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Former superyacht deckhand, Alex Boulton, aged 27, from Shrewsbury, gained his Officer of the Watch Unlimited qualification after studying at Warsash with the help from the Nautilus Slater Fund.
Alex completed his studies in July 2016 and was praised for his ‘tremendous efforts’ for completing the course with four distinctions and one merit, and was presented with the John William Slater Award for outstanding achievement in Officer of the Watch (OOW) Unlimited studies 2016.
How do you feel on winning The John William Slater Award?I am really chuffed and surprised to be singled out for outstanding achievement. It was a fantastic course at Warsash and the support I received from the Slater Fund, Marine Society and tutors was incredible. It really gave me the impetus to apply myself and work hard to achieve the results I got.
What was your biggest achievement while studying for the OOW Unlimited qualification at Warsash?Passing the SQA exams first time was a huge relief and it also gave me my biggest sense of achievement. The exams are notoriously difficult, and it was my first taste of nautical exams because I got a job as a deckhand on superyachts and progressed from there. Then when I passed my MCA orals exams – I was over the moon!
What advice can you give to other superyacht crew who might be considering studying for this qualification?If you have achieved enough sea service and you are considering obtaining an Officer of Watch Unlimited certificate, then I really recommend you seriously consider applying. It takes some planning, and a lot of dedication and commitment, but holding an unlimited certificate has opened many doors for me. It expands your career pathway and enables you to take your pick of positions on offer.
How much funding where you awarded and what was the application process?Once I sought advice from Warsash, and was sent the link to the application form to the Marine Society website, it took four weeks from getting all the paperwork completed and sent in, to be told the great news that I had been awarded £17,500 from the Slater Fund to go towards my course fees and living expenses whilst studying at Warsash for 27 weeks.
What are your future plans?I qualified from Warsash in July 2016 and in September I took up the position as second officer on board the 107-metre motor vessel Ulysses. This is a great job and my future plans are to work towards my chief mate certificate and then ultimately at some stage Master Mariner.
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