Photo courtesy of Chris Winters – Great Lakes Fleet

The steward department consists of service staff and generally refers to the galley (kitchens). The main duties of these crew members are to prepare and serve meals for the ship’s crew and conducting general housekeeping aboard the ship. Proper culinary training from an educational institution and experience in the food service industry are often required, as well as endorsements and basic certifications from the U.S. Coast Guard and Transport Canada. This essential department is comprised of unlicensed personnel and normally includes three ratings that may overlap in the duties they perform depending on the size of the ship.

Steward or Chief Cook: This is the most senior member of the Steward’s Department and has a supervisory role. The steward generally instructs other personnel on daily duties such as cooking and serving meals, cleaning and maintenance, and overseeing inventory and ordering supplies.

Cook: The cook oversees preparing and serving meals. They take part in planning meals, taking inventory and storing equipment.

Steward assistant or assistant cook: This is the entry-level position in the Steward’s Department. Assistants generally help stewards and cooks prepare food, wash dishes and conduct general cleaning.

For complete information on requirements for different positions in the steward department, contact the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center or Transport Canada’s Marine Safety Services.

United States Certifications
Canadian Certifications