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Apprenticeship training course

Officer of the watch (near coastal) (level 3)

Take charge of a vessel’s safety, security and navigation during operations both at sea and when in harbour.

Qualification level
Equivalent to A level.
Typical duration
36 months
Apprenticeship category
Transport and logistics
Maximum funding
Maximum amount government will fund
for apprenticeship training.
Also known as
  • Landing Craft Master
  • Mate
  • Officer Of the Watch
  • Second Officer
Skills an apprentice will learn
  • Keep watch over the vessel and crew.
  • Co-ordinate your team in order to provide constant watch cover.
  • Manoeuvre a vessel in near-coastal waters, taking account of compliance requirements, vessel type, capability, loading and external factors like tide and weather.
  • Select a mooring or anchoring solution that is relevant to the circumstances, including compliance, vessel type, capability, loading and external factors like tide and weather.
  • Avoid collisions by using chart work and situational awareness, anticipating and responding to all potential threats to a safe navigation. This includes (but is not limited to) both the physical surroundings and other vessel traffic.
  • Perform calculations and give necessary direction to your team to ensure the vessel has suitable load stability. This applies both when the vessel is moored and also when at sea.
  • Create a passage plan that meets operational objectives, is safe and complaint and has due regard to the external environment and other vessels.
  • Execute and adapt a passage plan taking account of the prevailing conditions at sea.
  • Handle a range of vessel types in near coastal waters. This may include as examples single screw, twin screw, variable pitch, Schottel and other propulsion configurations.
  • Monitor and respond to data provided by navigation and other equipment available on-board
  • Cross-compare different data sources to reach an accurate conclusion. (For example, VHF reports).
  • Support the Master in meeting the legal, regulatory, environmental, and organisational requirements of the vessel and crew.
  • Coordinate the response in the event of an emergency. Operate emergency equipment and deploy contingency plans appropriate to the situation. (This will range, for example, from recovery of a man overboard through to evacuation of the vessel).
  • Administer emergency first aid and coordinate with the coastguard in the event of a medevac if required.
  • Communicate externally deploying the international code of signals when required. This includes for example using the flag system and Morse code as appropriate to the circumstances.
  • Communicate effectively at different seniority levels of the organisation, selecting an appropriate communication method for the audience.
  • Develop working relationships with crew, officers and other impacted maritime stakeholders to support the delivery of required performance standards.
  • Recognise your own limitations and escalate decisions where appropriate to another member of the bridge team, including the Master
  • Take charge in the event of the Master's incapacitation and take suitable contingency action such as getting the vessel to shore and alerting relevant authorities.
  • Complete an accurate ship log
  • Identify skills gaps across the team and deliver coaching and mentoring to less experienced staff.
  • Identify and respond to all internal/external factors that provide for a consistent watch following a handover.
  • Check that life-saving appliances and other safety equipment is functioning and assess any remediation needed.
  • Identify the signs of crew, and one’s own, fatigue.
  • Implement own organisations security procedures, instructing the crew accordingly.

Full information on Officer of the watch (near coastal) (level 3) is available from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

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Regulated occupation

Officer of the watch (near coastal) (level 3) needs a training provider who is approved by Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Apprenticeship location

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