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Level 2 – Seafarer (Deck Rating) Apprenticeship

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in a wide range of specialist vessels, both commercial and military, be it carrying cargo, equipment, passengers, or crew.

A seafarer’s responsibilities will vary between different vessels. Seafarer’s can expect to work varied shift patterns over a 24-hour rota, meaning night work is very common. And many will be expected to live on board their vessel for significant periods. Seafarers usually work as part of the navigational or deck teams on board their vessel. 

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with other crew a great deal. Seafarer’s can work alone but often need to work with other seafarers to complete tasks. Good communication within the team is therefore very important, but even more so because vessels are likely to include other seafarers from a range of different nationalities, cultures, and languages. 

Seafarer’s normally report to a supervisor on board their vessel. The seafarer works to instructions given to them by the supervising officer. Depending on the type of vessel, seafarer’s may also be expected to interact with passengers.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for contributing to the overall safe and effective operation of the vessel. A seafarer carries out watchkeeping duties; maintaining the safety and security of the vessel, cargo, and personnel on board; and undertaking a range of practical seafarer tasks covering rope work, anchoring and mooring activities and operations. They must adhere to safe and environmentally responsible working practices and international regulations and will have a range of security duties. A seafarer must work safely in enclosed spaces and at heights and must respond to vessel emergencies; administer emergency first aid; carry out fire prevention and fire-fighting duties; use survival techniques in the water; and operate survival craft and rescue boats.

Passing this apprenticeship, including the mandatory qualifications and certification required, means the seafarer will be able to work on board any type and size of vessel in any part of the world.

This Apprenticeship provides for full competency in the role of a seafarer (deck rating) occupation. Apprentices wanting to advance their career may also obtain an Able Seafarer (Deck) certificate from the MCA, so they can lawfully work at the Able Seafarer level onboard a vessel. This would require a further 12 months sea time and sits outside of the apprenticeship.  

Career options are many and varied – depending on how a seafarer wants to specialise in future they will need to gain additional “endorsements” (certificates from the MCA) – such endorsements also sit outside this Apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

Every apprentice without exception will need to pass strict medical requirements. This test includes, but is not limited to, severe deafness or difficulty communicating by radio or telephone, eyesight or colour vision that does not meet standards, and conditions that limit mobility and stamina.

Beyond this, individual employers will determine their own selection criteria but should satisfy themselves the apprentice can meet the vocational requirements of their apprenticeship.


English and Maths

English and maths qualifications form a mandatory part of all apprenticeships and must be completed before an apprentice can pass through gateway. The requirements are detailed in the current version of the apprenticeship funding rules.

Other mandatory qualifications:

  • Award in Maritime Studies: Deck Rating – SQA Code GC6K 62
  • Certificate in Maritime Studies: Able Seafarer (Deck) – SQA Code GK54 54
  • STCW Personal Survival Techniques
  • STCW Basic Firefighting and Fire prevention
  • STCW Elementary first aid
  • STCW Proficiency in security awareness
  • STCW Personal safety and social responsibility
  • MNTB Entry into Enclosed Spaces
  • MCA approved Steering Certificate
  • Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Certificate
  • Proficiency in Designated Security Duties
  • MCA approved Navigational Watch Rating Certificate (including 2 months statutory sea time)
  • MCA approved Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) Certificate (including 6 months statutory sea time)

How to apply

Applicants should look out in local newspapers, industry magazines and company websites for apprenticeship vacancies.

Applicants should apply directly to the workboat company for an apprenticeship place or contact 54 North Maritime Training to register your interest. If you are successful in gaining an interview, you can expect that there may be a second interview at our training centre to ensure that you are a suitable candidate.

Interview procedure

If your application is successful, you will be invited to interview by the workboat employer.

If you are shortlisted, you may expect to attend a second interview here at the training centre to ensure your suitability. Some applicants who live a long way from Whitby will need to travel to the town the day before. If you need to do this we can give advice regarding places to stay and the best route to travel.

When you arrive at the training centre for a second interview, you will be required to complete a Literacy and a Numeracy assessment.

Once you have completed your assessments you will begin your interview.  We will have an informal chat – you can tell us about your background, previous work experience, what things you are good at, etc. We can tell you about how the training centre runs and what we expect of you.

We will ask questions – you can ask questions too.

Once all the interviews have been completed, we will contact your prospective employer within approximately 5 working days to let them know the results.

If you are successful – well done! We will send you and your employer joining instructions and a start date.

Employer information

This qualification allows employers to take on new starters as apprentices and develop their skills to become a valuable crew member for your company. The Apprentice will complete various courses, gaining maritime qualifications and completing all certificates as shown above. 

The Basics

Workboat companies are required to liaise with 54 North Maritime Training of their intention to employ a Workboat Apprentice(s).

The intake/enrolment date will be advised to the employer together with requirements of 54 North Maritime Training.

The Employer to advertise the apprenticeship vacancy, interview and then either:-

decide and choose the required applicant(s)


refer a shortlist of applicants to 54 North Maritime Training for a 2nd interview to ensure suitability. 54 North Maritime Training to advise employer of preference.

Before the start of training with 54 North Maritime Training, the employer will take on the apprentice(s), issue a contract of employment, complete the usual company induction.  The apprentice will undertake off the job, classroom-based training at Whitby, North Yorkshire. STCW basic safety courses will be achieved. 54 North Maritime Training will arrange accommodation.

Contact Us:-

54 North Maritime Training
Whitby Mission & Seafarers’ Centre
North Yorkshire, YO21 3PP

Tel: 01947 825871