Definitions for ordinary seaman
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word ordinary seaman
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
a seaman insufficiently skilled to be classified as an able-bodied seaman.
Ref: Abbr.: O.S. 6 6
Origin of ordinary seaman:
the lowest grade of seaman in the merchant marine; the grade below able seaman
An ordinary seaman is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The position is an apprenticeship to become an able seaman, and has been for centuries. In modern times, an OS is required to work on a ship for a specific amount of time, gaining what is referred to as "sea time." Once a sufficient amount of sea time is acquired, the OS can apply to take a series of courses, and then a series of examinations to become certified as an able seaman. An OS is generally not required to stand watch, but must pass examinations on watchstanding skills such as performing lookout duty and being a helmsman. Thus an OS will often be found on a ship's bridge after working hours taking a turn at the ship's wheel or being familiarized with bridge equipment. During the apprenticeship, an OS performs a variety of duties concerned with the operation and upkeep of deck department areas and equipment. These duties vary with the type of ship, the type of voyage, the number of crewmembers, the weather, the supervisor, and any number of other variables. However, in most cases, one can expect an ordinary seaman to clean, to perform maintenance, to work with deck equipment, and to undergo on-the-job-training under the supervision of senior deck department members.
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