Hawaii Teacher on Board

By Naidah Gamurot

Position: 2nd Mate

Location: Bridge of R/V Thomas G. Thompson

Date: October 22, 1998

Describe some of the daily responsibilities and daily activities of the 2nd mate?

The 2nd mate has the same responsibilities as the 3rd mate - is in charge of bridge watch, plotting the ship's course, following the plot, tracking the ships movement, using radar, radios, maps, the safety and fire-fighting equipment, and maintaining small boats. The 2nd mate is the navigator of the ship. As navigator, he is also in charge of updating and correcting (usually weekly) all of the charts and lighthouse information. He is also responsible for the radios and the GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) radio.

What are some of the skills, physical abilities, and personal characteristics someone should have if considering becoming a 2nd mate?

Strong leadership skills are necessary because of the increased responsibility. She must have the ability to teach others her knowledge and skills, work well with people and direct others. She must be able to take orders and make decisions.

What kinds of high school courses would you recommend for someone considering this type of work?

Math, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. This is used to plot courses. Knowledge of the earth sciences and geography would be helpful for navigating by the stars, knowing the tides, and ocean currents. Any safety or first aid classes would be helpful.

What additional training is require or available after high school?

Attending a 4-year maritime academy would allow you to start as a 3rd mate, skipping ordinary and AB seaman. After one year at sea, a 3rd mate is eligible to take the exam for 2nd mate.

What is the job market like in this position or field?

The job market is good, but specialized training is required.

What is the entry- level job for this position?

The entry-level position is ordinary seaman, also called mariner 1, for 1 year (365) days at sea. Progressing to AB seaman (mariner 2), for a duration of 3 years - at sea. Moving on to 3rd mate for one year, then becoming 2nd mate.

What is the next higher level?

Chief mate. After 1 year at sea as 2nd mate, you would become eligible to take the exam for chief mate

What are the working hours like?

8-hour shifts everyday. There are no weekends or holidays at sea.

In what kind of environment do you work?

Anywhere on the ship.

What is the average starting salary for your job?

On the Thompson, starting base pay is $2,646. In addition to base pay, everyone on board also receives a 15% Sea Premium Pay while the ship is away from home port and 8 hours overtime at time-and-a-half for each Saturday, Sunday, and holiday while the ship is away from home.

What are some positive features of your job?

Travel, learning many new things, taking on more responsibilities. More involved with the daily movement of the ship.

What are some negative features of your job?

More responsibility and now being accountable in a court of law for decisions made at sea. At this level the individual risks losing their license and/or spending jailtime for poor decisions.

Go Back to Career Chart