Modern Apprenticeship: Deck Rating


NAFC Course Code: N97

Hjaltland, Northlink Ferries

Hjaltland, Northlink Ferries



This apprenticeship is aimed at persons wishing to work at sea on merchant ships as a Deck Rating. Deck Ratings carry out a range of important tasks on ships including maintenance and repair, operating equipment, cargo handling, mooring, safety, security and firefighting duties, assisting with navigation, and acting as lookout or helmsman.

It will normally take about 24 months to complete this apprenticeship, including both time working at sea and periods of study at NAFC.

On successful completion of the programme you will receive a Maritime Skills Alliance Modern Apprenticeship in Maritime Occupations: Deck Rating at SCQF Level 5, an SQA Award in Maritime Studies: Deck Rating and an SQA Certificate in Maritime Studies: Able Seafarer (Deck), both at Level 2 (equivalent to a National 5), a Watch Rating Certificate, an Able Seafarer Certificate, and additional short course certificates.

(SCQF = Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)


Entry Requirements

Candidates must:

  • be at least 16 years old.
  • be employed in an appropriate position by a shipping company, and have the support of their employer.
  • be capable of completing the short courses required as part of the programme.
  • pass a Maritime & Coastguard Agency medical examination (ENG1) which includes standards for physical fitness and eyesight.
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To complete this programme you will have to complete a number of training units and short courses at the NAFC Marine Centre, and demonstrate your ability to complete a range of tasks while working at sea on a ship by completing a Training Record Book.


  • Maritime Employment, Environmental and Health and Safety Practice
  • Basic Navigational Watchkeeping
  • Vessel Ropework, Anchoring and Mooring Activities
  • Assisting with Securing a Vessel for Passage & Securing a Vessel for Passage
  • Maritime Sector Overview
  • Vessel Construction and Stability

Short Courses

  • Personal Survival Techniques
  • Fire Prevention and Fire-Fighting
  • Elementary First Aid
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities
  • Security Awareness
  • Entry into Enclosed Spaces
  • Efficient Deck Hand
  • Proficiency In Survival Craft & Rescue Boats


The programme normally requires about 24 months to complete and will require at least 14 months working at sea to gain necessary experience and sea time, as well as periods of study at the NAFC Marine Centre.

During your time at sea you will have to maintain a Training Record Book which will provide evidence of your experience and that you have demonstrated that you can carry out a variety of tasks.

Assessment will be by a combination of formal written and practical exams, assessment of your performance on board ship, and your Training Record Book.



Please contact the NAFC Marine Centre to enquire about course dates.



Fees are normally covered by Skills Development Scotland.


Booking / Queries

To book a course please download an application form, or contact NAFC.

If you have any questions or need any more information please contact NAFC.