Careers in Compliance: working at sea

Compliance is the operational Division of Marine Scotland and is responsible for managing the coastal, sea and air assets of Marine Scotland.

Deck Officers

The Commanding Officer is ultimately responsible for everything that takes place on board a vessel and is the senior deck officer on board. They are supported by a First Officer Executive, more commonly known in the wider merchant navy industry as Chief Mate, a First Officer Safety and Second Officers. Deck officers are responsible for ensuring the safe navigation of the vessel at sea and the safety of the vessel when in port. They must ensure the vessel is maintained to the highest standards and that all safety and deck equipment remains fully functional. Marine Scotland Deck Officers are also British Sea Fishery Officers which means they are required to board and inspect fishing vessel at sea.

Qualifications/skills required

Deck Officers are required to undertake Merchant Navy Training to work towards an Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competence (CoC). This involves study time at college and sea-time. Training starts by completing STCW basic safety training courses, which cover:

  • Personal Survival Techniques
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting
  • Elementary First Aid
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities and security duties

They must hold an ENG1 seafarer’s medical certificate. Additionally, they require GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress Safety System), Medical First Aid, Advanced Fire Fighting and CPSC & RB (Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats) qualifications. These are usually undertaken as part of a 3 year training programme known as a cadetship. On successful completion of a cadetship the Deck Officer must continue to complete the required amount of sea time in order to complete further qualifications including the Chief Officer’s Certificate of Competency and the Master Mariner Certificate of Competency. On successful completion of this, the Officer will legally be permitted to sail as Commanding Officer. Practical seagoing experience is also essential before an Officer is finally promoted to Captain and this entire process usually takes around 10 years.

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