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Thread: Able seaman

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Able seaman

    This is the stcw requirements for qualified a.b. as per Australian seafarers, which will be the same for any flag states, as to the quality of the training given or the quality of the examination, that's a judgement I cannot say,
    Rgds
    J.A.
    https://www.edumaritime.net/stcw/gen...farer-deck-asd

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    Default Re: Able seaman

    Quote Originally Posted by Des Taff Jenkins View Post
    Glaring mistake on Wikipedia, They say that a seaman became an AB after two years at sea, try four, two as deck boy one as Junior Os and one as Senior Os, EDH, then an examination for AB. As for todays ABs totally different kettle of fish, I would class them as deck mechanics. Can they row, skull, splice a rope, or wire, rig a Jumbo, hang off an anchor, plenty of seamanship measures that are no longer in use but in an emergency all these OLD things and many more now lost might come in handy in saving their lives, after all the sea is king.
    Des
    Wikipedia is correct.
    For the past few decades the criteria has been that 6 months seatime was required to get an EDH certificate at which point the individual became an S1B/SG2 (the modern day equivalent of an OS), then a further two years seatime to get an ABs cert.
    The seatime requirement has recently been reduced again, it's now 6 months to get an EDH cert and then only another 12 months for an AB certificate.
    Last edited by Jim R Christie; 7th June 2022 at 01:06 PM.

  3. Thanks Doc Vernon, Des Taff Jenkins thanked for this post
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    Default Re: Able seaman

    My deck service 1963 to 1966. Then onwards.

    Deck boy 6 months
    J.0.S. 9 months
    S.O.S. 9 months
    At 18 yrs of age took E.D.H. & Lifeboat exam Passed. Dock street E.1 London.
    Then 1 Year further seagoing time. Then A.B. cert issued Dock street E.1 London
    A.B. rest of service.
    Last edited by Graham Payne; 7th June 2022 at 06:02 PM.
    Graham R774640

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    Default Re: Able seaman

    Jim
    I didn't know things had moved on so far. I suppose we will see Airline pilots flying planes after High school next.
    Des

    - - - Updated - - -

    John Post#!!
    Thanks for that post, it was an interesting read. One thing, unless that Windlass was a training one it looked a bit dangerous with his back against the rail, {No room to move} and the gap in front of his feet.
    Cheers Des
    Lest We Forget

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    Default Re: Able seaman

    My last job at sea (US Merchant Marine) was that of AB 10 years ago and I can report that in the US a at least, one can become an AB quite easily, assuming one can get a sea going posting ! Hardly any ships to sail on …
    I can report that the historic vessels ie., general cargo type that Senior (Volunteer) crew are “Old School” and walk through what the Coast Guard calls an Exam. Trouble is they will soon all be gone but fortunately some of the skills are being passed along to young volunteers who may never take their historic vessel foreign or even deep sea.
    The skills required to work aboard a Container ship are far removed from what I learned and have to confess my first trip back to sea on one was a real eye opener. First, I found that I was the only deck hand aboard any container ship I sailed, to carry a straight knife and marlin spike at all times except when at the wheel as still had a magnetic compass in addition to a gyro. Apparently I was supposed to have a folding clasp knife, mine was illegal ! What every deck hand did have was a
    a pair of long handled pliers, I forget their proper name, but I was to quickly learn they would become my most used tool by a long way !
    The only old skill I got to use was that of steering, lookout and heaving line handling. Everything else was entirely new to me as all tools were modern battery type with multiple attachments and most had different attachment methods. I was fine after an OS showed me how to make the changes for each tool but not before I felt such an idiot !
    Even paint was a learning curve and one needed to follow strict instructions in order to achieve the proper application mix. A lot of it was quite lethal stuff if got it on skin or breathed the fumes.
    The problem was that there were only 10 deck hands and a Bosun aboard 1000 ft
    vessel. Nine were watch keepers and one a day man. One was frequently working alone and at a great distance from any help or advice.
    Mooring was a huge project and all deck crew turned too, well ahead of arrival in order to pay out/flake the heavy (Passenger Liner type) ropes from the huge automatic windlass or winches as each rope had its own winch. Again a learned skill in their operation but okay once had worked at each position. My first trip back at sea found me working like a true first tripper with every task completely new And all my sea going years practically of little use.
    As the voyage progressed I came into my own and time and time again, despite having been away from actual deck work for many years, I was more than able to hold my own and often leading.
    The best thing was at the Union hall seamanship schoolin the basement, manned by an old salt but hardly ever a young sailor bothered to attend. I was able, through videos and kind encouragement, how to splice the new 8 and 12 strand mooring lines which hardly any guys I was to sail with knew anything about. Able to reacquaint myself with wire splicing as well and had a took full personal tool kit to sea on each trip even though rarely used as had shore personnel aboard to make repairs at major ports or replacement materials were only a few days away.
    Even though there were numerous mandatory classes and tests for just about anything,even one’s behavior, they were studied and completed on computers. Many of the tests were so easy they could be answered by guess without bothering to read the subject as were multiple choice. My feeling was that in order to equalize needed skills worldwide, the requirements were dumbed down
    to the lowest flag of convenience requirement in order to get everyone to agree to the new rules.
    In answer to the question … very few of the present day sailors could pass even an OS, written and oral exam of the late 1950 ‘s, especially the then new EDH exam. However, being alone in a huge cabin with own bathroom, a large empty fully equipped lounge as each guy seemingly always on their computer talking to home so no forced life sharing with shipmates. Even take their computers ashore during brief (mere hours) in port. A miserable existence to say the least. I did it for the money and the paid voyage time off (15 days for every 30 at sea ). Oh, the food was excellent and plentiful. Also no B S or God like captains ,.. was surprised how young, yet capable they were. That is my take on todays’ sailor, assuming they even manage to win a berth ! Cheers
    Keith Adams
    R570384

