The phrase 水手 means ‘sailor’ in Chinese and is formed by two characters: 水 (water) and 手 (hand). The way I like to remember the phrase is by thinking that 水手 always give a hand (手) to keep a ship afloat on the water (水). In an emergency, you might even hear someone shout, ‘all hands on deck!’.
水手 definitely isn’t the easiest career. Besides being away from their families and friends for several months at a time, 水手s have a lot of responsibility. They must know how to navigate the ship, keep a constant eye out for any safety hazards, and be able to do a lot of hard physical labor and maintenance. Do you have any friends or relatives who are 水手s? Is being a 水手 something you’ve dreamed about?
Let’s review the phrase one more time before you go:
水手 (shui3 shou3) = 水 (Water) + 手 (Hand) = Sailor