Rank Of An Able Bodied Seaman

Rank Of An Able Bodied Seaman

The Able-bodied Seaman (AB for short) is a deck rating forming part of the navigational watch. The Able-bodied Seaman is a rank higher than the Ordinary Seaman (OS) rank because the Able-bodied Seaman is an experienced seaman who has worked onboard a ship with a sea time experience of at least 24 months.

To Become An Able-bodied Seaman

To attend the rank of an able-bodied seaman requires sea experience, certifications, and training. The person must have been an Ordinary Seaman by rank with at least 12 months of sea experience to qualify to sit for the examination for Certificate of Proficiency (CoP) as Able-bodied Seaman Deck under the provision of the STCW Regulation II/5.

Qualities Of An Able-bodied Seaman

  • Good eyesight: the ability of clear vision is essential for the rank of an able-bodied seaman because the able-bodied seaman is a watchkeeper & a helmsman and must be able to see, especially during steering, to avoid collision accidents.
  • Good communication skills: communication is a key factor at sea or port. The able-bodied seaman should communicate in clear terms when reporting to the Office of the Watch (OOW) during navigational, sea & port watches and visitors because the able-bodied seaman is the first visitor coming onboard will meet at the gangway.
  • Body & Mind fitness: just as the name implies, the “Able-bodied” seaman must be fit in body and have a sound mind to carry out the responsibilities and duties attached to the rank.
  • Security consciousness: security is another essential factor on board a ship. The non-disabled seaman must be at alert always, especially during watch hours, to watch out for pirates, stowaways & thieves, or people who may want to begin onboard dangerous items or equipment that may disrupt the safe operation of the ship. In this regard, the Able-bodied Seaman is expected to have a good knowledge of the ISPS (International Ship and Port Security) Code for proper vessel and port security duties.

Duties and Responsibilities of an Able-bodied Seaman

By EI Kubyerta

The able-bodied seamen report to the Bosun and the Officer of the Watch during the watch hours. The duties and responsibilities of the non-disabled seaman are listed below but not limited to;

  • Watchkeeping
  • Steering (helmsman)
  • Deck maintenance
  • Assist during mooring operations
  • Assist in taking food supplies (provisions)
  • Taking soundings
  • Firefighter in case of fire outbreak
  • Assisting in recuse operations such as man overboard and enclosed space recuse operations.
  • Assist during bunkering operations

The able-bodied seamen can stand in for the Bosun if the Bosun is not available.
Onboard a ship, up to three non-disabled seamen may be attached to an officer of the watch. However, the manpower of non-disabled seaman may differ because of the size of the ship.

1 thought on “Rank Of An Able Bodied Seaman”

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