|Other names||Clerk of burser|
|Duties||Manages money handling, and orders stores & supplies|
|Requirements||Administration and logistics training|
A ship's purser (also pusser)is the person on a ship principally responsible for the handling of money on board. On modern merchant ships, the purser is the officer responsible for all administration (including the ship's cargo and passenger manifests) and supply; frequently the cooks and stewards answer to them as well.
The purser joined the warrant officer ranks of the Royal Navy in the early 14th century and existed as a naval rank until 1852. The development of the warrant officer system began in 1040, when five English ports began furnishing warships to King Edward the Confessor in exchange for certain privileges. They also furnished crews whose officers were the Master, Boatswain, Carpenter and Cook. Later these officers were "warranted" by the British Admiralty. Pursers received no pay but were entitled to profits made through their business activities. In the 18th century a purser would buy his warrant for £65 and was required to post sureties totalling £2,100 with the Admiralty.They maintained and sailed the ships and were the standing officers of the navy, staying with the ships in port between voyages as caretakers supervising repairs and refitting.
In charge of supplies such as food and drink, clothing, bedding, candles, the purser was originally known as "the clerk of burser."They would usually charge the supplier a 5% commission for making a purchase and it is recorded they charged a considerable markup when they resold the goods to the crew. The purser was not in charge of pay, but he had to track it closely since the crew had to pay for all their supplies, and it was the purser's job to deduct those expenses from their wages. The purser bought everything (except food and drink) on credit, acting as an unofficial private merchant. In addition to his official responsibilities, it was customary for the purser to act as an official private merchant for luxuries such as tobacco and to be the crew's banker.
As a result, the purser could be at risk of losing money and being thrown into debtor's prison; conversely, the crew and officers habitually suspected the purser of making an illicit profit out of his complex dealings. It was the common practice of pursers forging pay tickets to claim wages for "phantom" crew members that led to the Navy's implementation of muster inspection to confirm who worked on a vessel.The position, though unpaid, was very sought after because of the expectation of making a reasonable profit; although there were wealthy pursers, it was from side businesses facilitated by their ships' travels.
On modern-day passenger ships, the purser has evolved into a multiperson office that handles general administration, fees and charges, currency exchange, and any other money-related needs of the passengers and crew.
On modern airliners, the cabin manager (chief flight attendant) is often called the purser. The purser oversees the flight attendants by making sure airline passengers are safe and comfortable. A flight purser completes detailed reports and verifies all safety procedures are followed.
Maritime transport and fluvial transport, or more generally waterborne transport, is the transport of people (passengers) or goods (cargo) via waterways. Freight transport by sea has been widely used throughout recorded history. The advent of aviation has diminished the importance of sea travel for passengers, though it is still popular for short trips and pleasure cruises. Transport by water is cheaper than transport by air, despite fluctuating exchange rates and a fee placed on top of freighting charges for carrier companies known as the currency adjustment factor (CAF). Maritime transport actually accounts for roughly 80% of international trade, as opposed to other modes of transportation, according to UNCTAD in 2020.
Warrant officer (WO) is a rank or category of ranks in the armed forces of many countries. Depending on the country, service, or historical context, warrant officers are sometimes classified as the most junior of the commissioned ranks, the most senior of the non-commissioned officer (NCO) ranks, or in a separate category of their own. However, warrant officer ranks are always the most senior non-commissioned officer ranks, and are subordinate to all commissioned officer ranks. Warrant officer ranks are especially prominent in the militaries of Commonwealth nations and the United States.
A midshipman is an officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Canada, Australia, Bangladesh, Namibia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.
Impressment, colloquially "the press" or the "press gang", is the taking of men into a military or naval force by compulsion, with or without notice. European navies of several nations used forced recruitment by various means. The large size of the British Royal Navy in the Age of Sail meant impressment was most commonly associated with Great Britain and Ireland. It was used by the Royal Navy in wartime, beginning in 1664 and during the 18th and early 19th centuries as a means of crewing warships, although legal sanction for the practice can be traced back to the time of Edward I of England. The Royal Navy impressed many merchant sailors, as well as some sailors from other, mostly European, nations. People liable to impressment were "eligible men of seafaring habits between the ages of 18 and 55 years". Non-seamen were sometimes impressed as well, though rarely.
A boatswain, bo's'n, bos'n, or bosun, also known as a Petty Officer, deck boss, or a qualified member of the deck department, is the seniormost rate of the deck department and is responsible for the components of a ship's hull. The boatswain supervises the other members of the ship's deck department, and typically is not a watchstander, except on vessels with small crews. Additional duties vary depending upon ship, crew, and circumstances.
The Spithead and Nore mutinies were two major mutinies by sailors of the Royal Navy in 1797. They were the first in an increasing series of outbreaks of maritime radicalism in the Atlantic World. Despite their temporal proximity, the mutinies differed in character. The Spithead mutiny was a simple, peaceful, successful strike action to address economic grievances, while the Nore mutiny was a more radical action, articulating political ideals as well, which failed.
