Able Seaman

The Able Seaman on a cruise ship are the more experienced deckhands who do the general maintenance and daily work onboard. Like the term "Able" suggests, they need to be strong and physically fit in order to do the tasks they are required to do.

Deckhands start out as an ordinary seaman, which is an entry level position, and then through time at sea and passing various tests, they can become qualified to become an Able Seaman. Some of their tasks include:

  • Handling all deck gear
  • Operating the deck machinery
  • Cleaning all hallways, heads, decks
  • Keeping the bridge clean
  • Waking the watch personnel
  • Standing watch on the gangway when in port.

In Focus: Ordinary Seaman

In addition to the above tasks, the Able Seaman is able to be a boatman (steering the tenders), a helmsman, and more.

An Able Seaman may work with others of different nationalities who do not have good English. For American ships, the Merchant Marine exams are only in English. A High School Diploma is necessary, and so is knowledge of sea life. An Able Seaman may not be able to use the special amenities provided for passengers on a foreign cruise ship.

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