The Royal Canadian Navy is looking to chart new waters by dropping the term “seaman” when referring to its most junior sailors and replacing it with something more gender-neutral. Members of the Royal Canadian Navy take part in the 2019 Pride Parade in Toronto, Saturday, June 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj

Royal Canadian Navy to replace ‘seaman’ in rank titles with gender-neutral term

Navies around the world have used the similar for decades and in some cases centuries

The Royal Canadian Navy is looking to chart new waters by dropping the term “seaman” when referring to its most junior sailors and replacing it with something more gender-neutral.

Navies around the world have used the terms “ordinary seaman,” “able seaman,” “leading seaman” and “master seaman” for decades and in some cases centuries.

But Cmdr. Deborah Lynn Gates says those terms are being replaced in Canada as the navy, which is short hundreds of sailors, works to become more diverse and inclusive.

She says it is also aimed at making sure the navy’s most junior members feel safe and proud of their ranks and profession, acknowledging the double entendre associated with the term “seaman.”

Members of the navy as well as the public at large will be able to vote online on two alternatives starting Friday, with both variants substituting “sailor” in place of “seaman” in different ways.

While the plan to drop the term has already prompted some backlash on social media, Gates says the navy wants to show both Canadians and its sailors that it is a modern and progressive organization.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Society celebrates pride with colourful piano contest around Chilliwack

People invited to find missing keys in Chilliwack Pride Society’s Rainbow Piano Mystery game

EDITORIAL: The dilemma of living in beautiful B.C.

Tourism dollars are needed for the economy while some locals are crying ‘stay away’

Three men face attempted murder charges after Harrison Hot Springs stabbing

Man, 24, sent to hospital with life-threatening injuries following attack Wednesday

Four activists face charges linked to 2019 Abbotsford hog-farm protest

Mischief and break-and-enter charges laid for incidents on four separate days prior to the protest

Chilliwack children can get tested locally, Fraser Health confirms

Erroneous information online and via 811 has many families driving to Abbotsford for testing

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Wrong-way driver triggers multi-vehicle collision on Highway 99 in South Surrey

Police received multiple reports of vehicle heading north in southbound lanes

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Answers to 5 common questions facing families for the COVID-19 school year

COVID-19 protocols are likely to vary even more at the school board level, and even and school-to-school.

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

Most Read