He entered the Royal Navy in 1809 and joined the frigate Salsette as a midshipman.  In May 1810, while Chamier was serving on Salsette, he watched Lord Byron swim across the Hellespont at the second attempt. Chamier described the episode in The Life of a Sailor.
After service on the 74-gun Fame he was transferred to Arethusa fighting the slave trade, followed by anther transfer to Menelaus. He briefly commanded the 10-gun brig Britomart in 1827; she was very soon paid off. He had no further employment, and in 1833 was placed on the retired list of the navy, on which he was promoted to be captain on 1 April 1856.
Retiring in 1827, he wrote his autobiography, The Life of a Sailor, which was serialised in Metropolitan Magazine (1831–1832). He also wrote sea novels somewhat in the style of Marryat, including The Unfortunate Man (1835), Ben Brace, the last of Nelson's Agamemnons (1836), The Arethusa (1837), Jack Adams, or the Mutiny of the Bounty (1838), The Spitfire (1840), Tom Bowling (1841), Jack Malcolm's Log (1846). He also continued William James Naval History, and wrote books of travel.
His most popular books were Life of a Sailor, with six reprints from 1832 to 1873, Ben Brace, with 11 reprints from 1836 to 1905, Tom Bowling, with 5 reprints from 1858 to 1905 and The Spitfire, with 3 reprints from 1840 to 1861.
In 1870 The Times described Chamier as "a veteran novelist, one, indeed, whose sea novels some quarter of a century ago were almost as universally popular as those of Captain Marryat." The only detailed publication on Chamier's life and works is the exhaustive PhD dissertation by P. J. van der Voort, The Pen and the Quarterdeck (Leiden University Press, 1972).
Frederick Chamier is related to Daniel Chamier.
- Laughton, John Knox (1887). "Chamier, Frederick". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Morriss, Roger (2004). "Chamier, Frederick (1796–1870)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource