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Officer of the Watch (Yachts) - General Ship Knowledge

About this course

Our yacht deck courses have achieved the highest pass rates in the industry for the last six years - 85% overall.

This MCA accredited yacht deck module is a classroom based course designed to provide practical understanding and knowledge to enhance the safe day-to-day operation and good management of a large yacht. The course provides an introduction to ship construction, stability, meteorology and seamanship, watch keeping, preparation for sea and maintenance.

Candidates are expected to hold at least an RYA/IYT Yachtmaster Offshore certificate of competency and the corresponding shorebased certificate, plus STCW basic safety training.

Course content

Ship Construction

  • Ship construction technology
  • Longitudinal, transverst and local stresses due to static and dynamic loading
  • Methods of yacht construction
  • Plans normally carried on board
  • The cause and prevention of corrosion
  • The functions of classification societies
  • Load lines, reserve buoyancy and methods of damage control
  • Bilge pumping systems


  • Basic principles of hydrostatics and related items
  • Initial stability


  • Global wind distribution
  • The causes of local winds
  • The effects of water vapour in the atmosphere
  • The practical use and care of common meteorological instruments
  • Frontal depressions
  • The sources of weather information available to ships


  • The responsibilities of the officer of the watch in relation to boarding a yacht
  • The precautions to be taken in preparing a vessel for sea
  • The Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers (CoSWP)

Useful tips and tricks

  1. Read though the exam syllabus. It can be found here.
  2. Your pass certificate is valid for three years.
  3. You do not need a Notice of Eligibility (NoE) to attend this course. However you will need an NoE for your MCA oral exam. The application form can be found here. Allow at least six weeks (currently even more) for the NoE to be processed by the MCA.
  4. You do not need ECDIS for your yacht OOW. If you haven't done the ECDIS course your CoC will have a negative endorsement (‘From the 1 January 2017 this certificate is not valid for service on ships fitted with ECDIS’).
  5. Do the ‘proper’ PSCRB course instead of ‘Advanced Sea Survival for Yachtsmen’. The latter has not got an STCW Code which has the following implications: Not all flag states recognise the Advanced Sea Survival, meaning you might have to do the PSCRB later anyway. Your certificate will have a negative endorsement (‘not to be used on vessels with davit-launched life rafts’). There is also no updating course available for the Advanced Sea Survival.
  6. Pre-study makes the difference. That’s why we send you the course notes as soon as you book.
  7. Be familiar with the career progression requirements. A simple progression chart can be found here.
  8. Did you know that you may be eligible to do the OOW Unlimited? More information can be found here.
  9. Our first-time pass rate is unsurpassed in the industry.
  10. More FAQs can be found here.

Course delivery location

This course is delivered from Solent University's main East Park Terrace campus in Southampton city centre. Please refer to your joining instructions for information of where to report to when you arrive. 

Southampton city centre map

Getting to Solent University

How to book

Please contact the admissions team if you require more information about this course:

Telephone: +44 (0)23 8201 5004 

Normal office hours are (UK time):
Monday - Thursday: 08.30 - 17.00
Friday 08.30 - 16.30

Online bookings will be confirmed with joining information within one working day of the booking being made. Confirmation of payment should be received in the normal way.

Please ensure you follow the booking process and do not enter payment details more than once, unless you are booking more than one course. If you experience any issues, please email

Your joining instructions will tell you which campus your training will take place at - please read carefully and take note.

Related courses

Candidates booking this course usually also book the following: OOW (Yachts) Navigation and Radar.

You might also want to consider: EDHPSCRBHELM(O)GMDSS GOC, ECDIS.

Course availability and booking

Date Places Fee Book
Monday 28 October 2019 Yes £1095 Book
Monday 13 January 2020 Yes £1095 Book
Monday 2 March 2020 Yes £1095 Book
Monday 20 April 2020 Yes £1095 Book
Monday 18 May 2020 Yes £1095 Book

Course information

Next available date

Monday 28 October 2019


5 Days






Written 2.5 hour examination. Pass Mark is 60%.

Teaching methods

Classroom based, guided study.