About the Cadet Programme

The Merchant Navy Officer Cadet Programme is a three-year programme that trains deck (navigation) and engineer officers for the merchant navy.

As a cadet you will be employed by a shipping company which will pay you a training allowance (and pay all your fees and expenses) throughout your training. You will learn through periods of study at NAFC alternating with periods spent working at sea as a trainee onboard ships (see below).

When you finish the cadet programme you will be qualified to work as a junior deck or engineer officer on ships anywhere in the world, or will be able to progress to further study.

Phases

The cadet training programme is divided into five blocks or phases, three of which are spent at studying at NAFC and two working on ships at sea:

Deck Officer Cadets

  • Phase 1 (NAFC): 21 weeks
  • Phase 2 (Sea): 31 - 40 weeks*
  • Phase 3 (NAFC): 29 weeks
  • Phase 4 (Sea): 54 weeks*
  • Phase 5 (NAFC): 15 weeks

* Sea phases include time spent at sea on ships and periods of leave between voyages. You will spend about 18 months at sea in total during your deck officer cadetship.

Engineer Officer Cadets

  • Phase 1 (NAFC): 29 weeks
  • Phase 2 (Sea): 23 weeks*
  • Phase 3 (NAFC): 42 weeks
  • Phase 4 (Sea): 41 weeks*
  • Phase 5 (NAFC): 14 weeks

* Sea phases include time spent at sea on ships and periods of leave between voyages. You will spend about 9 months at sea in total during your engineer officer cadetship.

Course Content

The programme covers a wide range of subjects relevant to the duties of ships' officers, including:

Deck Officer Cadets

  • Safety, sea survival, first aid & fire fighting
  • Seamanship and seafarer skills
  • Chartwork
  • Navigational mathematics
  • Meteorology
  • Bridge watchkeeping
  • Marine cargo operations
  • Ship stability
  • Naval achitecture
  • Celestical navigation
  • Radio operation
  • Navigation equipment operation

Engineer Officer Cadets

  • Safety, sea survival, first aid & fire fighting
  • Mathematics
  • Naval architecture, ship construction & stability
  • Statics & strength of materials
  • Dynamics & thermodynamics
  • Marine heat engines
  • Propulsion systems
  • Auxiliary systems
  • Electric motors, generators and electrical systems
  • Control systems
  • Workshop skills

Assessments and Exams

Individual subjects are assessed throughout the programme in a variety of different ways, including exams and course work. Progress through the programme depends on these assessments being successfully completed.

You will also be required to maintain and complete a Training Record Book which documents the practical training that you undertake while working at sea.

Finally, to obtain Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency you will have to successfully complete an examination conducted by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) (oral for Deck Officers, oral and written for Engineer Officers).