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What’s it like working as an Ordinary Seaman? A seafarer in the deck department of a ship, an Ordinary Seaman is an apprentice on the path to becoming an Able Seaman. An Ordinary Seaman (OS), or Rating, works onboard gaining ‘sea time’ and once the appropriate amount of sea time has been completed, the OS can sit a series of examinations to become a certified Able Seaman. Work onboard is in shift patterns as a ship is working 24 hours a day, seven days a week and must be manned at all times. The work a Rating is required to do in that time can be varied as it is important that the Rating understands all sections of the ship before moving to a higher ranked position.

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