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 an entry level rating that requires NO
qualifying experience, exams or training. Advancement from OS can
be to either the deck department as AB (Able Seaman) or to the
engine room as QMED (Qualified Member of the Engine Department).

Able Seaman (AB) (46 CFR 12.05-7) 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 and one or more
elements of an approved Basic Safety Training (BST) 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.
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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    Professional Requirements - Able Seaman
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Copyright Dennis Degner 2014