Profession able seaman

Able seamen are members of the deck department of an inland water transport ship. They may work on the helm, on the deck, in the cargo hold and in the engine room. They may be called on to use emergency, lifesaving, damage control, and safety equipment. Able seamen perform all operations connected with the launching of lifesaving equipment. They are expected to be able to operate deck machinery, mooring and anchoring equipment.

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Personality Type

  • Realistic / Conventional
  • Realistic / Enterprising

Knowledge

  • Types of cargo

    Distinguish different types of cargo e.g. bulk cargo, liquid bulk cargo and heavy materials.

  • European classification of inland waterways

    Understand the European CEMT classification of inland waterways; use modern information systems to compare the dimensions of the waterway to those of the vessel.

  • Passenger transport regulations

    Have knowledge of passenger transport conventions and regulations.

  • On board hazards

    Prevent on board (electrical) hazards and effectively deal with them should they occur; ensure safe embarkation and disembarkation of the vessel.

  • Vessel safety equipment

    Gain theoretical and practical knowledge of safety equipment used in vessels, including devices such as lifeboats, life rings, splash doors and fire doors, sprinkler systems, etc. Operate equipment during emergency situations.

  • Influence of winds and currents in the steering of ships

    Know what influence current, wind strength, and wind direction have on a vessel's navigation and manoeuvring abilities.

  • International regulations for cargo handling

    International conventions governing the loading and unloading of cargo in ports.

  • Inland waterway police regulations

    Understand waterway rules, legal requirements, and relevant police regulations. Handle and maintain buoys, marking systems, and day and night signs.

  • National regulations on handling cargo

    The national regulations governing the loading and unloading of cargo in ports within that country.

  • Anchors used in inland water transport

    Name and recognise different types of anchors used in inland water transport (IWT); explain the characteristics of different anchors and their specific uses.

  • Principles of combustion engines

    Basic knowledge and understanding of different types of engines and their construction and performance.

  • Environmental aspects of inland waterway transportation

    Consider ecological aspects of the operation of ships in order to use vessels in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner. Understand environmental aspects when navigating inland waterways.

Skills

  • Assist passenger embarkation

    Assist passengers when they embark vessels, aircraft, trains and other modes of transport. Keep safety measures and procedures in mind.

  • Follow procedures in the event of an alarm

    Follow safety procedures in the event of an alarm; act according to company instructions and procedures.

  • Facilitate safe disembarkation of passengers

    Assist passengers when they leave the vessel, aircraft, train, or other mode of transport. Keep the safety measures and procedures in mind.

  • Use equipment for safe stowage

    Use tools and equipment to perform safe stowage and ensure proper loading and securing of goods.

  • Prepare engine room for operation

    Prepare and start main engine and auxiliary engines; prepare machinery in engine room prior to departure; know and follow starting procedures according to checklist.

  • Maintain ropes

    Maintain splices and knots in ropes.

  • Maintain vessel technical equipment according to instructions

    Operate and maintain technical equipment and devices according to technical instructions.

  • Adhere to traffic regulations on inland waterways

    Understand and apply traffic rules in inland waterway navigation in order to ensure safety and avoid collisions.

  • Apply regulations on cargo transport operations

    Display knowledge of relevant local, national, European and international regulations, standards, and codes concerning the operation of freight transport.

  • Assess stability of vessels

    Assess the two kinds of stability of vessels, namely transversal and longitudinal.

  • Assist anchoring operations

    Assist during anchoring operations; operate equipment and assist in anchor manoeuvres.

  • Ensure integrity of hull

    Ensure sure that water does not break through the hull; prevent progressive flooding.

  • Adjust weight of cargo to capacity of freight transport vehicles

    Adapt weight of cargo to capacity of freight transport vehicles. Oversee the maximum load capacity of the vehicle in question and the weight of each individual crate in the shipment.

  • Comply with checklists

    Follow checklists and ensure compliance with all the items included in them.

  • Swim

    Move through water by means of the limbs.

  • Use riverspeak to communicate

    Use Riverspeak to communicate in technical and nautical terms.