Prize money refers in particular to naval prize money, usually arising in naval warfare, but also in other circumstances. It was a monetary reward paid in accordance with the prize law of a belligerent state to the crew of a ship belonging to the state, either a warship of its navy or a privateer vessel commissioned by the state. Prize money was most frequently awarded for the capture of enemy ships or of cargoes belonging to an enemy in time of war, either arrested in port at the outbreak of war or captured during the war in international waters or other waters not the territorial waters of a neutral state. Goods carried in neutral ships that are classed as contraband, being shipped to enemy-controlled territory and liable to be useful to it for making war, were also liable to be taken as prizes, but non-contraband goods belonging to neutrals were not. Claims for the award of prize money were usually heard in a Prize Court, which had to adjudicate the claim and condemn the prize before any distribution of cash or goods could be made to the captors.
A second mate or second officer (2/O) is a licensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship holding a Second Mates Certificate of Competency, which is issued by the administration. The second mate is the third in command and a watchkeeping officer, customarily the ship's navigator. Other duties vary, but the second mate is often the medical officer and in charge of maintaining distress signaling equipment. On oil tankers, the second mate usually assists the chief mate with the Cargo operations.
Seafaring is a tradition that encompasses a variety of professions and ranks. Each of these roles carries unique responsibilities that are integral to the successful operation of a seafaring vessel. A ship's crew can generally be divided into four main categories: the deck department, the engineering department, the steward's department, and other. The reasoning behind this is that a ship's bridge, filled with sophisticated navigational equipment, requires skills differing from those used on deck operations – such as berthing, cargo and/or military devices – which in turn requires skills different from those used in a ship's engine room and propulsion, and so on.
Supply officer was a specialisation in the British Royal Navy which has recently been superseded by the Logistics Officer, recognising the need to align with the nomenclature and function of similar cadres in the British Army and Royal Air Force. Though, initially, employment of Logistics Officers in the Royal Navy remained broadly the same, it has begun to reflect exposure to the 'tri-service' environment, including a significantly greater number of operational logistics posts, as well as the more traditional Cash, Pay and Records, and 'outer-office' or Aide de Camp duties. The Logistics Branch in the Royal Navy is one of the three main branches of the Senior Service, though due to its unique nature has interaction with all branches of the Naval Service, including the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Marines, as well as the Defence Equipment and Support Organisation, the Ministry of Defence and many other agencies and organisations. In centuries past, the supply officer had been known as the clerk, bursar, purser and, later, the paymaster. Logistics officers are still generally referred to by the historic sobriquet 'pusser', a derivation of 'purser'.
A sea captain, ship's captain, captain, master, or shipmaster, is a high-grade licensed mariner who holds ultimate command and responsibility of a merchant vessel. The captain is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the ship—including its seaworthiness, safety and security, cargo operations, navigation, crew management, and legal compliance—and for the persons and cargo on board.
Defensively equipped merchant ship (DEMS) was an Admiralty Trade Division programme established in June 1939, to arm 5,500 British merchant ships with an adequate defence against enemy submarines and aircraft. The acronym DEMS was used to describe the ships carrying the guns, the guns aboard the ships, the military personnel manning the guns, and the shore establishment supporting the system.
The United States Navy occupational rating of boatswain's mate is a designation given by the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) to enlisted members who were rated or "striking" for the rating as a deck seaman. The colloquial form of address for a boatswain's mate is "Boats".
The displacement or displacement tonnage of a ship is its weight. As the term indicates, it is measured indirectly, using Archimedes' principle, by first calculating the volume of water displaced by the ship, then converting that value into weight. Traditionally, various measurement rules have been in use, giving various measures in long tons. Today, metric tonnes are more commonly used.
The master, or sailing master, was a historical rank for a naval officer trained in and responsible for the navigation of a sailing vessel. The rank can be equated to a professional seaman and specialist in navigation, rather than as a military commander.
Master's mate is an obsolete rating which was used by the Royal Navy, United States Navy and merchant services in both countries for a senior petty officer who assisted the master. Master's mates evolved into the modern rank of Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, while in the merchant service they evolved into the numbered mates or officers.
A captain's clerk was a rating, now obsolete, in the Royal Navy and the United States Navy for a person employed by the captain to keep his records, correspondence, and accounts. The regulations of the Royal Navy demanded that a purser serve at least one year as a captain's clerk, so the latter was often a young man working his way to a purser's warrant. He had high status, with an office on the quarterdeck or upper deck on most ships. He was paid at the same rate as a midshipman in 1800, but by 1815 he had almost the same monthly pay as a standing warrant officer. On large ships, he had his own cabin in the gunroom, but on smaller vessels he lived with the midshipmen on the orlop deck.
The Transport Board was the British Royal Navy organisation responsible for the transport of supplies and military. It is also referred to as the Board of Transport and Transport Office.
HMS Trent was a 28-gun Coventry-class sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy.
In 1623 the ships Anne and Little James were the third and fourth ships financed by the London-based Merchant Adventurers to come out together in support of Plymouth Colony, as were Mayflower in 1620 and Fortune in 1621. Anne carried mostly passengers, and the much smaller Little James carried primarily cargo, albeit with a few passengers. After a stormy three-month voyage from London, Anne arrived at New Plymouth in early July 1623, with Little James a week or so later.