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Things You Should Know About Catering Rating

Catering ratings in the Merchant Navy involve individuals responsible for preparing meals, maintaining cleanliness in the galley, and assisting in various catering operations on ships. These roles are crucial for ensuring that crew members are well-fed and that the galley functions smoothly throughout voyages at sea. Catering ratings play a vital role in supporting the overall operations and well-being of the crew onboard.

Additionally, you’re undoubtedly eager to dive into galley life and start cooking meals for the crew. But before you grab that chef’s hat, you should know a few things about this entry-level position. Life as a catering rating isn’t always smooth sailing from the long hours to the tight quarters.

Here, we’ll give you insider info on what to expect as a new catering rating, from daily duties to living conditions and more. With realistic expectations in place, you’ll be ready to take on this culinary adventure on the high seas. So get ready learn the ropes of feeding hungry sailors as we dish out everything you should know before reporting for galley duty as a catering rating in the merchant navy.

What is a Catering Rating in the Merchant Navy?

A catering rating, or galley rating, is an entry-level position in the merchant navy focused on various galley duties like food preparation, cleaning, and dish washing. As a catering rating, your main job is to assist the chief cook and steward in running the ship’s galley and taking care of the crew’s dining needs each day.

Duties and Responsibilities

Your daily tasks may include:

  • Preparing ingredients like peeling potatoes, chopping vegetables, and butchering meat
  • Cooking simple meals and snacks like eggs, sandwiches, and soups
  • Baking bread, cakes, and pastries for the crew
  • Washing pots, pans, dishes, and utensils
  • Cleaning the galley, pantries, and mess rooms
  • Serving food to officers and crew members
  • Ensuring food safety and hygiene standards are met

To work as a catering rating, you’ll need a catering course certificate from an approved maritime training institute. While the work can be physically demanding, it’s an excellent way to gain valuable experience at sea and can lead to higher positions like chief cook or steward. The job typically requires long work hours, but you’ll get the chance to travel the world and work with people from all walks of life. If you enjoy cooking and want an adventurous career, consider becoming a catering rating in the merchant navy.

Key Responsibilities of a Catering Rating

Food Preparation

As a catering rating, one of your main jobs will be helping the ship’s cook prepare meals. This includes tasks like peeling potatoes, chopping vegetables, baking bread, and making desserts. You’ll need to follow the cook’s recipes and instructions carefully to ensure high quality and consistent food for the crew.

Serving Meals

At mealtimes, you’ll serve the food to officers and crew. This means setting up the mess halls, ensuring tables and chairs are clean, and plating the prepared food. You’ll also operate the buffet line, keeping everything stocked and assisting crew members with their trays or plates. Prompt, efficient, and friendly service is important to keep everyone fed and happy.

Cleaning and Maintenance

There’s more to the job than just cooking and serving. As a catering rating, you’re responsible for keeping the galleys and mess halls spotless through frequent cleaning and sanitation. This includes tasks like mopping floors, wiping down tables and chairs, washing dishes, taking out trash, and deep cleaning equipment like ovens or freezers. Proper hygiene and cleanliness are essential in the close quarters of a ship.

Additional Duties

Catering ratings may also assist with other basic ship functions like handling lines during docking, participating in emergency drills, or helping load/unload stores. While your primary role involves food service, you’re still part of the crew and expected to pitch in as needed. The key is maintaining a helpful and enthusiastic attitude, even during long days of tiring work. For the right person, though, life at sea can be very rewarding.

Skills and Qualifications Needed for a Catering Rating in the Merchant Navy

To work as a catering rating onboard a merchant navy ship, you’ll need certain skills and qualifications. First, you must be physically fit and able to handle the demands of the job, which often requires standing, bending, and lifting heavy pots and pans for long hours. You should also have good hand-eye coordination and be comfortable working in cramped spaces.

Culinary Skills

While you don’t need to be a master chef, having basic cooking skills is essential. You’ll help prepare meals for the entire crew, so you must know how to handle ingredients, follow recipes, and have a good sense of timing. Experience cooking for large groups is useful. You should be competent with kitchen equipment like stoves, ovens, knives, and pots and pans.

Cleanliness and Hygiene

Maintaining high standards of cleanliness and hygiene is crucial. You’ll be responsible for keeping the galley and food storage areas spotless to avoid health issues onboard. You must know proper food handling and safety procedures. Strong organizational and time-management skills also help ensure meals are prepared and served efficiently within a tight schedule.


The key qualifications for this role are a Merchant Navy Catering Rating Certificate and a Medical Fitness Certificate. The catering rating certificate proves you have the necessary training and skills. The medical certificate confirms you are healthy and fit to handle the physical demands of the job. Some companies may require additional certifications in areas like food safety.

With the right skills, qualifications, and certifications, you’ll be ready to feed hungry crews as a catering rating in the merchant navy. The job can be demanding, but also rewarding for those seeking adventure on the high seas.

However, here you have all the nitty gritty on being a catering rating in the merchant navy. It’s hard work with long hours, but you get to see the world and eat well while you’re at it. The job isn’t for everyone, but if you’re up for the challenge, it can be a rewarding way to get your sea legs and see what life is like in a ship’s galley. Just be ready to multitask, think on your feet, and find joy in feeding others. With the right attitude and work ethic, you could have an adventure of a lifetime as a catering rating.

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