Able Body Seaman (AB) Class

Able Seaman (AB)

Able Body Seaman (AB)

The Able Body Seaman (AB) is an MMC Rating issued by the USCG. More important, most seagoing vessels greater than 100 GRT need their crew to have an AB. To get an AB the mariner must: Firstly, have sea time on boats. And secondly, complete an approved AB class. Lastly, complete a Lifeboatman or Lifeboatman Limited class too.

Able Seaman (AB) Class: 5-days, $700

NOTICE: In January 2024 the cost of this class will be $800.

In short, this Able AB class will meet the exam and training requirements for any AB rating. Lastly, the subjects covered in the class include:

  • Traditional Seamanship terms.
  • Marine compass terms and use.
  • Aids to Navigation.
  • Lights, shapes, and sound signals in the Rules of the Road.
  • Helmsman and lookout duties.
  • Shipboard safety, PPE.
  • Emergency procedures and sea survival.
  • Pollution laws and discharge cleanup and disposal.
  • Knots and splices.

Able Body Seaman (AB) class (call 503-841-6066 to register)

AB Info

There are six AB ratings. To explain. the higher the level the more experience required and the more vessels the AB is qualified to work on. In sum, AB levels are based on the mariner’s sea-time only. Therefore, advancement to a higher AB is base of sea time alone, no class or exams needed.

  • AB Unlimited is the highest-level AB requiring 1080-days.
  • AB Limited requires 540-days.
  • AB Special requires 360-days and is the most common AB issued.
  • AB Fishing, AB Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV), and AB Sail are the lowest AB level. They require only 180-days of sea time are limited to a specific vessel type.

AB checklist >>

On the other hand, if you don’t have sea time for the AB, apply for an OS (Ordinary Seaman). To clarify, the OS is an entry level rating. With this rating you can get an entry level job on a boat to the gain experience needed to advance.

More about the AB and OS >>

Lifeboatman Info

The AB must also skilled in the use of survival craft. Therefore, the AB must also have either Lifeboatman, or Lifeboatman Limited. To explain: Firstly, Lifeboatman is for vessels with any type of survival craft. And secondly, Lifeboatman Limited is for vessels with life-rafts only.

Lifeboatman checklist >>

ColPac does not offer either course at this time. But we do recommend these schools for lifeboatman:

Compass Courses in Edmonds, WA.

Seafarers Worldwide in Anacortes, WA.

Clatsop Community College – MERTS in Astoria, OR

Related Info

Sea Service Bench Mark Checklist

Frequently Asked License Questions

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