  • Use modern electronic navigational aids

    Use modern navigational aids such as GPS and radar systems.

  • Steer ship in compliance with helm orders

    Steer a ship using various propulsion and steering systems, while under supervision and complying with helm orders.

  • Moor vessels

    Follow standard procedures to moor vessels. Manage communication between the ship and the shore.

  • Perform daily maintenance on ship machinery

    Perform daily maintenance tasks on machinery in ships, such as pumps, piping systems and ballast systems.

  • Use waterway traffic control systems;

    Operate various systems of waterway traffic control; cooperate with traffic control operators, lockkeepers and bridge, keepers.

  • Perform vessel maintenance and cleaning

    Follow the First Mate's instructions in assisting with equipment maintenance such as painting or varnishing, splicing lines, and wash-down chores.

  • Clean parts of vessels

    Clean engine rooms and vessel components using appropriate cleaning materials; ensure compliance with environmental regulations.

  • Provide first aid

    Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.

  • Secure ships using rope

    Use rope to secure and untie the ship before departure or upon arrival.

  • Help to control passenger behaviour during emergency situations

    Know how to use life-saving equipment in emergency situations. Provide assistance if leakages, collisions or fires should occur, and support the evacuation of passengers. Know crisis and crowd management, and administer first aid on board.

  • Obtain information on various nautical subjects

    Obtain information on various nautical technical and safety subjects.

  • Understand different types of locks and their operation

    Master various engineering constructions and functions of bridges and locks in the field of navigation. Conduct locking and entering procedures.

  • Steer vessels

    Operate and steer vessels such as cruise ships, ferries, tankers, and container ships.

  • Communicate reports provided by passengers

    Transmit information provided by passengers to superiors. Interpret passenger claims and follow up requests.

  • Operate life-saving appliances

    Operate survival craft and their launching appliances and arrangements. Operate life-saving instruments like radio life-saving appliances, satellite EPIRBs, SARTs, immersion suits and thermal protective aids.

  • Execute safety assurance exercises

    Organise and execute safety exercises; ensure safety in potentially dangerous situations.

  • Read stowage plans

    Read and comprehend content of stowage plans; basic knowledge of how to stow various types of cargo.

  • Maintain vessel engine room

    Maintain the engines and engine room equipment of a vessel. Conduct pre-checks prior to departure and ongoing examinations during the voyage.

  • Assess trim of vessels

    Assess the trim stability of vessels, referring to the stability of a vessel while it is in a static condition.

  • Unmoor vessels

    Follow standard procedures to unmoor vessels. Manage communication between the ship and the shore.

  • Use different types of fire extinguishers

    Understand and apply various methods of firefighting and various types and classes of fire extinguishing equipment.

  • Undertake navigation safety actions

    Recognise unsafe situations and perform follow-up actions according to the safety regulations. Immediately warn ship management. Use personal protective and rescue equipment.

  • Load cargo onto ships

    Load and unload cargo onto ships. Oversee cargo loading and discharging operations.

  • Operate marine communication systems

    Operate on board marine communication systems; communicate with other ships or with on-shore control centre e.g. to send urgent messages concerning safety; transmit or receive alerts, etc.

  • Secure cargo in stowage

    Secure cargo stowage with basic knowledge of stowing methods; ensure efficient and safe transport of goods.

  • Use ballasts

    Manipulate ballast system; empty and refill ballast tanks.

Optional knowledge and skills

physical parts of the vessel implement environmental protection measures show intercultural awareness perform manual work autonomously inland waterway ship building follow verbal instructions show confidence use different communication channels follow written instructions prepare simple meals on board vessel stability principles perform services in a flexible manner distinguish various types of ships act as a watchstander work in a water transport team ensure vessel compliance with regulations act reliably

Common job titles

  • Ab deckhand / crew boat captain
  • A/b with off/tug exp.
  • Deckhand
  • Able bodied seaman - (a.b.)
  • Part-time receptionist
  • Ab seaman/crane operator
  • Able seaman urgent
  • Bosun urgent
  • Oil spill responder
  • Data storage coordinator