Training as a Ship's Officer in the Merchant Navy

To qualify as a Deck, Engineer or Electro-Technical Officer in the Merchant Navy takes dedication and determination.

Once you meet all the programme entry requirements, including the academic entry requirements, you will follow a three-year programme of study at one of the UK's specialist nautical colleges. This will be a phased programme of study which will include time at college interspersed with two periods of practical training at sea.

Your academic studies completed during the college phases of the programme will lead towards the award of a Higher National Certificate or Diploma, a Foundation Degree in England or a Professional Diploma in Scotland, or an Honours Degree. Depending upon your choice the training programme will last three years, but could be longer in some circumstances.

Usually the last element of training will be the MCA Oral examination. This will be a personal assessment by an examiner with considerable experience of the examination syllabus, together with an extensive knowledge of the industry and the practical requirements for serving at sea as a Ship's Officer.

Your ultimate goal will be to qualify for an unrestricted Officer of the Watch (OOW) Certificate of Competency as a Deck, Engineer or Electro-Technical Officer. This is an internationally recognised qualification and will enable the holder to sail as a Ships Officer on ships, not only on UK flagged vessels, but also on vessels of most of the other major shipping nations of the world.

For candidates with the aptitude, there are opportunities to undertake further studies leading to qualification at the higher ranks or to complete a top-up programme of study leading to the award of an Honours degree.


Updated:     February 2018