Chain of Command

Typecrew designations

It takes 4-6 months for a landlubber, or "ordinary", to learn the nautical skills of a sailing ship. After a year, half of the "ordinaries" become able-bodies sailors.

Ships have a chain of command, with the captain at the top of the pecking order. The Chain of Command, or COC, follows in descending order. If a captain becomes incapacitated or killed, the highest-ranking member of the ship takes the role of captain.

The captain is the senior officer of the ship.
Junior officers with navigation skills and a understanding of all ship functions. All petty officers, except the sailing master, report to the lieutenant(s). On larger ships, there may be 1 or more lieutenants.
Midshipmen are petty officers training to become lieutenants. Middies supervise work parties and carry out the orders of the lieutenants.

Petty Officers and Mates

Sailing Master
Duties include navigation and training other petty officers in navigation. Unlike the other petty officers, the Sailing Master reports directly to the captain.
Master's Mates
Aid in navigation of the ship.
The Quartermaster is a very junior master's mate whom takes the wheel and steers the ship.
Bosun, or Boatswain
The bosun is in charge of ship supplies and maintenance.
Bosun Mate
The bosun mate helps the boatswain in his/her daily duties.
The master-at-arms is in charge of the weapon's locker, discipline, and crew combat training.

There are other petty officers and mates not in the COC; cooper, sailmaker, cook, carpenter, purser, and their mates.