Able Seaman Jobs

MMD Able Seaman (AB)

An Able Seaman makes up the “deck crew” of a ship. Their main duties are cargo evolutions, docking and undocking including all line handling (making and breaking tows for tugs, handling rigging for cargo operations, etc.), standing helm and lookout watches on the bridge as part of a navigation team, general maintenance of the vessel (chipping, painting, cleaning interior, exterior decks), crane and forklift operators and anything else that needs to be done on deck, the ABs do it.

Able Bodied Seamen Make up the Bulk of a Ships Crew

The daily wage range for an AB, like an Ordinary Seaman, varies from ship to ship. It usually falls within the $135-$260 a day. Depending on the type of ship: private or government research, cargo/container, tanker/bulker, cruise ships, tug boat, offshore supply vessels to name a few, the rotation is similar to that of an Ordinary Seaman. You can be employed full time by a company and be on a fixed rotation like 75 days on the vessel and 55 days off. Or a similar situation can go by weeks, like 2 weeks on, two weeks off. An AB can be part of a union and crew a ship for a certain rotation; anywhere from a couple of weeks to 8 months. An AB is an essential part of the crew and can be a rewarding, exciting career.

The requirements are: a merchant mariner’s document (MMD), the STCW basic safety training certificate (STCW) and lifeboatmen (LB).
STCW and LB may not be required based on the ship and its operating area, but it is a good idea to get all the certificates to improve the chances of employment on all ships. There are also sea time requirements which MUST be met. It takes 180 days onboard a vessel to qualify as an AB, and it takes 1,080 days (three years) to become an AB who can sail on unlimited tonnage ships. There are also endorsements you can attach to your MMD to specialize in certain jobs, like tanker assistant if you want to work on tankers. There is also AB fishing, sailing and offshore supply vessels to streamline a career.

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