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Apprenticeship training course

Boatmaster (level 3)

Ensuring the safe operation and passage of a vessel.

Qualification level
Equivalent to A level.
Typical duration
24 months
Apprenticeship category
Transport and logistics
Maximum funding
Maximum amount government will fund
for apprenticeship training.
Also known as
  • Boatmaster
  • Captain
  • Skipper
  • Waterman
Skills an apprentice will learn
  • Take responsibility for the preparation of the vessel prior to going to sea including safe means of access to and egress from the boat and Life saving and fire fighting equipment checks.
  • Respond and manage all emergency situations on board including the operation of emergency equipment coordination with the coastguard and other vessels (Sarco) and the liaison with DP and third party organisations.
  • Handle a vessel in a high traffic density environment in tidal or non-tidal conditions including in locks and in the vicinity of weirs, bridges and other fixed infrastructure.
  • Manoeuvre vessels safely with a variety of propulsion systems including single screw, twin screw, variable pitch, Schottel and other propulsion configurations
  • Ensure vessels are operated and remain in a safe and seaworthy condition in accordance with regulations and company procedures. Maintain machinery including main engines, deck equipment and lifesaving and firefighting equipment in full operational condition.
  • Uses information and digital technology within own organisation. Complies with GDPR and Cyber Security Regulations and policies.
  • Apply team working principles.
  • Comply with International, National and local regulations, and health and safety regulations, standards and guidance
  • Build, manage and lead your team onboard, developing work relationships and performance management skills.
  • Uses verbal communication techniques both at sea and onshore, adapting style and use of terminology to suit the audience.
  • Lead procedures including planning and communications in the event of an emergency situation.
  • Able to manoeuvre a vessel in all conditions to respond to all types of emergency (e.g. man overboard).
  • Use appropriate mooring configurations and equipment in relation to the prevailing tidal, weather conditions and vessel design characteristics.
  • Select a suitable anchorage and executing the procedure as required. To use an anchor(s) to aid in manoeuvring.
  • Prepare for meteorological impacts affecting the safe management and passage of a commercial vessel.
  • Navigate shallow and height restrictive navigations using knowledge of depths, air drafts, vessel dimensions and tide predictions in tidal waters.
  • Offer emergency assistance to help another vessel running into danger. To arrange an emergency tow or offer some powered assistance to reach safety.
  • Adjusts appropriately the passage plan of the vessel under their command, taking account of safety, time and business objectives.
  • Take charge of navigational watch, be able to establish risk of collision and take effective action to avoid collision.
  • Monitors business objective considerations and commercial issues, adjusting actions accordingly.

Full information on Boatmaster (level 3) is available from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

Find training providers for this course

Regulated occupation

Boatmaster (level 3) needs a training provider who is approved by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Apprenticeship location

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