I recently got hired as assistant cook on Oceania cruise. I had go through a medical exam. I failed the requirement of 20/20 eye sight. I can't see properly without glasses but with glasses my vision is good.

Does this kind of role generally require 20/20 vision?

  • 2
    @Dukeling It is not about a specific job, but about the general practice in the industry, which a person with experience in that industry can answer. – Masked Man Jun 14 '18 at 10:35
  • @MaskedMan indeed - there are general and well defined eyesight requirements for shipboard positions and while a specific operator might impose more stringent requirements the question is asking generally which we can answer (see my answer below) – motosubatsu Jun 14 '18 at 10:46

For any crew position in the maritime world, the medical requirements for any position classed as a "Seafarer" include a vision aspect. A "Seafarer" as per the Maritime Labour Convention is defined as:

A seafarer is any person, including a master, who is employed or engaged or works in any capacity on board a ship and whose normal place of work is on a ship.

Would seem to indicate that yes, someone in a culinary position whose "normal place of work" was a ship would count as a Seafarer and therefore be subject to the same medical requirements as anyone else on the crew including the vision requirements.

These requirements can be found in Appendix A of this document

You may not need to worry however since:

a) the vision requirements are not 20/20 (although individual operators are free to apply more stringent requirements than those required by regulations)


b) if your eyesight falls below the minimum for the seafarer certificate you can be issued an ENG1 certificate with the restriction ‘not fit for lookout duties’. Such a certificate means you can technically do things like being a chef and it will then be up to the company operating the ship whether they accept candidates who have this exclusion.

The best course of action at this point is to ask your manager if the "failure" is going to be an issue.

  • 4
    It heavily relies on the contract AFAIK. I was employed once on a cruise ship. Ship was registered in the Bahamas / Malta, as was the company. They often (usually?) skip all legal aspects of the "civilized countries" laws. Wages can be as low as $50 a week! You get only tips. But they pay for accomodation AND (often) medical expenses. That's why they require 20/20 for everything. You can't be sick, they want people 100% fit. You may have a "maritime contract", and that means you work only at sea, outside the territorial waters : no contract, no wages, no IRS, no laws... still happens nowadays. – OldPadawan Jun 14 '18 at 10:52
  • @OldPadawan I guess every industry has it's ethically dubious employers! :) – motosubatsu Jun 14 '18 at 10:57

Do I need to worry?

Probably not unless it was really a requirement. Most likely you'll be able to wear your glasses while cooking. Hopefully you had them with you.

You could certainly ask them about it.


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