MARINERS-L ArchivesArchiver > MARINERS > 2017-06 > 1497511817
Subject: [MAR] Third Mate
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2017 03:30:17 -0400
The path to being a Master Mariner in the Merchant Service was via an apprenticeship, which usually began at 14 for 4 years. At that time there were no laws governing how crew were treated regarding sleeping space, pay if any, discipline etc. It was up to the ship's Captain - some were good and taught their apprentices navigation etc but many were not. You might enjoy reading "Masters Under God" by Richard Woodman.
Then, depending on luck and ability, when finished his apprenticeship the nascent captain man would start climbing the ladder.. Usually this was by being third or second mate (if the latter, then in charge of one of the two "watches" or teams) and, after a variable time 1st mate and Captain. My hero, Robert Crighton. served as second mate for just over 3 months before being promoted to 1st, in which capacity he served for nearly 3 and a half years before getting his first command in 1844.
Sometimes wives and children accompanied their husbands on voyages. If you are interested in this, Joan Durett's book called "Hen Frigates" is fascinating.
Clare (Oxford UK)
Oxford is hot and going to get hotter today
A letter from the East India Company many years ago indicates
that Thomas Brown DANIEL (a native of Sussex) was, in 1825, Third Mate on
the "Marquis Camden". He was 23 at the time.
In 1828 he became Master of the Coronet for its voyage to Port
Jackson in New South Wales, carrying supplies to the infant colony. I've
been able to track his voyages since then in the Log of Logs by Ian
Nicholson, and found an account in Sydney newspapers of his drowning off
Cape Horn in 1836.
I'm trying to put Tom's story together (he was my ggf's eldest
brother and was drowned as a young man), and am wondering about his life at
At what age would he have begun his time in the Merchant Navy,
and what steps would he have had to take before eventually become
Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia