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Merchant Navy Rating Profile

 
Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Merchant Navy Rating. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Merchant Navy Rating
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Merchant Navy Rating Work Information


Finding Suitable Work


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Working Duties Expected

Merchant Navy ratings are support workers who help to run a ship, serving in the deck, engineering, communications or catering departments.

Deck ratings are part of a team that keeps a ship and its equipment clean and in good order. This may include painting, inspecting and cleaning holds and tanks, helping steer the ship, acting as lookout, helping moor the ship in dock, loading and unloading cargo, and operating cranes.

In the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) - civilian-crewed ships that support the Royal Navy - deck ratings serve on the flight deck during helicopter operations and help with refuelling. They are trained in nuclear, biological and chemical defence measures, and weapons handling.

Engineering ratings are based in the engine control room and the engine room, where they repair and service a ship’s engines and other equipment to ensure everything is working safely and properly.

In the RFA, engineering ratings will also service and repair defensive weapons and help on the flight-deck during helicopter operations.

RFA communication ratings operate a ships communications system, including radio and satellite communications. They may need to communicate with other vessels, with lights and flags, in emergencies.

Catering ratings perform duties similar to those found in the hotel trade. Some may work as cooks, based in the ship''s galley (kitchen), where their duties include preparing and cooking food and looking after food stores. They are also responsible for keeping equipment clean and maintaining hygiene standards. Others work as stewards, serving food and drink to officers and crew or to passengers.

Hours and Environment:

Ships are in operation continuously. Ratings work shifts, also known as watches, which may vary according to the size of the ship. On a large vessel you may work four hours on duty followed by eight hours off duty. Working patterns vary between a few weeks and several months, depending on the type of ship and its trading patterns. Periods of leave in between voyages also vary.

Deck ratings work on the bridge and on deck. The weather out on deck will occasionally be stormy, but the bridge is under cover.

Engineering ratings are based in the engine room, which may be hot and noisy. Other work areas may be confined or refrigerated. On deck, the weather may be rough.

Catering ratings work indoors, except when loading stores or taking part in safety drills. Galley areas can be hot and steamy.

Many ships supply ratings with single cabins. Off-duty facilities are good.

Ratings in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) may have to work in warfare situations.

Skills and Interests:

To be a Merchant Navy rating you should:

  • be able to take responsibility
  • be able to show initiative and maturity when required to work unsupervised
  • be good at practical work
  • be able to operate technical equipment
  • be able to work in a team
  • be able to cope with being away from family and friends, often for months at a time.


Entry:

New entrants are normally aged 16 to 19. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary accepts applicants up to 23 years old, and occasionally admits applicants over 23 who have qualifications in heavy engineering, shipbuilding or carpentry.

You must have good eyesight, and have perfect colour vision. You must be fit enough to pass a medical examination before being accepted for training.

There are no minimum qualifications for entry, but you need to show that you can achieve at least a Level 2 qualification. It is useful to have GCSEs (A-D)/S grades (1-4) in English, maths and physics, a Foundation GNVQ/GSVQ Level I, or equivalent qualifications.

For details of qualification equivalents see:

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority

Training:

Ratings are given structured training through the Marine Traineeship. This starts with six weeks training in basic skills and safety awareness, followed by six to eight months working at sea gaining practical experience. You then return to college for training in your chosen speciality, before spending further periods working at sea.

Ratings work towards NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Marine Vessel Support, with options to train in deck or engineering, or the equivalent NVQ/SVQ in catering. Deck ratings also get the Efficient Deck Hand Certificate.

Marine Apprenticeships can lead to either the NVQ/SVQ Level 3 Marine Vessel Operations or NVQ/SVQ Level 3 in Marine Engineering Operations, together with the relevant certificates of competency for Officer of the Watch (OOW) status. Successful trainees can apply for officer status at any time following the traineeship.

Opportunities:

Opportunities to train as a rating are limited, with the exception of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and several commercial shipping companies who train their own ratings. You can obtain a list of these companies from Careers in Shipping (see further information section).

The work and lifestyle will depend on the size and type of vessel worked on, distances travelled and the trade area of operation. For instance, cruise ships visit holiday destinations. Oil tankers travel the shipping routes between ports catering for industrial cargo. Some ships travel world-wide, whereas others only travel in Europe.

Promotion depends on length of service, experience and qualifications, with progression to the ranks of leading hand, petty officer and chief petty officer.

With the necessary skills and personal qualities, you could take further training and qualifications. You can progress to officer rank through the Marine Apprenticeship, or a rating to officer conversion course. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary has a scheme whereby ratings may qualify as junior officers.

Annual Income:

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Salary rates for trainee ratings start at £13,000 to £14,500. Experienced ratings earn between £19,000 and £22,000.

Many companies pay salaries that include the average overtime worked, food and accommodation whilst at sea, and travel costs when appropriate.

Further information:

Careers in Shipping
Carthusian Court
12 Carthusian Street
London
EC1M 6EZ
Tel: 0800 0850973.
www.gotosea.org.uk

The Marine Society
202 Lambeth Road
London
SE1 7JW.
Tel: 020 7261 9535
www.marine-society.org

The Merchant Navy Training Board
Carthusian Court
12 Carthusian St
London
EC1M 6EZ
Tel: 020 7417 2800
www.british-shipping.org

Other Useful Merchant Navy Rating Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Merchant Navy Rating job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Merchant Navy Rating Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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