Difference between Seaman and Deck Cadet

Key difference: The seaman is the lowest rung in the deck department. It is an entry-level position that does not require any experience as all. The duties of a seaman include doing anything and everything that is required for the operation and upkeep of deck department areas and equipment. A Deck Cadet, on the other hand, is the third rung from the bottom. They are the officers under training and are supposed to learn and know first aid and survival techniques, as well as firefighting. Deck Cadets are also trained in navigation, ship-handling, cargo-handling and maritime law.

In order to maintain order and a line of authority, armed forces have different ranks. Armies and navies have professions and ranks, in which each rank had its designated authority and responsibility. This is not only true for military navies but for merchant navies, as well.

A merchant navy is a fleet of vessels that provide commercial services. Similar to a military vessel, a merchant vessel has distributed ranks and responsibilities. A merchant ship is essentially any ship that transports cargo and/or passengers.

The ship’s crew is headed by the Captain of the ship. The Captain acts in lieu of the owner and in the interest of the owner. The Captain is the Master when the ship is in transit. The crew itself is divided into four main categories: the deck department, the engineering department, the steward's department, and other.

The deck department is then further divided into roles:

  • Chief officer/chief mate
  • Second officer/second mate
  • Third officer/third mate
  • Deck Cadet
  • Boatswain
  • Able seaman
  • Ordinary seaman

The seaman is the lowest rung in the deck department. It is an entry-level position that does not require any experience as all. It does however require an Ordinary Seaman Certificate in some cases. While working as a seaman, if the person gets over two years of experience, they are then qualified to become an able seaman. An able seaman must possess a merchant mariner's document.

The duties of a seaman include doing anything and everything that is required for the operation and upkeep of deck department areas and equipment. This entails scaling, buffing, and painting decks, sweeping and washing the deck, splicing wire and rope, breaking out, rigging, overhauling and stowing cargo-handling gear, stationary rigging, and running gear, securing cargo, launching and recovering boats, rigging and operating hydrographic and other specialty winches, handling and stowing oceanographic explosives, as well as staging and stowing beach support equipment.

A Deck Cadet, on the other hand, is the third rung from the bottom. They are the officers under training and are supposed to learn and know first aid and survival techniques, as well as firefighting. Deck Cadets are also trained in navigation, ship-handling, cargo-handling and maritime law. Despite the training, the main responsibility of a deck cadet is to observe and learn, in addition to helping out wherever possible; all under the command of the Chief Officer. At the end of their training, they will be considered competent and will receive a Certificate of Competency, hence becoming a full-fledged officer.

Image Courtesy: maritimeindustryfoundation.com, bimsworld.com

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