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Things You Should Know About Apprentice Officer/Deck Trainee

You’ll be disappointed if you think apprentice officers are integral to a ship’s organization. They may be an important solution to the shortage of qualified officers, but these cadets are not a “necessity” on board ships.

What is a trainee deck officer?

A trainee deck officer is a probationary naval officer who learns the duties of a deck officer on a ship. His role is to train to become the next “companion,” which he accomplishes by completing various tasks in a structured training program.
In short, the trainees on deck do whatever the officers do. But his training wasn’t limited to uniformed sailors. He also performs roof maintenance under the first mate’s and boatswain’s supervision. Furthermore, he spent time in the machine room learning what engineers do. Templates are one of the basic jobs assigned to deck trainees.

What do trainee deck officers do?

As stated earlier, it is the job of the trainee deck officer to perform the duties of a senior officer. He spent time with the third, second, and first mates, learning the details of their roles on the ship. His job includes paperwork, checklists, charting, navigation, inspections, loading and unloading, docking and unloading, watchkeeping, steering, and more!
During training, he is immediately responsible for determining the ship’s position on paper charts, recording gyro errors, writing in the deck log, updating crew lists, and many other tasks. After completing his duties with the officers, he was also assigned to perform various tasks on deck to learn about the maintenance aspects of the ship.
In short, the student’s role is to get involved in all aspects of a seafarer’s job. But let’s remember the captains. The captain needs to train them directly. Their role is to monitor their learning by asking questions, some of which are difficult, to test students’ progress.

Obligations and responsibilities

If a cadet is assigned to the Third Officer position, their responsibilities include the Third Officer position.
Here are some of them:

  • Check safety and firefighting equipment such as BA kits, firefighter clothing, EEBD, lifeboat rations, etc.
  • Provide reports on safety drills and hazards.
  • Write a log entry.
  • Inventory safety equipment and order replacement parts if necessary.
  • Recognize different emergency warning signs.

As he works with the second assistant, his responsibilities shift to the bridge, such as:

  • Trip planning and navigation
  • Charts and post corrections
  • Noon report
  • ETA calculation
  • Astronomical navigation
  • Bridge equipment inspection

Furthermore, he will work with the Chief Officer for further training in shipping-related work. These responsibilities include the following:

  • Cargo control.
  • Create a load/unload plan.
  • Test various devices.
  • Record an entry in the log.
  • Complete merchandise account.

In addition, he must also know the standing orders for bridges and overpasses, as well as the company’s health, safety, and environmental policies. He can find them in various directories, usually located in the ship’s office, CCR, or on the ship’s computer.
Finally, he performs regular deck maintenance while on deck with the boatswain and other crew members. These tasks include cutting, painting, lubricating, cleaning, sweeping, separating trash, and assisting other workers. Despite the variety of his duties, responsibility still falls on the commander, especially his training officer, the overall commander.

Are there students on the decks of all ships?

The short answer is a resounding “No!” These cadets may prepare them for continuity as qualified officers, but not all ships employ these cadets. There is no need for the shipping company to put it on the ship. But only some realize the importance of training the next generation of officers.
Shipping giant Maersk is a case in point. They offer training programs for outstanding students who wish to work at sea.
Other entities also accept Apprenticescholarships, such as the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA), the International Maritime Employers Council (IMEC), and other shipping companies. Some companies that cannot afford to sponsor students are still trying to find the best students without scholarships.
They travel to different accredited marine schools nationwide for assessment and shortlist the most promising students. It was agreed with those who passed the exam that these students could work on one of their ships after graduation.

Why aren’t they mandatory?

Deck cadets are trained to become competent officers and the next leaders in charge. Some companies even invest in your education at a young age. But sending training officers on board is not mandatory.
Officers come from more than just the cadets on deck. Any crew aboard a ship can become a crew member by completing all required training and certifications: COP and COC. ABs, Bosuns, OSs, and Pumpmen all have the opportunity to become professional sailors if they wish. Therefore, for some companies, trainees are optional. There are no rules requiring them to bring military students on board.
Advantages of becoming a deck cadet
The main advantage for students is the possibility of daily training on board.
Your mission is to learn and research. It means you can receive all the training during the working day.


Officials must educate them, and failure to do so may lead to problems once the reports reach the ground office.
Now, this means you can better learn, understand, and engage in how to run the ship early in your career.
They experience a sense of responsibility in performing these tasks, which is critical to building a strong foundation.
In contrast, other sailors must sacrifice overtime (unpaid) time to learn an officer’s job.
Sometimes, the daily routine can be so taxing that they would rather take a break than complete the feat.

Licensing qualifications

In many systems, cadets must complete one year of sea service before being eligible to sit for the license examination. Eligibility Must be 36 months or older.
Did you see anything special? By the time the evaluation ends at month 36, the trainee may have become an officer. Note that the time difference is huge.
Upon graduation from the Nautical School, students receive a graduate diploma.

Is there a specific age?

The age limit for deck students depends on the company’s recruitment policy.
The age requirement is usually at least 18 years old. However, some countries allow teenagers as young as 16 to undergo cadet training on board ships.
In addition, there are no age requirements when applying for employment in certain positions on board ships, including deck cadets, as long as you are of legal majority.
However, that changed due to stricter regulations and an overabundance of available crews.
Some scholarship Apprenticeships have age restrictions. Applicants 24 or older may need help qualifying for this position.
Even if a person is qualified in terms of skills and knowledge, they may not be eligible for training if it is proven that they are over the required age.

How much does a deck cadet earn monthly?

As the lowest-ranking members of the ship, deck cadets are among the lowest-paid crew members.
Depending on the company, they earn between $500 and $1,000. The type of ship is also a factor, as is the salary of each sailor.
But if you are a trainee, or want to become one, salary should not be your main concern. It would help if you focused on training and absorbing as many lessons as possible.
When you complete your 12-month apprenticeship, you will be ready to become a competent crew member. Your salary will also increase.

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