Ratings roles

‘Ratings’ is a general term for a wide variety of skilled support roles on ships and are broken up into the following job roles:

Deck Ratings

Steer the ship, keep watch and assist the Navigation (Deck) Officer in a range of navigational, operational and cargo duties. In port, you would secure the ship to the dock, carry out maintenance and contribute to the security of the vessel.

Engine Room Rating

Spending the required time working at sea and completing professional and safety training leads to the Engine Room Watch Rating Certificate. To get the Able Seafarer (Engine Room) Certificate, Engine Room Ratings will have performed various job roles in the Engine Room department.


Works on tankers carrying liquid, gas or chemical cargo, this role requires safe operation of pumps and discharge of liquid cargo - mostly petroleum products. The Pumpman is also responsible for maintaining and repairing all cargo handling equipment on the vessel.


Semi-skilled and mechanically trained - Fitters are normally the most senior support worker on the engineering side. Responsibilities include ensuring the continuous running of machinery and equipment, organising routine maintenance procedures and any necessary repairs.

Motorman (Mechanic)

Maintains the engine room machinery plant, a vital skilled support role that facilitates the Fitters job.

General Hand (Oiler, Wiper)

Cleans the machinery plant, checks systems and assists with engineering tasks on the ship.

Cook (Ship's Cook, Chief Cook)

These catering Ratings do the food planning, preparation and stock taking/provisions ordering. Catering Rating qualifications are based on: food preparation, cooking and serving.

Catering Rating

Catering Ratings can gain qualifications issued by the catering industry. They work as part of the hospitality/hotel services department onboard ships and vessels of all types and sizes. The main jobs are to prepare and cook various dishes, including: fish, poultry, meat, dough products, desserts and buffets - for the passengers and/or crew. The work is on a shift rota, often with fellow seafarers of different nationalities. Customer service plays an important part, along with safety duties and responsibilities.


Cleans and maintains crew and passenger accommodation areas, on passenger and non-passenger vessels.

Find out about Hospitality and Onboard Services (OBS) Ratings here

Find out about what the qualifications and requirements are for ratings here

See how to apply for ratings apprenticeships here