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A sailor or mariner is a person who navigates water-borne vessels or assists in their operation, maintenance, or service. The term can apply to professional mariners, military personnel, and recreational sailors as well as a plethora of other uses. Etymologically, the name preserves the memory of the time when ships were commonly powered by sails, but applies to the personnel of all vessels, whatever their mode of locomotion.
Professional mariners hold a variety of professions and ranks which are fairly standard, with the exception of slight naming differences around the world. Common categories by department include the Deck department, the Engineering department, and the Steward's department. Mariners can also be categorized by status as a senior licensed mariners or unlicensed mariners.
A number of professional mariners have left the industry and lead noteworthy lives in the naval services or on the shore. For example, Traian BÄsescu, started his career as a third mate in 1976 and is now the President of Romania. Arthur Phillip joined the Merchant Navy in 1751 and 37 years later founded Sydney, Australia. Merchant mariner Douglass North went from seaman to navigator to win the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economics.