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Also Known As
- Deck Officer, Merchant Navy
- Navy Deck Officer, Merchant Navy
Merchant navy deck officers are responsible for navigation, checking that cargo is safe and stable, supervising crew members and ensuring that their ship is fit to sail.
There are normally two main departments on board ship - deck and engine. The deck department is concerned with the overall operation of the ship. A deck officer's responsibilities include navigation, communications, cargo and stability, maintenance and safety. They undertake navigational watchkeeping, which involves plotting the ship's position, giving steering instructions and following the 'rule of the road'. Deck Officers use satellite and radar equipment and computer systems to check the ships position, monitor speed and fuel consumption, access weather reports and input navigation routes.
Deck officers also oversee the storage and securing of cargo and passenger care, make stability calculations and maintain safety and equipment as well as supervising crew members. The ship's captain (the senior deck officer on board) is in overall charge of the total ship operation and is responsible for the safety of passengers, crew and the ship. Deck Officers work in shifts which vary according to the size of the ship.
Everyone on board may be required to share in maintaining the cleanliness of communal accommodation and their own quarters. On ships with small crews, everyone may take a turn in the galley (kitchen). They also help with hosting social functions. Senior officers handle administration, legal and commercial matters.
Sometimes, deck officers have to work in difficult and uncomfortable conditions. Merchant Navy officers spend long periods of time away from family and friends.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Leadership and management skills are essential, together with commercial awareness and flexibility to meet the challenge of developing technology. You must also be able to show initiative and self-reliance. Team working skills are important. You must be responsible and able to remain calm in an emergency. Good maths ability would be a bonus.
Pay and Opportunities
Salaries for junior officers start in the region of EUR21k a year. There is a clear promotional path for officers so this will rise as you pass through the ranks. There are also opportunities to be promoted to shore jobs such as harbour master.
Entry Routes and Training
Training is usually through a degree in nautical science. This course is run in Cork Institute of Technology, part of the National Maritime College of Ireland.
As well as academic qualifications you must pass a medical examination.
Please check the prospectus from the Cork Institute of Technology for specific details of this course.
Application for admission to undergraduate courses must be made in accordance with the regulations and procedures and timetable described in the CAO Handbook.
The Handbook is confined to giving information on how to apply for admission to the relevant institutions. Applicants should not attempt to complete the application form without first referring to the information literature on courses, which is available from the institutions to which application is to be made.
You should check with the individual Institutions' prospectuses for specific entry requirements and course details.
Please see http://www.cao.ie/courses.php for information on course qualifications.
Although there are no formal upper age limits for entry to this occupation, it is rare for people to enter after the age of 25. Adult entrants generally have some specialist skills developed.
Contact your local Intreo Centre or Employment Services office for Career Guidance, planning and support that will help you make informed decisions about the best career direction for you
- AGCAS: Transport and Logistics
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Qualifax: Ireland’s National Learners’ Database
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