Sailor Speak of the Week – O.S.



  • Ordinary Seaman


Probably earlier than the 17th century.


A rating in the Merchant Marine below that of Able Seaman. Established in the U.S. Merchant Marine in 1915. Also used in the British service, although abbreviated as O.D. Boys began being rated as Ordinary Seaman at 18, and then were rated as Able Seaman at 21. Not to be confused with the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard rating of OS (Operations Specialist) which lacks the periods.


Kemp, P. (1994). The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea. Oxford University Press.

King, D., Hattendorf, J.B, & Estes, J.W. (1997). A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O’Brian’s Seafaring Tales (2nd Ed.). Owl Books.

Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s