A chief mate (C/M) or chief officer, usually also synonymous with the first mate or first officer, is a licensed mariner and head of the deck department of a merchant ship. The chief mate is customarily a watchstander and is in charge of the ship's cargo and deck crew. The actual title used will vary by ship's employment, by type of ship, by nationality, and by trade: for instance, chief mate is not usually used in the Commonwealth, although chief officer and first mate are; on passenger ships, the first officer may be a separate position from that of the chief officer that is junior to the latter.
|Other names||Chief officer, first mate, first officer|
|Duties||Cargo officer, Deck department head.|
|Requirements||Chief Mate's License|
|Watchstander||Yes/Depends on shipboard manning requirements|
|Watch (at sea)||Varies (0400-0800, 1600-2000)|
|Watch (in port)||Varies (0800-1700)|
The chief mate answers to the captain for the safety and security of the ship. Responsibilities include the crew's welfare and training in areas such as safety, firefighting, search and rescue.