Officer of the Watch Deck (Unlimited) - Advanced Certificate


Course Code: MH1HE87


Maritime and Nautical

Next course dates

Start DateLocationDuration / Fee
02/09/2024Fleetwood Nautical Campus25 Weeks/ £7,000Enquire  
06/01/2025Fleetwood Nautical Campus25 Weeks/ £7,000Enquire  

Course Overview

The Advanced Certificate in Nautical Science aims to provide students with competencies required for obtaining a Certificate of Competency as Deck Officer of the Watch issued by MCA as well as prepare graduates for the responsibility of keeping a watch at sea and in port. In addition, the programme offers the fundamental knowledge and key skills required to allow further study at Advanced Diploma. Students will develop skills to enable them to effectively navigate a vessel by traditional and modern means in a safe and effective manner.

Successful completion of this programme will:

  • Contribute towards learners obtaining a Certificate of Competency as Deck Officer of the Watch issued by MCA.
  • Prepare learners for the responsibility of keeping a watch at sea and in port.
  • Develop skills to enable learners to effectively navigate a vessel by traditional and modern means. Develop skills to enable learners to operate a vessel in a safe and effective manner.
  • Develop skills to enable learners to work with others in a safe and effective manner. 
  • Develop skills to deal with emergency situations.
  • Develop awareness of current maritime legislation.
  • Prepare learners for the MCA written and oral examinations at Officer of the Watch level.

You can find out more in the Programme Handbook.

Entry Requirements

Students following the Experienced Seafarer programme must adhere to the requirements of the MSN1856 Training & Certification Guidance: UK Requirements for Master and Deck Officers.

You must have completed 36 months of approved seagoing service with 6 months engaged in bridge watchkeeping duties. Please review carefully MSN 1856 section 9 in regard to requirements for seagoing service and required documentary evidence. Unfortunately, the College cannot advise on any issues concerning sea time or certificate validity. You must contact the MCA.

Whilst the sea service articulated is an integral element of the certification to MCA Certificate of Competence, it does not form part of the SQA Advanced Certificate award.

To qualify for the issue of OOW unlimited CoC you must meet the following requirements:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • since the age of 16, have obtained 36 months seagoing service
  • hold the basic and ancillary and safety course certificates: 
    • Personal Survival Techniques
    • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting
    • Elementary First Aid
    • Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
    • Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats
    • Signals
    • Advanced Fire Fighting
    • Medical First Aid
    • NAEST (Operational)
    • Efficient Deck Hand (EDH)
    • HELM (operational)
    • GMDSS (GOC)
  • successfully completed Advanced Certificate in Nautical Science programme
  • pass SQA OOW written examinations
  • pass MCA oral examination (MIN 653)
  • hold a valid ENG1 (medical fitness certificate) or accepted equivalent.

The SQA written examinations and MCA oral examination must be passed within 3 years prior to the date of the issue of your CoC.

Qualification Obtained

Advanced Certificate Nautical Science

Career Options and Progression

The programme helps you to develop skills which are valued by employers:

  • A commitment to lifelong learning and career development
  • Collaborative teamwork and leadership skills
  • Personal and intellectual autonomy
  • Ethical, social and professional understanding
  • Global citizenship

You may wish to progress your studies to the Advanced Diploma Nautical Science Top Up.


Assessment Methods

Please see page 7 of the Programme Handbook.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Throughout your programme you will learn and be assessed in a range of ways to support the overall aims and outcomes of the programme in order to equip you with the appropriate skills for roles within the maritime industry. Employers will be looking for a range of skills and competencies, including the safe and secure operation of a vessel. They will be keen to employ strong communicators and team players. The programme is designed to promote the development of these qualities alongside core technical competencies and academic knowledge.


Each unit has its own learning, teaching and assessment strategy to suit specific aspects of the curriculum. You will progress through the units via a range of learning and assessment styles, and the supportive structure of the programme allows you to build on knowledge developed in earlier units.


The resources to support you in your studies include books, e-books and journals, as well as the college’s virtual learning environment, Canvas. Canvas provides an online platform for programme resources, allowing you to access materials to supplement your classroom-based studies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The LRC provides access to all relevant publications, as identified within the unit specifications reading lists. You will receive access to maritime specific documents and eBooks with membership to Witherby publications and Regs4ships. Ocean Learning Platform is used in the classroom to provide access to a repository of information videos designed for training industry professionals.

Simulation of nautical environments and operations are conducted in the bridge simulators. The simulators are used in several of the units to provide a basis for application of theories such as those studies in Bridge Watchkeeping and Electronic Navigational Systems and to support your studies when considering bridge operations.

Industry Placement and Field Trips

While there is no specific unit dedicated to work-based learning or placement, as part of your programme you will maintain a close working relationship with your sponsoring shipping company or training provider and will be expected to undertake sea phases. Further, it is required by the MCA that you hold at least 12 months sea time after successfully achieving your Officer of the Watch certificate.

Other Costs and Equipment Needed

You will require access to a computer or laptop with internet access. You will also need a pair of 15” parallel rulers, dividers, compasses and 2B pencils in order to do the Chartwork unit. Mandatory requirements – non-programmable scientific calculator, writing materials and drawing instruments for taking notes which can be purchased from college or any other supplier; when purchasing standard items, the cost will not normally exceed £100. You will be required to purchase these at the start of the course.

Expert Tutors

All staff involved in the delivery of any courses within the College are approved to teach and/or assess the subjects and modules they deliver. The approval process ensures that staff delivering and/or assessing a given programme are appropriately qualified, with relevant technical and industrial experience and professional practice.

Tuition Fees

Regulation and Accreditation

Accrediting Institution: N/A

Awarding Body: Scottish Qualification Authority

Terms and Conditions

Read our full terms and conditions for more information.

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