basic training for seaman ranks and duties

What Are The Different Kinds of Seafarer Ranks & Duties?

basic seaman training ctsi philippines

Want to become a seaman? That’s great! There’s tons of work that you can do inside the ship. With the right courses (like doing basic training for a seaman) and the necessary paperwork, you’ll be able to reach your goal in no time.

While you’re at it, it’s good to get familiar with the roles that exist inside sailing ships. Read our quick guide below to know which is which!

Deck Department


This role is for the highest commanding person on the ship. They have power over all ranks, can rightfully dismiss any crew member under reasonable circumstances and other leadership tasks.

Chief Mate/First Mate

This role is the second-in-command and responds to the Captain. He/she also handles the cargo operations and assumes command of the ship in the absence of a Captain.

Second Mate

This role is mainly in charge of the ship’s navigation. A Second Mate updates the charts makes passage plans and handles all other aspects of ship navigation.

Third Mate

This role mainly focuses on ship safety by inspecting and maintaining life-saving and fire-fighting equipment. A third mate is responsible for drilling operations and emergencies.

Deck Cadet

This role is for Navigational Officer trainees who are currently doing sea time and taking exams to get an OICNW certification.


The bosun is the highest position for unlicensed roles (rating) in the deck department. This role usually carries out instructions given by the chief mate and oversees the ABs & OBs.

Able-Bodied Seaman (AB)

This rating is responsible for more physically demanding tasks such as working mooring lines and operating deck gear. An AB may also stand watch to assist the duty officer.

Ordinary Seaman (OS)

The OS is the lowest rating in the deck department. An OS must carry out any tasks given to them by anyone ranked higher than them.

Engineering Department

Chief Engineer/First Engineer

This role oversees the engine department of the ship. A Chief Engineer will delegate orders to operate and maintain all machinery and equipment throughout the ship.

Second Engineer

This role handles the daily maintenance and operations in the engine department.

Third Engineer

This role manages the boilers, fuel, auxiliary, & condensate, and feed systems.

Fourth Engineer

This role assists the third engineer.


This rating heads the maintenance and repair of the engine department. A motorman has an Able Seafarer Engine Certificate STCW A-III/5.


This rating mainly checks the lubrication of ship machinery. An oiler has an Able Seafarer Engine Certificate STCW A-III/5.


This rating is the lowest rank in the engine department. A wiper usually has an Engine Room Watch Rating (ERWR) Certificate STCW A-III/4.

Catering/Steward’s Department

Chief Cook/Steward

The Chief cook or steward is the highest unlicensed role in the steward department. A chief cook or steward usually oversees the menu planning, meal preparing, and meal serving for the whole crew. They also delegate tasks in terms of cleaning officer quarters and department areas and doing store inventory.


This rating is the lowest rank in the steward’s department. A steward usually responds to the orders given by the chief cook/steward.

seaman's book for basic training for seaman

How To Get A Seaman’s Book Using MISMO

seaman's book for basic training for seaman
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A Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book (SIRB) or Seaman’s Book is one of the most important documents every seafarer should have. It is similar to your regular passport in that you won’t be able to work on ships and vessels without it. Once you’re done taking basic training for a seaman, you have to get your own SIRB.

Getting a Seaman’s Book is now made easier through the MISMO website. Follow these steps to learn how!


Before, the SIRB was processed by going personally to any MARINA office. It was done manually, thus, leading to long wait times.

MARINA recently upgraded its systems by coming up with the MISMO website. The page is used to announce exam schedules and provide certificates or important documents.

How to Get a Seaman’s Book via MISMO Website

Here are the things you need to get a seaman’s book. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully to ensure a smooth and hassle-free process.

Logging in to your account

If you have an existing SCS account:

#1: Go to

#2: If you have an existing SCS account, Click Sign In

#3: Input your email address and password. Tick the reCAPTCHA box.

#4: If you need to update your information, make sure all provided details are correct. Profile pictures must have the applicant wearing a white polo on a plain white background to be deemed valid.

If you don’t have an existing SCS account:

#1: Go to

#2: If you have an existing SCS account, Click Sign Up

#3: Click Register New Account.

