How to Become an Able Seaman or Able Bodied Seman (AB)- Duties & Responsibility, Skills Required, Salary & Guidance

Updated December 8, 2022

Are you a thalassophile, a person who loves and is magnetically attracted to the ocean and the sea? If your answer is yes, then pursuing Able Seaman as a career can be a great option for you.

In this article, we covered almost everything related to Able Seaman. So, if you are an aspiring able Seaman then you are at the best place on the internet. One thing we can assure you is that after reading this article all doubts will be cleared related to Seaman.

Things that are covered in this article:

  • Who is an Able Seaman?
  • Job Description
  • Duties and Responsibilities
  • Skills Required
  • How to Become an AB?
  • Salary of an AB

Who is an Able Seaman?

A seaman who has been at sea for more than two years and is deemed to be “fully acquainted with his duty” is referred to as an able seaman (AB). They are ranked above Ordinary Seaman because they have more seafaring experience.

A watchstander, a day worker, or a combination of these jobs may be performed by an Able Seaman. The AB can seek to undergo a series of courses and exams to become certified as an officer once they have accumulated enough sea time.

Officers and ratings make up the majority of the deck department and its personnel.

Chief Mate, Second Mate, Third Mate, and Deck Cadet are among the seafarer positions that form the deck officers. Deck ratings include the Bosun, Able Seaman, Ordinary Seaman, and Trainee Ordinary Seaman.

Job Description of Able Seaman

Watch for obstacles in the route of the vessel by keeping watch at the bow or on the wing of the bridge. Water depth measurement. As instructed by the mate, turn the bridge wheel or activate the emergency equipment. Break out, rig, overhaul, and store cargo-handling gear, stationary rigging, and running gear. When operating on liquid-carrying vessels, certification is required.

Able Seaman Requirements:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • pass the medical and physical test
  • Pass a drug test
  • comply with the criteria for sea service
  • provide your Social Security card and proof of citizenship to TWIC

What are the Duties and Responsibilities of an Able Seaman?

  • Uses a leadline and telephones or shouts information to bridge to measure the water depth in shallow or undiscovered waterways.
  • Steers the ship’s direction and keeps in visual contact with nearby vessels.
  • The deck or ship structure should be cleaned of rust and painted. 
  • Inspects lifeboats and their equipment and lowers or raises them using a winch or a fall.
  • Packs or takes cargo out of the ship’s hold.
  • Directs the crew members who are cleaning the wheelhouse and quarter-deck.
  • Keeps the ship’s log up to date while it is in port and keeps gangway watch to stop illegal people from joining the ship.
  • Examining materials, structures, or equipment to determine the root of errors, issues, or faults.
  • Collecting data by observation, communication, and other means from all pertinent sources.
  • Delivering information to managers, coworkers, and subordinates verbally, in writing, via email, in person, or both.

What are the Skills Required to Become an Able Seamen?

If you are an Aspiring AB, you need to understand what skills are necessary for the job. An AB performs different types of tasks from maintaining the ships to operating the equipment. To become successful in this career they need to have a wide range of skills.

Equipment Selection: Deciding what tools and equipment are required to complete a task.
Operation Monitoring: Making sure a machine is operating properly by keeping an eye on gauges, dials, or other indicators.

Operation and Control: Managing system or equipment operations.
Monitoring: Assessing your own, other people’s, or your organization’s performance in order to make improvements or take remedial action.

Teamwork: An AB is always expected to help and work well with team members. You can excel in this role by being able to speak well and support your fellow crew members.

Flexibility: Being flexible means having the ability to adapt to changing circumstances when necessary. You can be expected to work different shifts or switch between different roles on a ship as an able seaman.

How to Become an Able Seaman?

However, simply having experience is insufficient to make someone an able seaman. The candidate must typically be at least 18 years old and must pass a number of tests and qualifying exams in order to be considered an able seaman, according to the merchant marine employment laws.

Six months are expected to spend on the General Purpose (GP) Rating Course. Candidates can apply for this course if they passed the 10th standard with a minimum of 40% marks in Science and Mathematics from a recognized Board.

And also, at least 40% in their English language exam from either their 10th or 10th class or diploma/degree exam is required.

When the course begins, the candidate should be between the ages of 17.5 and 25. The candidate must be in good health; at the time of admission, a DG Shipping-approved doctor will conduct the necessary medical exams.

The cost of the General Purpose (GP) Rating Course varies depending on the institute. The overall cost of the course will be in the range of 2,00,000 and 3,50,000 rupees.

The candidate will join a merchant navy ship as an Ordinary Seaman, or OS, after passing the GP rating course. The candidate will advance to the Able Seaman or AB rank after obtaining experience in the OS rank.

Some of the Popular Colleges in India

  1. The Great Eastern Institute of Maritime Studies, Mumbai.
  2. AMET University, Chennai.
  3. NUSI Maritime Academy, Goa.
  4. Coimbatore Marine College, Coimbatore.
  5. UV Patel College of Engineering, Gujarat.
  6. BP Marine Academy, Navi Mumbai.
  7. TS Rahaman, Mumbai.
  8. Yak Educational Trust, Mumbai.
  9. Mumbai Maritime Training Institute, Mumbai.
  10. Maritime Education Training and Research Institute, West Bengal.

What is the Salary of an Able Seaman?

The average yearly income for an able seaman in India is 5.0 Lakhs, with salaries ranging from 0.3 Lakhs to 25.0 Lakhs. The estimated earnings are based on 156 salaries from Able Seamen.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Lowest Position in Seaman?

Ans: Ordinary Seaman (OS)

Q. What is the Highest position of a Seaman?

Ans: The Master’s position is the most prestigious and highest seafarer rank available.

Q. How Many Months Does a Seaman Work?

Ans: The period of seafarers’ contracts varies, but they often work on ships for four to six months before taking a break. They frequently work 10- to 12-hour shifts, seven days a week.

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