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How to Become a Merchant Navy Deck Officer


Clyde Marine Training are the largest and most experienced provider of training to the Merchant Navy and Maritime industries. We will guide you through everything you need to know about becoming a Merchant Navy Deck Officer.

What is a Merchant Navy Deck Officer?

There are two main types of Merchant Navy Deck Officer, the deck officer and the master officer (also known as the Captain). Both Deck and Master Officers play a key role in managing Merchant Navy vessels.

The Deck Officers are responsible for the navigation of the ship, the loading/discharge of cargo, voyage planning, radio communication, environmental issues, health and safety issues, administration duties, and the control/safety of the crew and passengers.

The Master Officer (Captain) is in overall command of a ship and is responsible for the safety, efficiency and commercial feasibility of his ship. His duties are navigational at sea, while in ports he is responsible for cargo operations.

The Captain leads a core of Merchant Navy officers. Working under the Master is the Chief Officer (Chief Mate), 2nd Officer (2nd Mate), 3rd Officer (3rd Mate), and Trainee Officer.

What do I need to become a Merchant Navy Deck Officer?

You can start your training to become a Merchant Navy Deck Officer at a variety of different qualification levels from the age of 16 upwards.

  • If you hold 4 Standard Grades or GCSEs at grade 3 or above, including English, Maths and a Science you could study on the HNC/D course. You would complete a college course in Nautical Science, as well as gaining at least 12 months seatime with a shipping company and gain vocational qualifications and experience.
  • If you hold at least 120 UCAS points from Highers or A-Levels including Maths and/or Physics, plus the above Standard Grades or GCSEs you could start on the
    Professional Diploma/Foundation Degree course. As well as completing 12 months practical training onboard a ship you would also be studying Marine Operations at a Nautical College or University.
  • Once you have gained a HNC/D or Professional Diploma/Foundation Degree and have spent time working at sea as a deck officer cadet you can further your education and gain a Degree in Marine Operations. While working at sea you would have excellent opportunities to advance through the ranks, working towards becoming Captain of the vessel and gaining the relevant Certificates of Competency (CoC) as you progress.




Steps to Becoming a Merchant Navy Deck Officer

Clyde Marine Training can guide you through every step of the process involved in becoming a Merchant Navy Deck Officer. Here is an overview of the skills and training you are required to complete in order to become a Merchant Navy Officer:

Merchant Navy Officer Training

  • Deck Officers are required to undertake Merchant Navy training involving maritime college time and sea time to work towards an Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competence.

STCW Basic Safety Training

  • Merchant Navy Deck Officer cadets are also required to complete STCW basic safety training courses. STCW courses cover personal survival techniques, fire prevention and fire fighting, elementary first aid and personal safety and social responsibilities. On completion of the STCW courses, cadets will also earn a ENG1 seafarer’s medical certificate.

Additional Training

  • After completing the STCW courses, Merchant Navy cadets must complete additional training to become a Deck Officer. Trainees also require GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress Safety System), Medical First Aid, Advanced Fire Fighting and CPSC & RB (Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats).

Find Out More

Find out more about becoming a Merchant Navy Officer with Clyde Marine Training:

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