#4: Fill out all boxes with the information required. Tick the check box to confirm that you agree to the Terms & Conditions. Click Register.

#5: Check your registered email address for a verification email.

Selecting the Transaction

#1: Click Transaction, then choose the SIRB tab.

#2: Select which processing time you prefer (Regular/Expedite)

#3: Choose your preferred MARINA branch.

#4: Select your application type (New/Re-Issuance).

#5: Tick the check box.

#6: Click Proceed.

Submitting the Requirements
  • Submit all indicated documents according to your status (New/Re-Issuance).
  • Keep files under 1MB to ensure a successful upload.
  • Finalize the application by clicking Submit.
  • Approved applications will get a text within a few days after the submission to inform the applicant that they can now set an Online Appointment via MISMO. On the other hand, denied applications need to manually check their account and view the details by clicking the Application tab.
Setting the Appointment & Paying Fees

#1: Click the Application tab, then go to For Appointment.

#2: Under the Slot Locator Tab, choose your desired schedule & MARINA branch to visit.

#3: Click Proceed.

#4: You will get redirected to the Payment page, where you can read the guidelines on how much and how you can pay. Be sure to take note of the reference number.

#5: Once you’ve settled your payment within 18 hours, it will show on your MISMO profile.


Ever since MARINA updated its process through the MISMO website, getting an SIRB has become much faster and more convenient. You’ll only have to visit their office to submit original documents for verification, and then you can get your seaman’s book on the same day!

PH Re-Elected to IMO Council Category C


The Philippines was re-elected to the council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) under Category C, during the 30th session of the IMO Assembly (A30) last December 1, 2017 in London, England.


The appointment was a result of the 124 of 160 votes, placing the country as 13th among the 20 elected IMO member states under the said category.


According to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Administrator Al Amaro, being elected and obtaining higher ranking in one of United Nations’ (UN) specialized agency in charge of maritime safety, security and maritime environment protection is an honor to the country. He also regarded this to the strong and progressive image the world sees of the Philippines, the good reputation of Filipino seafarers to worldwide maritime operations because of the stringent maritime training they received in the Philippines, and the positive image of the country under the leadership of President Duterte.  


The all-out campaign headed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and the maritime sector, including MARINA, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) were also the key factors that contributed to the country’s appointment to the IMO council.


The country has been a member of the IMO since 1964 and has ratified and gave its approval to 22 convenitions. Since then, it has been an active participant to various committees of the IMO as well as its technical cooperation programs which aim to deliver capabilities in implementing international maritime regulations and standards.  


Filipino seafarers comprise over 25% of the entire workforce of the maritime industry all over the world, which constitutes to 1.5 million mariners worldwide.  This serves as proof that they are the most preferred personnel by the top employers in the global shipping industry. As an effect, maritime practitioners bring into the national economy an estimated USD 5.575 billion in remittance.  (PIA, DFA)


Guide to Being Healthy Onboard

Your maritime training in the Philippines has equipped you with enough knowledge and skills that will help you survive onboard. But your physical and mental capacity to fulfill your duties as a crewmember still depends on your well being. There are many challengers seafarers face while on board that requires not only their physical strength, but their mental capacity as well. Here are some tips on how, despite the demanding job onboard, you will be able to keep yourself healthy and well.


Maintain a balanced meal

The upside of being able to sail around the world is the opportunity to taste the delicacies each destination has to offer. Seafarers can choose to have meals that include fish, fruits, vegetables and lean meat. Never skip breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day for seafarers to have the energy needed in their work.


Have a fitness regimen

You have been advised during your training in the Philippines to keep a fitness regimen to build your endurance and increase your strength. Work onboard and offshore is physically demanding, that is why it is good that you include exercise in your daily routine. Try to invite your crewmates for a basketball game. Not only will this keep yourself fit, it is also a good way to socialize with the rest of the crew, forming camaraderie with them.


Drink a lot of water

Drinking eight (8) glasses of water a day can help you cleanse your body of toxins that may weaken your immune system, leading to sickness. Health is important for seafarers as their job is both physically and mentally demanding.


Minimize drinking alcohol

It’s hard to resist when the world’s best liquor is just a dock away from you. Refraining from drinking alcohol. Many shipping companies prohibit their crew from consuming alcohol while on duty. Personal limits should be set and only occasional drinks should be allowed to maintain a sound health.


