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Second master was a rating introduced into the Royal Navy in 1753 that indicated a deputy master on third-rate ships of the line or larger.

Second masters were paid significantly more than master's mates, £5 5s per month.[1] A second master was generally a master's mate who had passed his examination for master and was deemed worthy of being master of a vessel. Second masters were given the first opportunity for master vacancies as they occurred.[2]

Master's mates also acted as second master of vessels too small to be allocated a warranted master.[3]


  1. Lavery, Brian (1989). Nelson's Navy: The Ships, Men and Organization. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press. p. 326. ISBN 0-87021-258-3. 
  2. Rodger, N.A.M. (1986). The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. p. 216. ISBN 0-87021-987-1. 
  3. "Officer ranks in the Royal Navy". Retrieved 2009-04-25. 

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