What are the ranks on the ships?

What are the ranks on the ships? What are the duties and responsibilities of ranks on the ship?

The ranks and responsibilities on a ship can vary depending on the type of vessel and the country it belongs to. However, some common ranks and their general duties and responsibilities include the following:

The highest-ranking officer on the ship, responsible for the overall operation, safety, and navigation of the vessel. The captain makes key decisions, manages the crew, and ensures compliance with international and local laws and regulations.

Chief Officer/Chief Mate/First Officer:
The second-in-command, responsible for overseeing the deck department, cargo operations, and assisting the captain in navigation and overall ship management. The Chief Officer is also in charge of safety drills and equipment maintenance.

Second Officer/Second Mate:
Responsible for navigation, maintaining charts and navigational equipment, and assisting the captain and chief officer as needed. The Second Officer may also manage communications and stand watch during certain shifts.

Third Officer/Third Mate:
Assists with navigational and deck duties, takes part in safety drills, and stands watch. The Third Officer may also be responsible for maintaining safety and firefighting equipment.

Deck Cadet/Trainee Officer:
A trainee learning the responsibilities and duties of a deck officer. The cadet assists with navigational, cargo, and safety operations under the supervision of senior officers.

The highest-ranking non-officer in the deck department, responsible for overseeing the maintenance and repair of the ship’s hull, decks, and equipment. The boatswain also supervises the deck crew during operations.

Able Seaman:
An experienced sailor responsible for various deck operations, such as mooring, cargo handling, and maintaining equipment. Able Seamen may also stand watch and assist with navigational duties.

Ordinary Seaman:
A junior crew member who assists with general deck duties and learns the skills needed to become an Able Seaman.

In the engine department:

Chief Engineer:
Responsible for the overall operation and maintenance of the ship’s propulsion system, auxiliary machinery, and electrical systems. The Chief Engineer manages the engine department and ensures compliance with regulations and safety standards.

Second Engineer/First Assistant Engineer:
Assists the Chief Engineer in managing the engine department, overseeing the operation and maintenance of machinery, and supervising junior engineers.

Third Engineer/Second Assistant Engineer:
Responsible for the maintenance and operation of certain machinery and equipment, such as generators, pumps, and purifiers.

Fourth Engineer/Third Assistant Engineer:
Assists with the operation and maintenance of machinery and equipment under the supervision of senior engineers.

Engine Cadet/Trainee Engineer:
A trainee learning the responsibilities and duties of an engineer. The cadet assists with the operation and maintenance of machinery under the supervision of senior engineers.

Responsible for the maintenance and operation of engines and other machinery, assisting engineers as needed.

A junior crew member in the engine department responsible for cleaning and basic maintenance tasks.

In the steward department:

Chief Steward/Stewardess:
Oversees the catering, housekeeping, and general welfare of the crew. The Chief Steward manages the steward department and ensures that the crew’s accommodations and meals are maintained to a high standard.

Responsible for preparing meals for the crew and maintaining the cleanliness of the galley.

Messman/Mess Attendant:
Assists the cook with meal preparation, serving, and cleaning.

These are general descriptions of ship ranks and their duties; actual responsibilities may vary depending on the specific ship and its operations.


Would also be interesting to know who is reporting to whom and now these different ranks interact with each other. I don’t have a complete picture in my mind.

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you can find a good summary with various charts in the link below: