Able Seaman (AB)

Able Seaman (AB)

Able Seaman (AB)

Able 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 course.

The Able Seaman (AB) class. This class is 5-days and $700. In short, this AB class will meet the exam and training requirements for any AB rating. In conclusion call 503-841-6066 or view the school calendar for scheduling info >>

On the other hand, if you don’t have sea time, apply for an OS. To clarify, the OS is an entry level rating. With this rating you can get an entry level job to gain experience. More >>

More about the AB

There are six AB ratings. Each is a different level. The higher the level, the more vessels the AB is qualified to work on. To explain, AB levels are based on the mariner’s sea time only. Therefore, advancement to a higher AB is base of sea time alone.

  • The highest level is AB Unlimited. This AB requires 1080-days of sea time, on oceans. And, additionally can work on any type of size vessel.
  • AB Limited is one level lower. This AB requires 540-days of sea time, on oceans. And, can work on any type of vessel less than 1600 GRT.
  • One level lower is AB Special. This AB requires 360-days sea time on ocean, or navigable inland waters. Additionally, this AB can work on any type of vessel less than 500 GRT. To clarify, this AB is good for any towing vessel.
  • AB Fishing, AB Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV), and AB Sail are the lowest AB level. Each requiring only 180-days of sea time. And additionally, limited to one type of vessel.

More >>


The AB is also skilled in the use of survival craft. Therefore, the AB must also have a rater of 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. More >>

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

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Frequently Asked License Questions

Get a captain license. Did you know that the sea-time you used to qualify you for an AB can also be used to qualify you for a Master or Mate license?

Master or Mate 100 and 200-ton

Apprentice Mate (steersman) of Towing

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