Regardless of the fact that safety onboard ocean-going merchant ships has greatly improved over the past century, seafaring is still considered as a high-risk occupation compared to shore-based industries. Such dire characterisation, however, does not do justice to the overall general safety of living and working onboard ships nowadays. Considering the contexts in which modern merchant vessels operate – multi-ethnic crewing, commercial pressure, reduced manning, extended social isolation, constantly changing weather conditions, etc., -merchant ships are in fact doing quite well in mitigating the occurrence of maritime accidents. What contributes to the general safety of working onboard merchant ships? To explain this, we look at the role of collective mind and heedful interactions (Weick and Roberts 1993) and how they apply to operations at sea. However, though collective mind and heedful interactions help shape ship management operations, there is something about organisational performance and socialities onboard that betoken further consideration. We need another frame to better understand it. Contextually sutured by issues related to power hierarchy, ethnic mix and work precarity, on top of collective mind and heedful interactions, this article submits that sense of place is at work in the organisation of safety and smooth operations onboard ships. Along these lines, sense of place fills in the gap, allowing for the socialisation of seafarers into the rules and expectations of the workplace for successful operations. It orients them to the dyadic social divide between officers and ratings and nationalities and the space they move around ships which in turn assists them to adapt to and participate in the structured and well-choreographed life onboard. The data which underpins this article were gathered from four merchant vessels and informal conversations with seafarers in four seafarers’ centres in the UK between 2010 and 2019.