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The chief mate, also known as the first mate or chief officer, acts as the captain's first assistant. He or she is in charge of all cargo planning and deck work and assists with navigation, discipline, and maintaining order. The second mate is in charge of the maintenance of all navigating equipment and charts. Third mates are responsible for the maintenance of lifeboats and fire-fighting equipment; they are in charge of all signaling equipment and assist with cargo work. Mates usually stand watch at the navigating bridge for four hours at a time.
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