Merchant Navy Deck Officer

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Merchant Navy deck officers are members of the team responsible for navigating and steering the ship. They supervise crew members and ensure the safety of passengers and cargo. They may also work for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), which supplies the needs of Royal Navy ships at sea. 

The Work

You could be:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:

During training the sponsoring company may pay the cadet an allowance of between £8,500 and £15,000 a year as well as accommodation while attending college. Average starting salaries, when qualified, are £22,000 to £30,000 a year for a third officer, rising to £34,000 to £42,000 for a second officer. Chief officers can earn up to around £55,000 a year and masters (captains) can earn up to £80,000 or more a year.

While at sea, you would have free food and accommodation as well as some travel costs. On foreign-going ships, your earnings may be tax free.


Employment Status UK %

Past Unemployment

Year Unemployed

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Getting In

There is a National 4 Skills for Work course in Uniformed and Emergency Services which introduces school pupils to careers in the emergency services, the armed services and the Merchant Navy. Contact the Scottish Qualifications Authority for details.

Predicted Employment in Scotland

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What Does it Take?

You need to be:

You need to have:


Getting On


The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Maritime Skills Alliance

The Maritime Skills Alliance designs and promotes qualifications and apprenticeships for the UK’s maritime sector.

Maritime UK
Tel: 020 7417 2837
Twitter: @MaritimeUK

Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB)
Website (2):
Twitter: @careersatsea

The MNTB can provide information on the shipping companies and training groups which operate training schemes for ratings and officer cadets. The MNTB websites also have useful careers information.

Nautical Institute
Tel: 020 7928 1351
Twitter: @NauticalInst

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