Edward Weddall; Second Mate

In 1865 Edward Weddall was rose to Second Mate status at 21 Years of age after about five years at sea. The certificate was awarded to him by the Board of Trades.

By the Lords of The Committee Privy

Council for Trade

Certificate of Competency


Second Mate

To Edward Weddall

Whereas it has been reported to us that you have been found duly qualified to fulfill the duties of Second Mate in the Merchant Service we do hereby in accordance of the Merchant Shipping Act 1854 grant you this Certificate of Competency. Given under the Seal of The board of Trade this Twenty-fourth day of August 1865.

In order for Edward to reach this rank he must have achieved the below:

A SECOND MATE must be seventeen years of age, and must have been four years at sea.
IN NAVIGATION.-He must write a legible hand and understand the first five rules of arithmetic, and the use of logarithms. He must be able to work a day’s work complete, including bearings and distance of the port he is bound to, by Merator’s method; to correct the sun’s declination for longitude, and find his latitude by meridian altitude of the sun; and to work such other easy problems of a like nature as may be put to him. He must understand the use of the sextant, and be able to observe with it, and read off the arc.
IN SEAMANSHIP.–He must give satisfactory answers as to the rigging and un-rigging of ships, stowing of holds, &e; must understand the measurement of the log-line, glass, and lead-line; be conversant with the rule of the road, as regards both steamers and sailing-vessels, and the lights and fog signals carried by them, and will also be examined as to this acquaintance, with ‘the Commercial Code of Signals for the use of all Nations.’

Ancestry.com – UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927
Alan Russell has kindly transcribed the following extract from the paper comprising the examination for Certificates of Competency (MS Act 1854) and the Voluntary Examination in Steam from his personal collection.