A merchant ship's officer who began their career as an unlicensed merchant seaman, and so did not attend a traditional maritime academy to earn their officer's license.

Related Terms

PURSER

The ship's officer in charge of finances and passengers

ABSENTEE PENNANT

Special pennant flown to indicate absence of commanding officer, admiral, his chief of staff, or officer whose flag is flying (division, squadron, or flotilla commander).

BINNACLE LIST

A ship's sick list. The list of men unable to report for duty was given to the officer or mate of the watch by the ship's surgeon. The list was kept at the binnacle.

RADIO OPERATOR

The officer who operates and controls the shipboard communication equipment.

CONN

To direct a ship or submarine from a position of command. While performing this duty, an officer is said to have the conn.

DONKEYMAN

One of a ship's engineering crew. Often a crewman responsible for maintaining a Steam donkey, or any machinery other than the main engines. On some ships, the Petty Officer in charge of engine room ratings.

PAYMASTER

The officer responsible for all money matters in RN ships including the paying and provisioning of the crew, all stores, tools and spare parts. See also: purser.

CHIEF ENGINEER

The senior engineer officer responsible for the satisfactory working and upkeep of the main and auxiliary machinery and boiler plant on board ship.

CREW LIST

The list prepared by the master of a ship showing the full names, nationality, passport or discharge book number, rank and age of every officer and crew member engaged on board that ship and is one of the essential ship's documents presented to the customs and immigration authorities on arrival at a new port.

DECK LOG

A full nautical record of a ship's voyage, written up at the end of each watch by the deck officer on watch. The principal entries are: courses steered; distance run; compass variations, sea and weather conditions; ship's position, principal headlands passed; names of lookouts, and any unusual position, principal headlands passed; names of lookouts, and any unusual happenings such as fire, collision, and the like. Also called Captain's Log.

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