||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2008)|
A naval rating is an enlisted member of a country's navy, subordinate to warrant officers and officers hence not conferred by commission or warrant. The naval term comes from the general nautical usage of rating - a seaman's class or grade as recorded in the ship's books, whilst in the United States it is currently used differently to denote both rank and specialist employment.
The system of conferring authority on sailors in the Royal Navy and elsewhere evolved through the recognition of competence; Landsman, Ordinary seaman or Able seaman and through the appointment of authority as a petty officer.
Historically the term rate also applied to ships, denoting their combat strength by the number, and type, of guns.
The general structure now used in the majority of countries breaks down into four major groupings:
A "rate" refers to the pay grade or rank of the individual, whereas a "rating" refers to the specialization of the individual. Petty Officers and Chief Petty Officers are referred to by a combination of rate and rating: for example, a Petty Officer Second Class with the rating of Gunner's Mate is referred to and addressed as "Gunner's Mate Second Class," abbreviated and sometimes spoken GM2; similarly a Chief Petty Officer with the rating of Quartermaster is referred to as a Chief Quartermaster (QMC). Personnel E-1 to E-3 have no rating and are thus called "non-rated men", "non-rates", or "undesignated"; however they are broadly classed into one of five groups of junior rates, Seaman (SN), Fireman (FN), Airman (AN), Hospitalman (HN) and Constructionman (CN).
Within these a number of further specializations are available such as aviation electrician, or gas systems technician dealing with propulsion.
See also 
- New English Dictionary, p. 886
- Cutler, Thomas J., The Blue Jacket's Manual Centennial Edition, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2002, pg. 36–46
- Baker, Ernest A., The New English Dictionary, Odhams Press, London, 1932.
- Cutler, Thomas J., The Blue Jacket's Manual Centennial Edition, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2002. ISBN 9781557502087