Second masters were paid significantly more than master's mates, £5 5s per month. 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.
Master's mates also acted as second master of vessels too small to be allocated a warranted master.
- Lavery, Brian (1989). Nelson's Navy: The Ships, Men and Organization. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press. p. 326. ISBN 0-87021-258-3.
- 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.
- "Officer ranks in the Royal Navy". Retrieved 2009-04-25.