An ordinary seaman is the person who is assigned deck jobs as a trainee on ships. Working and gaining experience as a trainee followed by a couple of years as ordinary seaman allows an individual to get a promotion as an able seaman. The profession of an ordinary seaman (mostly known as OS) allows a person to work on the deck of a ship majorly.
The deck jobs include cleaning the ship, taking care of the paint-work, taking duty of the helm of the ship and standing guard whenever the situation demands. The difference between an ordinary seaman and an able seaman is the difference in the pay that is given to them. The concept of first distinguishing and separating an ordinary seaman from an able seaman came in the 18th century.
An ordinary seaman has the most menial jobs out of the entire category of merchant marine jobs. But in spite of such routine and a lowly job description, it has to be noted that an ordinary seaman’s profession is something that is well appreciated and admired. Absence of an ordinary seaman would lead to absence of hierarchy and dearth of a helping hand for other crew members.
Mandatory health tests are the primary requirement in case one wants to take up seaman jobs like that of an ordinary seaman. This is because merchant marine jobs like deck jobs require vigilance, alertness and complete physical fitness. In addition to these requirements, an ordinary seaman is expected to be on-his-toes round the clock in case any emergency and life-threatening situations crop up. Also, if an ordinary seaman is not able to perform these duties properly it would hamper his chances of getting chosen or qualified as an able seaman.
The average pay package for merchant marine jobs like that of an ordinary seaman is around $1,700. This is neither very high nor very low, though it can be said that the paying rate varies on the basis of shipping company, country to which a shipping company belongs, and crew members. However, the pay rate for an ordinary seaman is quite less when compared to that of an able seaman which is why every person who is employed in seaman jobs as an ordinary seaman makes every possible attempt to become an able seaman.