A mate is a broad description of a job that encompasses various duties related to working on a sea vessel. Typically, a mate would be one of the captain’s closest assistants, providing them with various services related to the operation of the vessel – such as logging of important events, assisting the captain in his duties, as well as maintaining the crew in order when it’s too much for the captain to handle. Additionally, a mate may sometimes be required to perform some lower-level tasks related to the general maintenance and upkeep of the vessel.
Getting a job as a mate depends mostly on a candidate’s experience – it’s important for a good mate to have sufficient knowledge in working at open sea. Usually, candidates are judged by the number of years they’ve spent working on other vessels, as well as some of their skills in particular. It’s not difficult to get a job as a mate for an experienced sailor, and it can be a very lucrative choice in some cases, too.
The mate on a sea vessel can be compensated very well in most cases, and the salary mainly depends on the size of the ship and its crew. There’s quite a large gap between the lowest and highest ends of the pay rate for mates – typically, the salary for one can be between $34,000 – $108,000. The higher ends of the scale are common for large ships with large-sized crews where the mate has a lot of responsibilities and sees a lot of action in his duties. On the other hand, smaller vessels with a few crew members don’t tend to pay that well.