Deck Officer


Diploma – STCW Certificate of competencies

– A-II/3 (vessels < 500 UMS)
– A-II/1 (vessels > 500 UMS)

The function of officers in charge of a navigational watch (Deck Officer) can be held on-board all types of vessels of the merchant marine according to the size of the vessel.


From one boarding to another, the activities of a Deck Officer can change:

– Safety officer: the Mate is in charge of organising the emergency, safety, fire-fighting drills during the day according to the schedule of the other crew members or passengers.
– Watch keeping: the Mate prepares the navigation toward the destination, submits to the Master the best itinerary taking into account diverse constraints (timing, distance, weather…) and the capacity of the vessel. He updates the nautical documents, manages the pharmacy and cares.

During his watch, the Deck Officer is responsible of the navigation of the vessel, of the respect of the defined itinerary and schedule, manoeuvre to avoid obstacles or cross other vessels. In complex situations, the Master is also in the bridge room and can take the watch if necessary. On oceanographic, seismic or offshore vessels the Deck Officer ensures the vessel keeps the gap or the vessel remains in a determined position using dynamic positioning (DP) system.

During night watch, he must take into account engine alarms and follows the interventions of the engine officer.

During berthing and unberthing operations, the Deck Officer must communicate the Master’s instructions to the boatswain and the deck ratings who execute the manoeuvres at the front or at the back of the vessel. The Deck Officer also informs the bridge of any problem during those operations.

Required skills

– Strong experience at sea and experience of navigation
– Take efficient decisions during operations
– Take initiatives
– know how to lead a team
– interpersonal skills to ease relationships on-board

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