The crews of large ships are distributed into classes, according to their different capacities; and thus the grade of one’s seamanship may be ascertained by the station he may have held. The classification is stated in Van Heytbuysen’s Marine Evidence, p. 9, as follows:
Quarter-masters, Boatswain’s mates, Gunners and Gunners’ mates, Forecastle-men — Best seamen in the ship.
Foretop-men, Maintop-men — Active young seamen.
Mizentop-men — Young lads, and indifferent seamen.
After-guards-men, Waisters — Landsmen, &c.
– Simon Greenleaf, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence