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Things You Should Know About Deck Department

Are you thinking about joining the Deck Department of the Merchant Navy? Get ready for an adventure out on the high seas. As an enlisted sailor, you’ll be in charge of critical ship operations like steering the vessel, handling lines during docking, chipping paint, and lowering the ship’s launches for rescues and port runs.

 Your responsibilities range from swabbing the decks to standing watch during cargo transfers. Expect long days filled with physical labor to keep this massive ship ship-shape. Your skills will be tested daily by the elements and demands of life at sea. But you’ll also forge bonds with your shipmates and visit exotic ports across the globe. Interested in this unique seafaring life? Read on to discover what you should know before joining the Deck Department of the merchant marine.

Overview of the Deck Department in Merchant Navy


As part of the deck department, you’ll be in charge of all operations taking place on the ship’s deck and bridge. This includes critical tasks like navigating the vessel, handling cargo, maintaining the ship’s hull and deck equipment, and operating lifeboats and other emergency gear.

Daily Activities

A typical day may involve standing watch on the bridge, inspecting the deck and superstructure, operating deck machinery like winches and cranes, checking lifeboats and firefighting equipment, assisting with mooring and anchoring operations, and ensuring that deck supplies like ropes, paints, and tools are properly stored. Periodically, you’ll also participate in safety drills and exercises to ensure the crew is prepared in the event of an emergency.

Advancement Opportunities

With experience, you can advance from positions like Ordinary Seaman to Bosun, the head of the deck crew. From there, career paths include Chief Mate, responsible for the ship’s deck operations, and ultimately Captain, who oversees the entire vessel and crew. Many deck officers also pursue additional certifications and licensing to open up more career opportunities.

Why Choose the Deck Department?

If you like working outdoors, don’t mind physical labor, and want a job with lots of responsibility, the deck department could be a great choice. You’ll get to travel the world, earn a competitive salary, and be part of a tight-knit team operating a massive ship. The work is demanding, but for the right person, the rewards of a career at sea can be well worth it.

Key Roles and Responsibilities in the Deck Department

Deck Officers

As an officer in the Deck Department, you’ll be in charge of important operations and personnel. The Chief Officer oversees all deck activities and crew, while the Second Officer is responsible for life-saving equipment and cargo operations. The Third Officer maintains the ship’s charts and documents. These roles require extensive training and certification.

Able Seafarers and Ordinary Seafarers

These sailors perform essential deck duties like mooring, anchoring, and cargo handling. They operate deck equipment like winches, cranes and lifeboats. They also carry out routine maintenance like chipping, painting, and cleaning. Ordinary Seafarers assist the Able Seafarers and aspire to become certified in their roles.

Additional Crew

The Boatswain supervises deck crew and ensures operations run smoothly. The Carpenter performs woodwork repairs and maintenance. The Ordinary Seafarer (General Purpose) assists where needed with basic tasks. The Deck Cadet, a trainee role to become a Deck Officer, learns through mentoring and on-the-job training.

With a mix of officers, rated seafarers and supporting crew, the Deck Department works as a team to keep the vessel shipshape, handle cargo, and ensure safe navigation. The roles offer opportunities for an exciting career path at sea with increasing responsibility. If you enjoy hands-on work, love ships and the sea, and have a sense of adventure, the Deck Department could be for you!

Eligibility and Requirements to Join the Deck Department

To join the Deck Department in the merchant navy, you’ll need to meet certain qualifications.

The most important requirement is that you must be at least 18 years of age. You’ll also typically need at least a high school education, though some companies may prefer candidates with additional maritime or naval training.

Physical Requirements

Given the physical nature of the work, deckhands must be in good health and physical condition. You should have vision correctable to at least 20/40 in each eye, and have reasonable hearing and blood pressure. Back, leg, and arm strength are also important for tasks like mooring lines, operating deck machinery, and stowing cargo.

Licenses and Certification

While not always required to get started, certain licenses and certifications can help you advance in your career as a deckhand. Earning your Able Seafarer Deck certification demonstrates your competence in areas like mooring and cargo operations. More advanced roles like Bosun or Chief Mate require additional licenses to show your experience and leadership abilities.

To join the ranks of the Deck Department, the most important qualities are a willingness to learn, the physical ability to perform demanding tasks at sea, and a team-oriented spirit to work with your shipmates. If you have a passion for travel and adventure, enjoy hands-on work, and don’t mind long stretches away from home, a career as a merchant mariner could be very rewarding. The call of the open ocean is waiting—are you ready to answer?

So there you have it – the key things you should know about the Deck Department if you’re considering a career in the merchant navy.

From learning the ropes (literally) of seamanship, to getting your sea legs maintaining the ship’s exterior, it’s a role where no two days are the same. Just be sure you come prepared for hard work, have a good head for heights, and don’t mind getting your hands dirty. But if you’re up for adventure on the high seas and want to be part of a tight-knit team, it could be the perfect fit.

With opportunities to advance and skills that last a lifetime, the Deck Department offers an exciting way to see the world and build a solid career. So if you’ve got that call of the ocean, why not set your sights on the merchant navy and see where the voyage takes you?

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