Deck Hand (Ordinary Seaman)

OFO No: 


What is a Deck Hand (Ordinary Seaman)? 

An Ordinary Seaman is usually training to become an Able Seaman. An Ordinary Seaman does not have to ‘stand watch’.  

They generally assist will all aspects of the ship’s maintenance and cleaning while getting trained on-the-job. 

What does a Deck Hand (Ordinary Seaman) do?

  • assist in keeping deck equipment in good working order
  • assist with keeping deck tidy and clean
  • watch and learn from able seamen
  • assist with general maintenance (clean, wash, sand & paint, oil etc)
  • assist with packing cargo and goods

Are you . . . ?

  • passionate about working at sea?
  • a team player?
  • reliable?
  • responsible?
  • willing to learn?
  • safety conscious?
  • mechanically minded?

How do I become a Deck Hand (Ordinary Seaman)? 

TETA suggests the following: 

Certificate of Competence: Ordinary Seaman (SAMSA)

In order to qualify with a certificate of competence (ordinary seaman) you will be required to 6 months approved sea service on ships of 100GRT on unlimited voyages or near costal voyages. You will need to complete onboard training and have been issued with a provisional certificate of qualification as an Ordinary Seaman by the Master of the ship.

Please note that:

  • Qualification along this route serves as one of the alternative pathway to obtaining higher qualification (e.g. to an able seaman or deck officer)
  • Qualification requirements for deckhands are different in the fishing industry



For approved training programmes


  • Preference will be given to those with Grade 12 with Maths & Science
  • Good physical condition.
  • No colour blindness. (You will have to get a Vision Certificate for the SA Maritime Safety Atuhority SAMSA)
  • Be able to swim.


  • TETA


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Plumber or Air Cargo Agent

Is becoming a Deck Hand (Ordinary Seaman) right career choice for me?

See below for more info.


Maths Required Qualification Required Science Required