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Difference between Seaman and Deck Cadet

Difference between Seaman and Deck Cadet

When considering a career in the maritime industry, it’s important to understand the difference between a seaman and a deck cadet. A seaman is someone who has met the minimum requirements set by their country to work on a vessel, while a deck cadet is an apprentice who is working towards their certificate of competency. Deck cadets typically have less responsibility than seamen, and generally receive lower wages. However, they have the opportunity to learn from experienced seafarers and build their skillset. If you’re interested in becoming a seafarer, it’s important to familiarize yourself with both roles before making a decision.

What is Seaman?

Seaman is a program that was developed by the United States Navy in the 1950s. The program was designed to train sailors in the use of nuclear weapons. Seaman consists of three main phases: academics, practical training, and field exercises. During the academic phase, students receive instruction in nuclear physics and engineering. In the practical training phase, students learn how to operate nuclear reactors and handle radioactive materials. Finally, in the field exercise phase, students are put through a series of simulated nuclear war scenarios. Seaman is widely considered to be one of the most successful military training programs in history, and it continues to be used by the Navy today.

What is Deck Cadet?

Deck Cadets are Entry Level Officers who are undergoing training onboard a vessel to eventually become Deck Officers. Deck Cadets are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the Deck Department and also perform various navigational duties as per the requirements of the watch. Deck Cadets join a vessel after completing their pre-sea training from institutes approved by DGS. The Deck Cadet course is for a duration of 18 months which is further divided into 3 phases, each phase having 6 months duration. Upon successful completion of all 3 phases, Deck Cadets are awarded a Diploma in Nautical Science from DGS and they can appear for the 2nd Mates (FG) Unlimited License Examination. Deck Cadets act as a lookout during navigational watch, they work aloft on mast and yardarms, handle lines during mooring and unmooring operations, assist in cargo operations and stand bridge watches under the supervision of licensed Deck Officers. They also perform other general duties as per the requirements of their respective departments. Deck Cadets have to maintain a Deck Log Book onboard the vessel detailing their day-to-day activities and tasks performed by them. This is helpful for them during their final orals during the 2nd Mates License Examination conducted by the ministry of shipping.

Difference between Seaman and Deck Cadet

Seaman and Deck Cadet are two ranks in the Merchant Navy. Seaman is an entry-level rank whereas Deck Cadet is a trained professional. Seaman holds various positions onboard such as cooks, steward, engine room utility men, etc. Seaman does not require any professional training whereas Deck Cadet undergoes training for 18 months to 2 years at Maritime Training Institutes. After successful completion of training, Deck Cadets are placed as Junior Officers on board. Seaman is paid less than Deck Cadet. Seaman works under the supervision of Deck Cadet. Seaman does not have any promotional chances whereas Deck Cadet can be promoted to the rank of Captain. Seaman has to sign on for a minimum period of 6 months to 1 year whereas Deck Cadet has to sign on for 3 years. Seaman does not enjoy any leave benefits whereas Deck Cadet enjoys annual leave benefits. Seaman does not have any job security whereas Deck Cadet has job security. Seaman can be terminated from the job at any time by the employer whereas Deck Cadet can only be terminated due to misconduct or unsatisfactory performance.


So, what is the difference between a seaman and a deck cadet? Generally speaking, the seaman is those who have completed their training and received their certification, while deck cadets are still in the process of completing their training. There may be some variation from ship to ship or company to company, but this is generally how it works. If you’re looking for a career at sea, understanding the distinction between these two roles can be important. And if you want to become a seaman or deck cadet yourself, make sure you do your research and find an accredited program that will give you the skills you need to succeed in this industry.

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