We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Skills Do I Need as an Ordinary Seaman?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In order to become an ordinary seaman (OS), it can help to have some specific skills and characteristics. A great deal of knowledge about seamanship is not typically necessary, since these jobs tend to involve a lot of on-the-job training. It is important to be in good physical condition though, and you should also have the ability to understand and carry out complex instructions. Good organization skills and communication abilities are also important, as you will typically work in all different areas of the ship. In addition to these basic skills and abilities, you will also need to obtain the specific certificate or credential required in your country.

The position of ordinary seaman is an apprenticeship role that can allow you to gain the necessary sea time required to sit the able seaman (AS) exams. It may be possible to obtain this type of job with no specific work experience or higher education, though you will typically need to be at least 18 and have graduated from high school. It is also necessary to obtain a merchant mariner's credential (MMC), OS certificate, or whatever similar paperwork is required in your country. In order to obtain these documents, you will usually need to prove your citizenship, pass a physical, and submit to a drug test.

As an ordinary seaman, you will be expected to perform a wide range of duties throughout a ship. The most important skill or characteristic needed under those difficult circumstances is physical fitness. You will typically be required to do maintenance work, including sweeping, mopping, descaling, and painting decks and other portions of a ship. Depending on the ship you work on, you may also need to handle cargo, splice and knot ropes, and perform other tasks that require physical strength, stamina, and dexterity. You will further need the ability to understand and carry out complicated orders due to the wide range of duties you are likely to be responsible for.

Even though there are no specific educational requirements, other than a high school diploma, it can help to have a solid understanding of basic math before you become an ordinary seaman. If you take classes in trigonometry in high school, you may have an easier time plotting courses and performing other similar tasks. It is also important to have strong written and oral communication skills if you want to succeed as an ordinary seaman, so you may want to take those types of classes if you have trouble speaking or writing clearly.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon258704 — On Apr 03, 2012

I am Pilbert. I want to know if we can work as an ordinary seaman even if we graduated from other courses like accounting, criminology or commerce?

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.