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The key roles

Navigation (deck) officer

Navigation officers maintain watches on the bridge at sea and about the ship in port. They are responsible for passage planning, the safe navigation of the ship, cargo loading and discharge, ship stability, communications, and the maintenance of the hull and deck equipment. 

The ship’s captain, or master, is in overall command with ultimate responsibility for the safety of the crew, ship, cargo and environment.  Only navigation officers can be promoted to the rank of Master.

Find out more about being a navigation officer.

Marine engineer officer

Marine engineer officers are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the ship’s main propulsion machinery and auxiliary plant. The Chief Engineer is in charge of the department and is responsible to the ship’s Master for its efficient operation.  

Find out more about being a marine engineer officer.

Marine electro-technical officer (METO)

These specialist officers work within the engineering department where they take particular responsibility for the maintenance of on board control engineering and electronic systems including propulsion control, radio communications and electronic navigation aids.  

Find out more about being a marine electro-technical officer.

What makes a successful ship’s officer?

A successful ship's officer requires particular personal qualities in order to handle the demands of the profession. The ability to manage spending time away from home and to be tolerant whilst living in close quarters with other crew members is essential. A ship’s officer will demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Decisiveness
  • Self-reliance
  • Calm under pressure
  • Self-discipline
  • Show initiative
  • Good team member
  • Adept and versatile
  • Effective communication skills

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