Course: FdSc Nautical Science*

Study Level


Level 5

Course Code


Nautical Science

Location


Lowestoft Campus

Duration


Two Years

FT / PT


Full-time

A career at sea offers a wealth of exciting opportunities for anyone looking for adventure and a job away from the usual humdrum of a desk job. The Merchant Navy is the collective term for commercial shipping. Merchant Navy includes a diverse and extensive industry sector with a variety of vessels from cruise liners, container, general cargo, tankers, aggregate seabed mining, surveying and scientific exploration, ocean cable laying and repair, wind farming integration, tugs, and offshore support and emergency response and recovery.

This fast-moving and technologically advanced industry requires highly trained ship officers in Navigation (Deck) with a Certificate of Competency issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s primary responsibility is to prevent the loss of life on the coast and at sea. They produce legislation and guidance on maritime matters and provide certification to seafarers in accordance with International Maritime Organization, which is a specialised agency under the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping. Since the merchant fleet operates in international waters and foreign ports with the multinational crew onboard, Maritime and Coastguard Agency follows the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers to standardise training, certification, and watchkeeping.

There are various entry routes available to start a career at sea within the Merchant Navy, which includes fully sponsored training programs and apprenticeships. The first step to becoming a Deck Officer (sometimes referred to as a Navigation Officer) in the Merchant Navy is to complete a Foundation Deck Cadet Training programme. This programme is designed for home students only who wish to proceed to sea. You will study a three-year integrated programme at East Coast College at our Lowestoft campus, providing the skills sought by shipping companies.

The Foundation degree is delivered as a three-year full-time programme with five phases. The first, third, and fifth phases will be delivered in college and will be referred to as “college phases.” While phases two and four will give appropriate time to learn onboard the vessel and will typically be referred to as “sea phases.”

You will be required to accumulate a total of one year of sea time during the sea phases and complete a work-based learning module. On successful completion of all the taught modules in the college phases and work-based learning modules in sea phases, you will achieve a Foundation Degree in Nautical Science.

You will gain core leadership, navigation, shipboard operation, and meteorological skills through time on ships and in our simulator. You have an opportunity to distinguish yourself with a Foundation degree accredited by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB), which will provide the underpinning knowledge for the Officer of the Watch (OOW) under STCW (Regulation II/1) Unlimited and Chief Mate Under STCW (Regulation II/2) Unlimited Certificates of Competency.

Once you complete the mandatory ancillary courses and pass the Maritime and Coastguard Agency oral examination, you will obtain the Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency to serve as a Deck Officer onboard merchant ships.

You can register your interest for this course by clicking ‘Apply Now’. This will open up a new email to our Higher Education team where you can let them know the course that you are interested in applying for.

*Please note this course is subject to validation.

Progression

Newly qualified deck officers will usually join their company’s fleet as a third officer, undertaking bridge watchkeeping duties at sea and operational duties in port, with responsibility for the safety of the crew, passengers, cargo, and environment.

After completing at least 18 months of sea service as a qualified Deck Officer holding Officer of the Watch certification, further training and passing Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) Chief Mate written exams and MCA oral exams will qualify you to have a position as Chief Mate. A similar pattern of experience needs to be undertaken, including a further 18 months of service before the candidate can qualify as Master (Captain). In addition to qualifying for more senior roles, you will also have to demonstrate the required personal qualities for promotion as vacancies arise.

Working at sea as a Deck Officer provides a wide variety of experiences and for many provide a lifetime of employment. Numerous opportunities also exist for qualified navigation officers ashore. Shipping companies often recruit shore based marine superintendents and fleet operations staff from their seagoing officers. Harbour authorities recruit experienced officers to train as pilots, harbour masters and port operations managers. Classification societies, such as Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, and marine insurance companies require the officers’ skill and experience to fill roles such as hull and cargo surveyors. The MCA also require surveyors and examiners, while maritime colleges recruit lecturers and assessors.

To enhance your employment opportunities onshore, a successful completion of foundation degree allows you to enrol into BSc (Hons) top up programs related to maritime studies across UK.

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