Certification as a Deck Officer

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We’ll assume you’re interested in what the marine sector has to offer if you’ve made it this far in the essay. So, let’s take a closer look at what it’s like to train to be a senior deck officer and what the various varieties entail for your career.

Depending on the type of marine work you want to do and how long you want to spend at sea, you may figure out what type of deck officer you want to be. The following are the many sorts of deck officers and what they do:

Deck Officer (Restricted)

If you want to work in the marine business but don’t want to travel on long-haul excursions that last several months, you can work onboard smaller vessels, which are vessels that aren’t as large as cargo ships. Workboats are vessels that range in size from 500 to 1,600 GRT and can be anything from ferry boats to small cruise ships, dredging vessels, research boats, and underwater salvage vessels.

You’ll need to become a Deck Officer Limited and work under the supervision of a senior deck officer if you want to work on these sorts of ships. The word ‘limited’ in the title relates to the fact that you can only travel in smaller vessels and over a shorter distance.

Is this to imply that obtaining a Deck Officer Limited licence is less valuable than obtaining a Deck Officer Unlimited licence?

No, a Deck Officer Limited may be all you need to achieve your professional ambitions if you wish to work on smaller, non-shipping boats. If your qualification matches the job requirements, marine employers are more interested in the experience you’ve gained working in similar professions, which means you can be in higher demand than someone with an Unlimited certification who has only worked aboard huge transport vessels.

Working aboard a variety of smaller vessels broadens your nautical experience and makes you more appealing to workboat companies.

Trips for a Deck Officer Limited are usually around coastal waters, and they can last anywhere from a day onboard to nearly a month for port-to-port excursions. Your crew is usually smaller as well, ranging from four to eight men. Cleaning and cooking are frequently shared among those on board.

Rigging is one area where workboat crew members often obtain significant expertise. Smaller, more manoeuvrable vessels are frequently required to rig cargo for towing or transportation, and knowing how to do it correctly is essential information.

2. Unlimited Deck Officer

If you want to work on a large container ship, getting your Deck Officer Unlimited licence may be the best option for you.

You’ll be in charge of ensuring the safe transit of precious goods while also safeguarding the lives of your crew across various oceans and countries around the world. You’ll share these responsibilities and serve as an apprentice to your ship’s senior officers.

Serving under the top officers comprises the following:

  • You’ll be in charge of inspecting and maintaining safety and life-saving equipment, such as lifeboats and firefighting apparatus.
  • You’ll supervise the deck crew and ensure that deck equipment is properly used and maintained.
  • You’ll be on navigational watch to ensure the ship’s course is accurate and safe.
  • You’ll plot courses with the ship’s helmsman, practise collision avoidance, and use navigational instruments, among other things.

When you arrive in port, you’ll be in charge of cargo unloading and loading, as well as ship stability and mooring lines. It’s your job to keep the captain and the rest of the crew in the loop.
Obtaining a Deck Officer Unlimited licence, like any other high-level marine certification, is a prestigious achievement. Your long-haul travel expertise, as well as your knowledge of crew, equipment, cargo management, navigation, and watchkeeping, make you a valuable and sought-after employee.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average compensation for deck officers in 2017 was $80,970, but there is plenty of possibility for advancement and big pay rises as you progress. If you want to keep climbing the ladder, you can use your experience as a deck officer to advance to the position of senior deck officer or captain.