Chief Mate/Master

What is a Chief Mate/Master?

The Master/Chief Mate is the head of the deck department. The Master/Chief Mate is responsible to the captain for the safety and security of the ship.

What does a Chief Mate/Master do?

  • co-ordinating schedules with other departments
  • planning work schedules for the different crew members
  • maintaining quality control
  • handling conflict resolution
  • compiling supply, overtime, and cost control records, etc
  • maintaining the crew’s welfare (safety rules are adhered to)
  • training crew in safety, fire-fighting, search and rescue
  • reporting to the captain

Are you … ?

  • passionate about working at sea?
  • organised?
  • good at planning?
  • a problem solver?
  • good at keeping records?
  • good at managing crew?

How do I become a Chief Mate/Master?

School requirements:
Grade 12 or equivalent with Mathematics and Science – 60%+ pass
Grade 10 or equivalent with Mathematics and Science – 60%+ pass rate
Those with Grade 12 certificate but without maths and science can do a 6-month bridging course at any institution offering Maritime Studies.

This is the list you have to complete to become a Master/Chief Mate:

  • Complete an S1 and S2 certificate in Maritime Studies or Mechanical Engineering at either Durban University of Technology (DUT) or Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
  • Complete 12 months on board ship for in-service-training
  • Qualify as an Engineering Officer by passing the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) appropriate oral exam
  • Complete a National Diploma in Maritime Studies through DUT or CPUT
  • Complete another 12 months on board ship for in-service-training
  • Qualify as a 2nd Engineering Officer or Chief Navigational Officer by passing the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) appropriate oral exam
  • Complete a Higher Diploma in Maritime Studies through DUT or CPUT
  • Complete another 12 months on board ship for in-service-training
  • Qualify as a Master/Chief Mate by passing the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) appropriate oral exam

Is becoming a Chief Mate or Master the right career choice for me?

See below for more info.


In Demand Maths Required Qualification Required