Navigating love on high seas: A seafarer’s journey to finding perfect partner

For many seafarers, navigating the high seas means battling loneliness, spending long stretches away from loved ones, and missing out on social life. As a result, finding a life partner who understands and is patient with their demanding profession poses a significant challenge, given that they often spend six to ten months at sea fulfilling their contracts.

KC Abigail Chin-Sood, a 35-year-old Filipino seafarer from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, required understanding, support, and trust in her personal relationships, due to the male-dominated nature of her profession.

KC sought and waited for someone who could navigate the challenges of her career without jealousy or malice and who would wholeheartedly support her goals.

“In an industry dominated by men, finding a partner who doesn’t view my career with suspicion is crucial,” KC told Maritime Fairtrade in an interview. “I was looking for someone who can understand my work as a seafarer, who isn’t jealous in a malicious way, and who could support my goals in life.”

For KC, humility, understanding, respect, and a steady presence are important qualities in a partner suited to the seafaring lifestyle. She admitted that she struggled to find someone who met those criteria until she met her husband, a fellow seafarer who fully understands her profession and supports her goals in life.

KC with her husband Saurabh Sood.

Meeting at sea

KC first met her Indian husband, Saurabh Sood, in 2017 while both were working onboard the same ship. He served as a chief officer, while she worked as an ordinary seaman. According to KC, their first interactions were minimal, limited to casual greetings amidst their busy schedules.

“Our communication remained consistent, albeit limited to casual inquiries like ‘How are you?’ or ‘Are you onboard?’ We were not each other’s confidants but talked occasionally,” she shared.

Their relationship began to flourish in 2019 when they crossed paths again, with KC now a third officer. His unchanged affable personality, coupled with a respectful courtship post-contract, solidified their bond.

KC described how, following their contract, he respectfully courted her. However, both were cautious about keeping their relationship discreet, hoping to avoid negative comments from other crew members and their belief in the evil eye.

“We were cautious about our relationship due to potential criticisms, but our shared values and respect for each other prevailed,” she recalled.

Despite their different nationalities, their relationship deepened over time. Reflecting on their journey, she cherished their love story and is now happily married for two years.

KC with her crew mates.

Qualities to complement seafaring lifestyle

Finding a partner to complement the seafaring lifestyle requires respecting each other’s roles and contributions to the relationship and family life—emotionally, physically, and financially.

Constant communication is crucial for creating a strong partnership based on mutual trust and respect. These qualities are vital when one partner works away at sea, and both must work to keep a healthy and flourishing relationship.

KC made sure to embody the principles of her late father, who was also a seafarer, and sought these same qualities in a partner.

“I consider myself fortunate to have found a husband who not only embodies my father’s qualities but also shares my profession as a seafarer,” she said.

Their mutual trust and respect, strengthened by working in the same company, provide a foundation of peace and ease in their relationship.

According to KC, she appreciates Saurabh’s maturity and unwavering support, saying it is vital to face the challenges of life at sea. “We’re both seafarers, so we face the challenges together,” she said.

Saurabh’s presence serves as a guiding force and empowers KC to navigate tough times.

“He serves as my anchor during tough times at sea,” she said, highlighting the significance of having a reliable companion by her side.

KC Abigail Chin-Sood.

Communication and trust

Communication and trust serve as lifelines in any relationship, especially for seafarers who spend extended periods apart.

For KC and her husband, prioritizing time to talk despite their busy schedules is essential. This consistent communication keeps their relationship healthy and provides emotional support, easing the stress of being apart whenever one of them is onboard and the other is not.

“Having someone to share problems will lessens the burden and supports our mental and emotional well-being,” KC shared, emphasizing that this connection is crucial for seafarer couples. “It helps maintain the relationship and ensures both partners remain updated on each other’s lives,” she added.

When asked how they both support each other’s dreams, ensuring that their professional ambitions do not negatively affect their relationship, KC said, “We respect each other’s decisions and strive to balance our careers with our personal lives.”

Overcoming misconceptions and challenges

Seafarers often face misconceptions and challenges when seeking a compatible partner.

Differences in nationality or religion, for instance, can lead to assumptions about the relationship being financially motivated.

However, KC believes that love, respect, trust, and understanding can bridge any gap. “My parents taught me not to give up when things get tough. Instead, we should fight to overcome challenges and emerge stronger,” she said.

For KC, nurturing a bond built on mutual respect and resilience is key, regardless of external differences or judgments.

Advice for fellow seafarers

Although she never dreamt of becoming a seafarer as a child, KC, who has been a seafarer for 10 years, now loves her profession and bravely navigates the high seas, striving to give her best and excel in every way possible.

KC, who is also a vlogger, aims to prove she is more than just a woman. “I am a woman who can change her fate by rejecting outdated mindsets and discrimination.”

She is currently enjoying her vacation in the Philippines after finishing her contract, while her husband Saurabh is still onboard fulfilling his vessel assignment.

As a vlogger, she regularly creates content on her social media accounts on YouTube and Facebook under the name ‘KC Seafarer TV’, aiming to inspire and help her fellow and aspiring seafarers by sharing posts related to seafaring and her experiences at sea.

When asked what advice she would give to fellow seafarers struggling to find a partner that complements a seafaring lifestyle, KC said, “Choose a partner who genuinely cares about your well-being and serves as your anchor during rough times.”

KC emphasized the importance of building dreams together, ensuring mutual respect and understanding, and ignoring external criticism to maintain a strong relationship.

“What matters most is the bond shared and how it is nurtured over time,” she said, adding that this allows both partners to grow together amidst the challenges of a seafaring career. 

All photos credit: KC Seafarer TV

Top photo: KC Abigail Chin-Sood

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