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    Default Re: Able seaman

    #15. Keith I did a bit of work from time to time with Tidewater a US company as you probably know. The Dickerson Tide I flew up to Papua New Guinea to pick her up on a bareboat charter to work on the Aussie coast with an Australian crew. In the 1990s by US Maritime law there had to be a percentage of US citizens on any US flagged vessel so I retained by choice the US master and US chief engineer and signed them on as 2 mate and 3 engineer and was right pleased to have them onboard. She was a shallow water seismic vessel which I had never been on before and the experience of the master was above mine , and he was extremely helpful. After my 6 week swing I went home on leave and was relieved by another Australian. I was home a week and received a message from the US master that his twin brother had died and the only way he could get off on compassionate leave according to the US coastguard was if I I relieved him. I went back and did so and he was extremely greatful. The US flagships were particularly wise about the security of their vessels , which I wished the uk had kept up with these similiar lines they once had. Apart from calling a buoy a boooeeey and right rudder for starboard and left rudder for Port , I saw nothing wrong with US seamen. They like most of us were creatures of the times .Cheers JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 2nd August 2022 at 01:29 PM.
    R575129

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    Default Re: Able seaman

    I worked as C/E on an American Flag drillship 2010-2013 , Captain, First mate, Second mate, DP operators, First engineer, Second engineer and electricians all American, all good guys and well trained and all coming from Maritime collages in the North East of the States. Their first engineers and second engineers are what we in the British MN would call second and third engineers.

    Used to get into interesting discussions when talking about cars Windscreen - Windshield, Bumper - Fender, Boot - Trunk etc etc
    Senior Member

    UK003715

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    Default Re: Able seaman

    Hi guys, thanks for the replies. I was referring to the actual deck sailor most of whom had no desire to advance above Bosun, if that. It was very common to sail with a Certified 3rd Mate (UK lowest certification was 2nd Mate) as the 3rd Mate and next trip on another vessel of the same company find he was your AB shipmate. So few ships available it was the only way to gain sea time and/or earn money ! Took some getting used to. Guess they had two union memberships to enable such action.
    Strange how things change in one’s lifetime … in the early 1950’s we used to meet up with American Grace Line and Gulf Line ships on the West Coast South America trade and found they had so many excess Mates available to man their Ready Reserve Fleet Ships they doubled up so that on the coast one set only did bridge watches and the other did cargo work watches. Guess that didn’t last long but we were in and out of ports seemingly every day or so. I know on i one trip we called and loaded cotton at three surf ports in the same 24 hr period. Sometimes didn’t even bother to drop anchor ! Sorry, getting off subject !
    Keith Adams
    R570384

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    Default Re: Able seaman

    I tried to do that on a British ship as said in a previous post after getting the last certificate I had any intention at the time of going for. Looking for a coastal job to get time at home , was told by the BSF it was not acceptable as they foresaw problems . The only problem was class distiction in some cases inverted class distinction finished up as mate in an ore carrier. As you say there were always what we called professional 3 and 2 mates , who were quiet happy to sit permanently in those jobs. If anything I was a professional mate for years as knocked back at least 2 permenant masters jobs. I looked on a masters job as a job for a person approaching old age and unable to get around the ship. I finally accepted a permanent job only when I saw the standard of younger persons jumping in to these jobs without to me the seatime and experience , and I was unwilling to listen to often garbage from same.
    However apart from the usual seaman’s moans I enjoyed my life at sea but must say I got the greatest job satisfaction from the mates position with an elderly master who left the running of the deck to the mate . To me the real management of a ship in my time at sea early on was up to the mate and the 2 engineer. I always carried that theme right up to retirement . This refers to deep sea in general . Offshore is a different ball game and one gets up the ladder by ones own proficiency as regards a masters position if you can’t drive a ship you would last 2 trips, one out and one in . Cheers JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 3rd August 2022 at 05:11 AM.
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    Default Re: Able seaman

    #19 Further to my knock back for a coastal job, my third trip on the Pennyworth we had a replacement AB joined as there were always people leaving on a Running Agreement as only required 72 hours notice. He was an Estonian and had been chief mate according to his book on a foreign flag ship. He was accompanied by the NUS man. The NUS man came to me and asked if I wanted him due to his past career. I said I couldn’t care less about his previously being mate , he signed on as AB and that was it. Just shows the working of people’s minds and the suspicions they entertain. JS
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