Ratings are personnel who assist officers in all departments - skilled seafarers who carry out essential tasks in the day-to-day running of the ship. As a rating you'll be trained in fire prevention and sea survival skills. In an emergency you'll help to deal with hazardous incidents, for example, as a member of a fire-fighting party or fast rescue boat crew.
Please note that opportunities for ratings are limited with only a small number of companies offering training and jobs.
Vacancies may be found:
- In the offshore sector
- With some ferry and cruise companies
- In the tug sector
- With the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) - the organisation that provides support vessels to the Royal Navy.
Steer the ship and assist the deck officer in other navigational duties. In port, they secure the ship to the dock, carry out maintenance and contribute to the security of the vessel.
Maintain shipboard machinery. They carry out routine oiling, greasing and servicing, and strip, repair and fit equipment parts. Experienced ratings help the engineering officers to monitor the main plant and other equipment to make sure it is run safely.
Provide a variety of catering services for the crew and passengers on ferries and cruise liners. Most cargo-carrying vessels will have a cook or cook-steward on board.
What qualities will you need?
You'll need a sincere interest in going to sea and must be a good team worker with initiative and the maturity to work unsupervised. You will also need to be able to get on well with people. You'll be able to accept responsibility and be willing to adapt your skills and learn new ones. As a deck or engineering rating a lot of the work you do will be practical, so you'll need good hand skills to operate technical equipment.