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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 vessel sailing securely and cleanly and for the safety of all persons on board, including safe means of access to/egress from the boat.
  • Respond and manage all emergency situations on board. Control deployment and operations of emergency equipment appropriate to the situation. Maintain and operate lifesaving and firefighting equipment and administer emergency first aid and coordinate with the coastguard in the event of a medevac if required. Support vessels’ senior staff with technical expertise and knowledge of operations (and third party operations) during emergencies. Coordinate response in the event of an emergency.
  • Handle a vessel in a high traffic density environment in tidal and 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
  • Carry out and prioritise deck operations, complying with regulations and company procedures. Ensure vessels are operated and remain in a safe and seaworthy condition in accordance with regulations and company procedures and are operated safely meeting all necessary regulatory standards. Check and maintain machinery, deck equipment, Windlasses, ropes in full operational condition, anchor handling, survey activities, transfer of personnel and equipment. Maintain machinery including main engines and deck equipment in full operational condition.
  • Apply basic IT skills to enable appropriate work and statutory information to be recorded on vessel and organisational IT systems.
  • Collaborate with others by acting as a team player when operating as part of a wider team.
  • Successfully implement compliance frameworks for the technical management of vessels, crew safety and protection of the environment such as SOLAS, MARPOL, ISM Code, STCW, ILO MLC, MCA, ISO requirements and workforce health and safety legislation.
  • Build, manage and lead your team onboard, developing work relationships and performance management skills to support the delivery of consistently high standards.
  • Communicate effectively and professionally with all levels within and across the organisation [company] both at sea and on shore. Positively challenge to effect change where appropriate. Able to interact [and influence] a range of stakeholders. Communicates appropriately taking full account of age, disability, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.
  • Plan, communicate and lead procedures 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 maneuvering.
  • 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.

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

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Apprenticeship location

Canterbury, Kent Remove location

2 providers available for this apprenticeship location

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