12 Important Maritime Courses for Deck Officers

Merchant Navy is a line of work that requires constant up-gradation of knowledge, primarily professionally. The end of maritime college just marks a slight beginning in a long tenure of academic correlation because in a highly professional field such as this, the necessity to remain at the top of the game is indispensable.


Most colleges make the cadets undergo the mandatory STCW courses. Upon graduating, there’s a host of other courses that need to be completed by cadets, for example, Oil Tanker Familiarization  There’s also a fair number of courses to be completed at the end of the cadet-ship on board such as GMDSS course.

Below is a comprehensive list of the courses required to be completed by a junior officer:

1. Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) Course – It’s about radio communication and distress situations; Communication in times of distress and emergency, the equipment used and how they’re used. Urgency, distress, safety and routine communication with radio equipment on board and their overall operation. GOC is the General Operator’s certificate given to the person who successfully finishes this course.

2. Radar Observer Course (ROC/ ARPA) – This course deals with usage of the ship radar and the plotting system. Details about the user-functions of the radar are also included.

3. Elementary First Aid (EFA) – Includes knowledge of basic first aid equipment and skills required on ships.

4.  Medical First Aid (MFA) – It includes detailed first aid knowledge required for ships, i.e, an enhanced version of EFA.

5. Basic Fire Fighting (BFF) – Teaches skills and requirements of basic fire fighting techniques on ships (basic fire fighting equipment and its use/operation).

6. Advanced Fire Fighting (AFF) – Advanced fire fighting skills are taught in this course (Includes advanced fire fighting equipment and its use. An enhanced version of BFF).

7. Personal Survival Techniques (PST) – Officers are taught personal survival techniques that are required at the sea (basic survival techniques and life saving appliances available on ships).

8. Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boat (PSCRB) – Provides knowledge on survival craft and rescue boat of ships (It’s an enhanced version of PST. details of lifeboat/rescue boat, MOB-boat).

9. CTF/OTF/GTF – Container/Oil/Gas tanker familiarization course - Deals with all the important aspects of each type of ship.

10. PSSR – Personal Safety and Social Responsibility - Provides knowledge required by seafarers to ensure their personal safety and social responsibility on ships.

11. ECDIS Training - As per the new STCW, the use and operation of ECDIS and its features as an enhanced navigational equipment are mandatory. This course teaches all the aspects of ECDIS course.

12. Certificate of Competency (CoC) – The 2MFG (2nd Mate’s Foreign Going) license required by deck officers to work on ships.

Apart from the above mentioned courses, the presence of a valid Medical Certificate needs to be supplemented by the deck officers. It is advisable for cadets booking their courses at a specific institute to check the validity of the course at that very institute prior to booking.

The DG Shipping website (for Indian candidates) has a list of approved training institutes and the courses they’re allowed to conduct as per the rules of the Government. It is possible that a few courses for some of the institutes are pending verification, whereas for a few others, the validity of the courses might have been withheld. It is therefore extremely necessary that deck cadets do a thorough research on the institutes, their courses and the validity to avoid unnecessary hassles and problems in future.


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