Able Seaman (AB) and Ordinary Seaman (OS) Information

    With only a few exceptions an Ordinary Seaman or an Able Seaman
    rating is required to work on all ocean going commercial vessels of
    greater than 100 gross tons.

    Ordinary Seaman (OS) is a rating that applies to both deck and engine
    departments. This is an entry level rating that does not require any sea
    service experience or training courses.

    Able Seaman (AB) (46 CFR 12.401 through 12.409) is a deck rating
    that requires qualifying sea service experience and training. The AB
    rating that you receive will be based on your qualifying sea service
    experience. All AB ratings require the mariner to complete an approved
    Lifeboatman (Proficiency in Survival Craft) Course.
  • AB Unlimited requires 1080 days of qualifying sea service
    experience on the deck of vessels operating on ocean waters.
  • AB Limited requires 540 days of qualifying sea service
    experience on the deck of vessels greater than 100 gross tons
    operating on ocean waters.
  • AB Special requires 360 days of qualifying sea service
    experience on vessels operating on the federally navigable inland
    waters of the US or on ocean waters.
  • AB Fishing requires 180 days of qualifying sea service
    experience on the deck of vessels operating on ocean waters or
    the federally navigable inland waters of the US.
  • AB OSV (Offshore Supply Vessel) requires 180 days of
    qualifying sea service experience on the deck of vessels
    operating on ocean waters or on the federally navigable inland
    waters of the US.
  • AB Sail requires 180 days of qualifying sea service experience on
    the deck of sailing vessels operating on ocean waters or on the
    federally navigable inland waters of the US.

Advancement

    A mariner can advance from OS to either the deck department as AB
    (Able Seaman) or to the engine room as QMED (Qualified Member of
    the Engine Department). Advancement requires both sea service and
    either an approved course or completion of exams at a Coast Guard
    Regional Exam Center (REC).

    Advancement from one AB rating to another higher AB rating can be
    accomplished with qualifying sea service experience alone.

Able Seafarer Deck

    The 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW convention established an
    STCW endorsement equivalent to the MMC Rating Endorsement of Able
    Seaman. This endorsement is called Able Seafarer Deck. US mariners
    holding a the rating endorsement AB should check to see if they also
    qualify for this new STCW endorsement.

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    Phone: (503) 841-6066



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