Always be positive

The backbreaking work while onboard, along with the long months you have to spend away from your loved ones can take a toll on your psyche. With today’s modern technology, it’s almost impossible to not be able to maintain constant communication with family and friends at home. Being reminded that there are people who care for you back home can motivate you to become optimistic with your work. Don’t take things too personal, as it will affect how you will interact with your crewmates. Difficult challenges may happen daily, but you must learn to not take them too seriously.


Keep an open line with the creator

God, Lord, Allah. It does not matter how you call the Higher Being. What is important is that there is someone you can pray to, especially when things go wrong. A simple prayer can bring forth a positive effect on a seafarer’s life. Whether if it’s a simple thank you, or a prayer asking for guidance, it’s always great to say even a simple prayer.


A life in the sea is very tough. Physically and emotionally demanding, you will need all the support, from your loved ones and yourself, in order to survive. Maritime training in the Philippines helps you prepare the skills demanded by the industry, but the ability to stay healthy as you fulfill your duties still depends on you.


Courses You Need to Take For Your STCW ‘95 Training in the Philippines

In order to be qualified for more opportunities in the maritime industry, you need to get your STCW Basic Safety Training Course. These are basic safety training available in the Philippines which are done within one (1) day and  is the legal minimum requirement for seafarers who wish to work aboard vessels more than 24 meters.


What is STCW ‘95 Training?

A career in the maritime industry is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Thus, the STCW training in the Philippines provides familiarization training as well as basic safety training to aspiring Filipino seafarers. These programs aim to make sure that seafarers who board various ships are aware of the hazards of working on a vessel and are well trained on emergency response when the need arises.


The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping of Seafarers (STCW) is a training that is composed of five (5) MCA accredited courses: Personal Safety and Social Responsibility, Basic Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Personal Survival Techniques, Personal First Aid and Proficiency in Security Awareness. Each course is essential for a seafarer’s survival while s/he is aboard a ship in the middle of the open sea.

Personal safety and social responsibility


The Personal Safety and Social Responsibility Module of the STCW ‘95 Training provides knowledge of fundamental prevention and survival techniques. It includes both theoretical and practical sessions, investigating causes of distress, knowledge and use of vessel equipment, personal survival skills and use of search and rescue organizations.


Basic fire prevention and fire fighting


The basic fire prevention and fire fighting module deals with the necessary safety precautions to minimize the risk of fire while onboard a ship. This course follows the basic STCW fire fighting syllabus and is taught by fire service instructors. It examines the cause of fire and the first steps in extinguishing them. It includes hands on training in using fire fighting equipment, and the use of breathing equipment for fire fighting and rescue.


Personal Survival Techniques

This training module provides knowledge on essential prevention and survival techniques. It includes both theoretical and practical sessions, investigating source of distress, knowledge and use of equipment, launch and recovery of life rafts, preparation for survival, personal survival skills, and use of search and rescue organizations. Exercises in this module are supervised by qualified staff and can be taken even by non-swimmers.


Personal first aid


This module is a combination of theory and practical application, giving you essential knowledge on how to respond to common injuries while onboard such as burns and scalds, broken bones, bleeding, and shock. Students will receive training on how to properly administer CPR, different bandaging methods, how to properly move a patient, and how to improvise when there is no equipment available.


Proficiency in security awareness

As mandated by the revised STCW 2010 Code, all seafarers must receive the approved security awareness training before they are allowed to aboard any vessel. This course provides those without designated security duties the essential training on the requirements as mandated by the STCW Code. It covers the importance of ship security and the roles of those involved, as well as the requirements and measures to maintain ship security and the standard procedure in case of a security threat.


The final assessment for an STCW ‘95 Training contains physical exercises, that is why it is important for the examinee to be in good healthy condition before taking his/her exam. Once passed, the participant will receive a certificate as proof that s/he has received his/her STCW ‘95 Training in the Philippines.


Upon receiving his/her STCW ‘95 certificate, an aspiring seafarer will then be qualified to aboard various trade ships around the world. It helps that you get your STCW ‘95 training early on to avoid hassle. Good luck!