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To become a fully qualified Merchant Navy Navigation (Deck), Engineer or Electro-Technical Officer there are a number of different entry routes.

Course title: Nautical Science or Marine Engineering
Course type: HNC/HND (3/ 3 ½ years)
Entry requirements: GCSE Grades A-C/Scottish Standard grades at Levels 1-3 in English, Maths, a Science based subject and at least one other subject.

Course title: Marine Operations / Nautical Science / Marine Engineering / Marine Electrical Systems
Course type: Foundation degree or Scottish Professional diploma (3 ½ years approx)
Entry requirements: 120 UCAS points in unspecified A Levels or Scottish Highers Plus GCSE / Scottish Standard Grades in the above subjects at levels A or B /Scottish credit level.

Course title: BSc (Hons) Merchant Ship Operations or Nautical Science, BEng (Hons) Marine Engineering Applications, or Mechanical & Marine Engineering
Course type: Honours degree (4 years)
Entry requirements: Entry is in accordance with the requirements of sponsoring companies and the admission requirements of the universities concerned and will usually require Maths and/or a Science A Level or Scottish Higher.

*Those with existing degrees or relevant experience such as engineering, Royal Navy or fishing personnel will enter the appropriate programme where prior qualifications and skills can be taken account of. Please click here to find out more.

In addition to the academic qualification, trainees obtain an internationally recognised professional qualification. Called the Officer of the Watch (OOW) certificate, it is the "license to operate" as a professional seafaring officer and to work on board any type of ship anywhere in the world.

Completion of further study and practical seagoing experience will enable junior officers to progress to higher professional qualifications, ultimately allowing them to reach the highest status on board of Master (Captain) or Chief Engineer.

The education and training programmes for Navigation (Deck), Engineer and Electro-Technical officers follow a similar pattern of college/university based study and shipboard training. The actual number and duration of these "phases" as they are called differs depending on whether you train as a Deck, Engineer or Electro-Technical (ETO) officer.

Navigation (Deck), Engineer and Electro-Technical Officer Course Details - typical programme

  • Phase 1 - at college/university

    - College / company induction to the course and the industry
    - Basic safety training
    - Initial seafaring concepts and theory


  • Phase 2 - at sea

    - Shipboard induction and familiarisation
    - Learning basic seafarer skills
    - Work-based learning and project work (where relevant)
    - Start tasks in the Training Record Book


  • Phase 3 - at college/university

    - Assessment of work based learning and project work from sea phase (where relevant)
    - Further seafaring concepts and theory


  • Phase 4 - at sea

    - More advanced seafaring skills
    - Understudy the role of Officer of the Watch
    - Extended Work-based learning and project work (where relevant)
    - Complete tasks in the Training Record Book


  • Phase 5 - at college/university

    - Assessment of work based learning and project work from sea phase
    - Complete educational programme
    - Complete all remaining seafarer safety and related courses and exams
    - Complete final Maritime and Coastguard Agency examinations, including oral exam.


*If you already have a Mechanical Engineering Degree and are interested in becoming a Merchant Navy Engineer Officer you may be exempt from certain aspects of the training. Please go to www.mcga.gov.uk to find out more.

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