“Wott’s a f@*king marstarmarinnar?” asked Gorilla Gaz down the Harbour Arms the other day. I had to scratch my head for though I is one, I didn’t know how to burp out a concise answer on the spot. To be honest, it didn’t matter that much because Gaz had put the question to a group of Italian students at the other end of the bar, it’s just that he’s got a very loud voice and I happened to hear him.
Hmm, indeed? What is a Master Mariner?
Well thanks to the good folks at Wikipedia (which all-at-sea.org does donate funds to), here’s a description.
“In the UK, the term “Master Mariner” is reserved only for those who hold an unlimited master’s certificate. The term “unlimited” (often referred to as unrestricted) indicates that there are no limits on size, power or geographic location on the certificate. It is the highest level of professional qualification amongst mariners and Deck Officers in the British Merchant Navy. The Extra Master’s qualification, which was discontinued in the 1990s, used to be the highest professional qualification and it was the pinnacle for any mariner to achieve. There are also various other levels of Master’s certificates, which may be restricted or limited to Home Trade/Near Coastal Voyages and/or by gross tonnage. The holder of a restricted Master’s certificate is not referred to as a “Master Mariner”.
In the British Merchant Navy a Master Mariner who has sailed in command of an oceangoing merchant ship of 3000 GT or more will be titled Captain. A professional seafarer who holds a restricted or limited Master’s certificate who has sailed in command of a ship (i.e. appropriate to the size, power or geographic limits of their certificate) can also be titled Captain.
An unrestricted master’s certificate is colloquially called a “Master’s Ticket” or a “Master’s.” It is sometimes still referred to as a “Class 1” or “Master Foreign-Going” as it was named during the latter part of the 20th century. The conventions or acts governing the certificate have evolved alongside the shipping industry and the official name of a Master Mariner’s qualification has varied over the years. The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency, in-line with the amended STCW convention , currently title the certificate Master Unlimited. ”
All very interesting. Allatsea knows a hell of a lot of Master Mariners who are very keen to be called Captain. Some of them get upset when they’re not. Many of those that get upset have never been Master (eg in Command) of a ship in their lives.
It does make old allatsea laff.