Career outlook for merchant navy deck officer
UK Salary Ranges
Currently employed in Scotland
What's it like?
You would navigate across the world’s oceans to ensure your ship’s crew and cargo arrives safely at their destination.
You would be responsible for navigation, communications, crew and cargo on board the ship. You’d also take care of passengers and oversee safety.
You’d work in watches: the system in which a team will work for a few hours and then take several hours off in a rota that runs continually throughout the day and night.
All UK-owned commercial ships are part of the Merchant Navy.
- Cruise ships
- Container ships
- High tech ferries
- High quality oil, gas and chemical tankers
- Modern bulk carriers carrying ores, grain and coal
- Specialised support vessels
As a deck officer, you would work at one of four levels, depending on your experience.
- As Master or Captain you would be responsible for the overall running and safety of the ship, crew, passengers and cargo. You would handle legal and commercial matters and keep all the ship's records up to date.
- As Chief Officer you would assist the Master and oversee work on deck and maintenance around the ship, cargo handling and storage. You would also plan the work schedules and supervise other officers.
- As Second Officer you would be responsible for navigation, using radar, satellite and computer systems. You’d also check the vessel's position, speed, direction and weather reports, and carry out watch duties at sea and in port.
- The post of Third Officer would usually be your first job after training. You would look after the ship's safety equipment and lifeboats. You’d assist the Second Officer and carry out watch duties.
Some very large cargo ships and passenger liners may have a fifth officer level.
As a deck officer in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary you would work on civilian-crewed ships operated by the Ministry of Defence.
You could be responsible for:
- Monitoring helicopter movements
- Specialised navigation
- Nuclear biological chemical damage control – the process used to tackle fires and other emergencies
UK employment status
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- Attention to detail
- Verbal communication
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- Working with numbers
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