter so that your stories are easily remembered? 

The seaman cover letter format will not differ from a normal cover letter. This job search sales pitch is a tried-and-tested formula:

  • 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 call-to-action)

The content of each of these paragraphs can contain the individual stories that are most likely to get the boat captain putting that life jacket over your head. By all means, talk about your core duties and greatest achievements, but make sure that you are positioning yourself as an expert in the specifics of each future role. You need to get your research hat on first.

Also, make sure that there is a mix of interpersonal soft skills (you need to get things done with your crew mates) and technical skills (you need to be proficient using both equipment and technology). Share any unique qualifications that you might possess and give the captain an idea of your industry experience.

Our comprehensive cover letter guide shares insights into font style, size and length as well as a number of other general considerations to make your seaman cover letter as impressive as possible. Have a look at the adaptable seaman cover letter example below:

Adaptable cover letter example

Dear Mr. Young, 

From a young age, I have had a passion for the sea. I was first drawn to work as a seaman by my love of getting swept up in one of the world's most expansive treasures – the ocean. 

Throughout my years of experience as a seaman, I have continued to develop my knowledge and qualifications. I found myself drawn to your job advert primarily for the fact that your company is such a highly reputable one. 

My experience to date has included supporting fishing vessels and getting my hands dirty through deck maintenance, including greasing, painting, and cleaning. 

I am the type of character that likes to get involved, and I believe there is no job too big or too small. I will always support my decking crew with anything they need, as well as the wider fishery team. 

Security is a priority for a seaman, and I will always keep a watchful eye out, night or day. 

I feel that I would be a great asset to your organisation not only because of my substantial experience, but also my love for working out on the sea. It is something I would be happy to do 24/7. 

I would welcome any questions you have and am always happy to discuss your needs in more detail.

Sincerely, 

Ben West

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Cover letter header

The seaman cover letter header should reflect the efficiency with which they go about their work. It is a no-frills contact section, detailing their full name, email, and mobile number. Don’t be tempted to share quirky graphics or color schemes – they want to hire someone who is down-to-earth and sensible.

You obviously won’t need to list the address of the boat captain at the top of the letter (just write their name and maybe the name of the boat). You might decide to list your town and state of residence, but you won’t have to share your full address until the offer stage.

Have a look at the header from our adaptable seaman cover letter sample:

Cover letter greeting

Seamen are not overly formal people, but at the start of a job search there needs to be an appropriate amount of respect for a boat captain that you have not yet met. Start with a “Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs Surname” just to be safe. Don’t be tempted with the informal “Hi.”

Make sure that you find out the name of the captain. Seamen work incredibly closely with their colleagues, so show that this personal angle matters to you. “To Whom It May Concern” will ensure that your seaman cover letter gets thrown overboard.

Cover letter introduction

The introduction should cut to the chase of exactly why you need to be on that boat. What are the specifics of your fishing story that will come in particularly useful? Have a look at the job description and think carefully about the standout aspects of your experience. 

Every seaman job is different, so give some quantifiable context to your career stories. Your future boss can then relate that to the reality on their boat. Make sure that your seaman cover letter introduction touches on how you achieved things alongside your crew mates. There are few jobs where people are more closely woven together into a tight unit.

This adaptable seaman cover letter example introduction does exactly that:

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Dear Mr. Young, 

From a young age, I have had a passion for the sea. I was first drawn to work as a seaman by my love of getting swept up in one of the world's most expansive treasures – the ocean. 

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Cover letter middle part (body)

Going to sea is a demanding role, so the middle part, or body, of the cover letter should be packed with evidence that you have what it takes – both from a professional and personal point of view. 

Share your competitive nature – after all, you always want to catch more. Tell a story about a dangerous experience and how you saved the day. Let your future boss know that you understand how things work on their boat and explain in detail how exactly you will improve their team. There is no place for generic statements in a seaman cover letter – every job will be very different in its demands. Make sure that you tailor every letter.

In terms of your technical skills, it is worth sharing any unique qualifications that you may possess. Don’t share anything that is standard – only the things that will put you at an advantage over the other applicants. Find the body of our cover letter sample further down.

Expert tip

If Every seaman is a proficient storyteller, but if you are having trouble telling your stories concisely, the STAR method may help. Outline the Situation and Task that you faced, share the Actions that you took and the Result that ensued. Be as brief as possible – this is just a conversation starter that you will be able to expand upon at interview.

Adaptable cover letter body example

Throughout my years of experience as a seaman, I have continued to develop my knowledge and qualifications. I found myself drawn to your job advert primarily for the fact that your company is such a highly reputable one. 

My experience to date has included supporting fishing vessels and getting my hands dirty through deck maintenance, including greasing, painting, and cleaning. 

I am the type of character that likes to get involved, and I believe there is no job too big or too small. I will always support my decking crew with anything they need, as well as the wider fishery team. 

Security is a priority for a seaman, and I will always keep a watchful eye out, night or day. 

Copied!

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

The conclusion is time to share one last insight into your character – after all you will be spending many long hours at sea with the crew. Your personality is arguably as important as your experience. Be honest – don’t pretend to be someone that you are not.

Finish the seaman cover letter on an optimistic note and say that you are looking forward to the opportunity of meeting and finding out more. This call-to-action is entirely normal and it may prompt the captain to email an interview invite there and then. Let’s hope so.

Here is a sample of a seaman cover letter sample conclusion:

Adaptable cover letter conclusion and sign-off example

I feel that I would be a great asset to your organisation not only because of my substantial experience, but also my love for working out on the sea. It is something I would be happy to do 24/7. 

I would welcome any questions you have and am always happy to discuss your needs in more detail.

Sincerely, 

Ben West

Copied!

Basic mistakes in a seaman cover letter (and how to avoid them)

When you are a seaman, mistakes can result in a lost catch or a lost life. You need to be fully alert at all times, which is incredibly hard when you are pulling an 18-hour shift on deck. Watch out for these mistakes on your seaman cover letter – they may hint at a broader careless attitude. Perception is critical at the beginning of a job search.

  • Spelling and grammar mistakes: Seamen hardly need to write at all in their role, but the perception of your attention to detail and accuracy will take a hit if your cover letter is filled with grammatical and spelling errors. Use an online checker such as Grammarly and ask a friend to proofread the seaman cover letter.
  • Talking about responsibilities: Any seaman can parrot the responsibilities of the role in a cover letter. You should go beyond what is expected and talk about how you went above and beyond to make your difference.
  • Too conversational: A boat is obviously a chatty and friendly working environment, but don’t fall into the trap of being too conversational in your cover letter. It might be interpreted as a lack of professionalism – and that would be fatal to your chances.

Key takeaways

  1. Write a cover letter specific to the nature of the specific seaman role
  2. Share stories about adversity, unusual situations and solving problems as a team.
  3. Finish on a personal note and say that you are looking forward to finding out more.
  4. Look at our seaman cover letter sample for more inspiration.
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